Out and about with the camera bag at Pikelow
My Wildlife Photographic Equipment
It's never easy deciding which is the best lens for wildlife photography. The equipment I use for macro-photography is covered on my Macro Photography pages. However it's my larger (and heavier) lenses that are used for the bird and larger mammal photography. I mainly use Canon 5D MkIV Bodies with battery grips, and occasionally put one of the back up 7D bodies into service. My "go to" lenses is the Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, altough if I'm not walking to far I use the Canon 600mm f/4; both lenses are occasionally supplemented with the Canon 1.4x convertor. If the subject is close enough, or I want to capture something of the habitat I use either the Canon 100-400mm f/5.6 - 6.3, Canon 200mm f/2.8 or a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8.
Supporting the camera and lens is just as important as the camera and lens themselves. My go to tripod for wildlife photography is the Manfrotto Carbon Fibre 055 with a Kenro Carbon Fibre Gimbal head. This combination allows me to use the camera at eye-height without extending the centre column, so providing greater stability. If necessary I can spread the legs on the tripod for low level shots. The Kenro Gimbal head allows for rapid and smooth panning and tilting for following birds in motion. In hides where-ever possible I mount the Gimbal head on a metal plate, which is then placed on the hide shelf. If this isn't possible then out comes one of the bean bags.
I travel throughout the UK and overseas on a regular basis, sometimes photographing wildlife is the main aim of the trip, other times (only rarely) it play second place. My Blog gives some insights into my travels, but most weekends finds me at Pikelow Farm in Cheshire where I have access to eight permanent hides and several portable hides. This has allowed me to get numerous shots of many species of birds we are all familiar with, but away from feeders.
The reflection pools at Pikelow, situated in front of the two hides that are available year round, offer great opportunities to photograph birds drinking.
More than Birds
Pikelow has more to offer than just birds. The wildlflower planted areas and pools are good for invertebrates. Small mammals are frequently encountered and small mammal trapping is undertaken in autumn and spring; photo-opportunities can be maximised by use of the indoor studio. Both brown hare and rabbit can be photographed on the site. Invertebrate and small mammal photography are available by request - contact me for details.