From the forest

Over the past few days I’ve been going up to the forest near my house for hours, in part to clear my head, and also because of the 365 Challenge – I have to be in good places to really get good shots. Today was no exception, only with extra opportunity for success. I found, under logs near streams in the forest, Fire salamanders, Salamandra salamandra. These critters are so cool. Great for shooting opportunitites.

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) portrait on moss 1

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/100s f/8

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) portrait on moss 2

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/125s f/8

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) portrait on moss 3

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/1000s f/3.5

When you first pull these guys out from under their logs, they are slow and sluggish. But as they heat up in the sun, they get faster and faster, and shooting becomes increasingly difficult. But the shots just keep coming. I love photographing these salamanders! They are so full of character.

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) portrait on moss 4

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/100s f/11

The ability to shoot at 1/100s at f/11 is testimony to just how much light I had to work with. I need to learn to use some diffusers though i think. Give the shots a bit more softness.

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) portrait in hand 1

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/800s f/3.5

Here the salamander is being held in a gloved hand because of the poisonous secretions that cover its body, and my previous experience with otheorest poisonous amphibians.
Now of course the forest is riddled with mouse holes, but never before had I realised just how many rodents there are living in the forest. They are literally everywhere. All it takes is a bit of patience to get the shot. Oh and proximity. It can be very difficult to get close enough to get the shot with a 300mm lens. Next time I’ll use the teleconverter!

Forest dwelling mouse 1

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/20s f/8

Forest dwelling mouse 2

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/160s f/2.8

Forest dwelling mouse 3

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/60s f/2.8

Forest dwelling mouse 4

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/60s f/2.8

Forest dwelling mouse 5

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/20s f/8

Forest dwelling mouse 6

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/40s f/2.8

Forest dwelling mouse 7

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/40s f2.8

Forest dwelling mouse 8

D300 + 105mm VR @ 1/40s f/3

And I will leave you with a slightly edited (shot through bushes so it was washed out) shot of a bird I don’t think I have ever seen before, the Coal tit, Parus ater, drinking from a spring in the middle of the forest.

Coal tit (Parus ater) drinks from forest spring

D300 + 300mm VR @ 1/320s f/2.8

More to come, though I return to Edinburgh on Saturday! Then you can expect more heron shots I suppose. Also, more from the 365 project on flickr, though I am still working on the pano from day 3!

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