Lust for a long lens

I’ve long lusted after a long lens. One of those ones that give beautiful bird photos.

I have finally bitten the bullet and invested of a 75 -300 telephoto lens.

I have to admit as I’m a piecemeal adventurer I’m also a piecemeal photographer and I’m going out on a limb here to share some of my initial photographs with my new lens

Most are really sharp some not as sharp as I would like. It’s certainly different shooting hand held with such a long lens.

In doing my research I learned a new word- Bokeh. This is the blurred background that a long lens gives. I think the next two images give a good example.

The flying tern and resting cormorants are sharp against blurred background.

While my blog has plenty of photographs, I call my style ‘words and pictures’ where I try, using these mediums, to give a sense of what I’m seeing and feeling in the places I visit.

I use Olympus (now OM) cameras and lenses. I found this blog very helpful in choosing and using my new lens; https://robinwong.blogspot.com/2015/07/a-day-at-frasers-hill-with-mzuiko-75.html?m=1

So friends and followers I look forward to adding some long lens elements to my next adventure blogs.

Addendum

It is still cold and blustery in Melbourne for Spring. So took another walk at the Newport Lakes Urban Forest.

It’s wonderful to have this forest and its birdlife so close to the centre of a big city.

The signs of Spring are around.

The Noon Flowers are in full bloom at the salt Marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

Also the water birds are returning to the mangroves and mudflats to feed and breed. The wet conditions in inland Australia may mean that some birds may not come to the coast but stay in the inland wetland. But it was great to see some arrivals like;

Spoonbills;

Egrets;

White faced herons;

And the old friend that rarely leave, the Australian Pelican. This one was catching a fish. Hunting, priming, then strike. Two attempts for two fish.

There are also beautiful views in and from the reserve.

Another sign of spring is finally here was the nice turn up of Guzzis at the monthly coffee catchup on Saturday.

A collection of bikes at the coffee kiosk in Lygon Street an Italian Hub in Melbourne

While it’s still a battle for Spring to kick winter out the door, it will prevail. Such is the cycle of the seasons. Meanwhile way up north in Queensland. Julia Creek has experienced its hottest ever October day- 43.9c.

When travelling in Europe people ask me – What is the weather like in Australia? I answer – It depends where and when. The above is a good example of why!

A sojourn in South East England

The shingle and high tides are the perfect conditions for having a careening based shipyard at the old fishing port at Hastings.

Trawlers sit on the shingle while their catch is sold in the huts on the foreshore.

The fishing port and old town sit under high cliffs where a funicular to the top of the cliffs gives a great view.

And the old town has the buildings that are so out of square that I wonder how they have stood for a week yet they have for centuries.

Old out of square Tudor style building are part the village of Rye. Especially, the beautiful Mermaid Street.

And around Church Hill where some of the oldest buildings in the village are found.

Once the sea lapped at the edge of the town of Rye but that was many many centuries ago. The beach is now a couple of miles down the Rother River with marshland in between.

From the mouth of the Rother the shingle beach curves gently for just over 10 miles to the the cliff at Fairlight.

The tide of 4 metres means an ever changing view along the beach. It also means ever changing water conditions.

My favourite little beach is at Pett Level especially at high tide where the drop away from the high tide line is steep. This means on a hot day a couple of steps off the shingle and you can plunge into the cool Atlantic waters in the English Chanel.

Fishing is part of the culture of the South East be it the small fishing boats on the shingle at Pett Level

Or the commercial boats like at Hastings and at Rye.

And bounty from the sea such as a pan of plump fresh scallops.

Upstream of Rye, the Rother River winds its way through the country side.

Past little villages like Newenden where the local pub provides a spot for a cool ale or bite to eat.

But, for me, the most special place is the Rye Nature Reserve. With its walks, wildflowers and birdlife. It was my solice when I was locked down in Rye Harbour in April 2020. It is a most beautiful place.

There has recently been a heat wave in the UK and Europe. Rye Harbour was the perfect place to escape the heat and to see the storm to end of the heat wave roll in.

Final days on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco-Volubilis Moulay Bousselham and Asilah

From Fez to the Atlantic Coast one passes Volubilis, the ruins of a Roman city close to Meknes. The site is most recognised for its intact mosaic floors.

Volubilis was basically deserted when Fez became the centre of power in Morocco.

The northern part of Morocco between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is rich fertile farming land.

Moulay Bousselham is a small fishing town on the Atantic coast with a large inland lake which is a major site for endemic and migratory birds.

The ocean here is quite wild and the beach strewn with rubbish so the estuary is the towns main attraction. As well as the fishing boats and market.

And it’s at the fish market that you may find a guide to take you bird watching. Or more accurately he will find you as you stop at the gates of the camping ground that has closed down.

But the Moulay Bousselham estuary is a fantastic site for bird watching and a 3 hour boat tour with Khalil is great. You see;

Greater Flamingos

Spoonbills

Egrets

And an array of gulls, terns, storks, cranes and plovers.

The Atlantic here is wild a steep shore and cross currents from the tidal river making it treacherous.

The estuary provides a safe place to swim after unfortunately picking a path through the litter.

It is such a beautiful beach such a shame the litter is so overwhelming.

Asilah is another beach town a couple of hours north of Moulay Bousselham along the coast. It’s also only a short ride from Tanger and the last night in Morocco was spent there.

The Medina, built within the old Portugese fort is mainly residential with a strong art presence. It was in Spanish control into the 1970s and still retains a strong Spanish influence.

I think I can leave my tales of Morocco here. What an amazing journey saw so much but I feel I missed so much more.

There was Belgian couple at the Hotel in Rissani. They had travelled to Morocco 9 time 7 on a motorbike. Mmm so Im thinking a second trip will not be too indulgent!!!

Goodbye Portugal and Hello Spain

The Atlantic Coast of Portugal can be a bit crowded so a route east of Porto along the Duoro River into the Mountains then north to the spa city of Chaves was the best option

It was a great choice; clear windy roads and wonderful scenery.

It was a short ride to Chaves less than 150km but storms ahead dictated the length of the ride.

And the storm came casting an grey pall over the old centre of Chaves.

While Chaves is a Spa town the waters are used primarily for therapeutic use rather than leisure so lolling in a hot spa wasn’t an option. But drinking warm mineralised spa water straight from the spring was.

Cups are filled straight from the Spring.

The rain cleared over night and it was a clear run over the mountains into Spain

So it was goodbye Portugal

And hello Spain,

Confirmation I was in Spain came at Astorga and its Gaudi designed building.

The route headed around Leon and into the Picos de Europa.

I had travelled to the Picos in 2018 and it was a great opportunity to revisit.

The road to Riano to Potes is just beautiful.

From Potes in the town plaza there is a magnificent view of the central Massif of the Picos de Europa

Just 23km on from Potes is Fuene De in the heart of the Picos and one of the most beautiful camp grounds I have stayed at in all my travels

From Fuente De there is a Cable Car that ascents 753 Metres to a high plateau at about 1600 metres. There are number of walks in the mountains. One is an 11km return walk the ascends 770 metres to a refuge.

It’s a hard walk but the views spectacular.

Being up with the eagles.

Fuente De is a short ride back to the ferry port city of Santander. It was such very different circumstances arriving in Santander than it was in 2020.