Wheat Fields and Sunsets and Why I love IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation)

I’ve been enjoying the balmy summer evenings of late and whenever possible I try to get out for a stroll in the warm setting sun. It’s probably my favourite part of the day and there’s something calming about watching the world around you slowly winding down for the night as the light gradually fades.

On this occasion, I took a walk through Berkswell, Warwickshire (the small picturesque village perhaps best known for its church - St John Baptist Anglican - parts of it dating back as far as 1150 AD) and it’s wheat fields.

As on most occasions when I’m having a walk, I had a camera with me, and I was lucky to be rewarded with a beautiful sunset. I love these big impressive trees and think they make for great subjects against the colourful sky.

Now, camera nerds are a funny bunch… I’ve noticed a lot of debate around the merits of IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation), with some people saying it’s a pointless gimmick and a waste of time, only serving to compromise image quality and add extra size and weight to your equipment. “Why bother? I have a tripod!” they smugly exclaim. These people, clearly have no imagination, foresight or lateral thinking, because there are plenty of scenarios where IBIS is massively useful to have.

Take these shots below, for instance. At least two of them are shot handheld at 1/50 of a second. Whilst not a really slow shutter speed to be shooting handheld, certainly one you’d want to be holding your breath for, ensuring good technique and keeping as still as possible. With IBIS enabled, I feel confident that I won’t see any camera shake at this shutter speed, and so I feel comfortable to click away without a tripod. No lugging one out, adding extra weight to my bag, no setting up, adjusting the height and angle and composition. Just quick and easy handheld shooting with no restrictions.

If that’s not a reason to have IBIS as standard, I don’t know what is.

All photos of Berkswell were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF16 - 55mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.

Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.

Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!

Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

Oat Fields and Storm Clouds

The weather in the UK, as everyone here will know, has been a little bit erratic of late… One minute we’re experiencing record breaking temperatures, the next we’re enduring months worth of rainfall in a couple of hours.

Personally, I love it. I think the extreme weather keeps things interesting (although I am lucky not to live within a flood plane). Much like when snow hits the country, the extreme heat forces you to slow down and abandon your usual routines. This can either prove stressful and frustrating, or, if you’re prepared to embrace it, it can be strangely liberating!

Lately, in an attempt to embrace the stormy conditions, I’ve been desperately hoping for thunder and lighting. I have a couple of locations planned out where I really would love to capture some extreme weather on camera. Sadly, the lightning seems to be hitting everywhere but near me. I’m still hopeful though…

In the meantime, last weekend I ended up in an oat field near Kenilworth after taking a chance on a footpath I’ve driven past multiple times but never explored before. The sky was looking incredibly moody, threatening some of those vast showers I mentioned earlier. I exaggerated the stormy effect with a Lee Circular Polariser and 0.9 ND Filter to save the highlights in the clouds, and I’ve made a black and white conversion to my own tastes in Capture One.

All storm cloud photos were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF16 - 55mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.

Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.

Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!

Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

The Benefits of Working From Home: Part II

In what might become a regular feature of this blog (- returning readers may recall the very first post advocating the unexpected quirks of working from home), I've continued to have fun watching the wildlife out of the little window to my left as I perform my photography post-processing duties.

It's been fascinating watching the blue tits using the feeder and rearing their young. Over the weeks across spring and summer I've seen the offspring going from being fairly dependent on their parents,  all fluffy and uncoordinated, being brought and fed the seed, to developing a full plumage, mastering the art of flight and learning how to pick, sort and break into the seed for themselves.

I’ve also witnessed a fairly lucky slug managing to avoid becoming the lunch of an oblivious blue tit. I can confirm they did drop down safely to the ground without being eaten, shortly after the final photo in that sequence.

All garden bird photos were taken on the Fuji X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF50 - 140mm f/2.8 Lens, processed from RAW with Capture One.

Please visit the rest of my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK and visit my Print Gallery to buy high quality prints of my UK landscapes.

Also, if you are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer in Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the Midlands or Beyond, please say hi!

Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link and following me on social media.

Horse Photography in Warwickshire

This week, I have been mostly taking photos of horses…

Horses make pretty great subjects, especially when the sun is low in the sky and the last light of the day creates a nice shimmery glow around them.

I encountered these particular beasts in a field in Warwickshire that they were sharing rather harmoniously with some sheep. They seemed pretty content, being largely left to their own devices, exhibiting a lot of the natural behaviours you’d probably expect to see from a wild band of horses - drinking from a large area of pooled rain water, moving as a herd from one area to the next and following the vocal instructions and body language of the dominant male.

I really love taking my time to just observe when taking photos of wildlife. The longer you stay and the more patient and calm you are, the more natural your animal subjects end up behaving. This in turn tends to present the best photographic opportunities.

Please visit other pages on my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK. If you have a horse or any other pets that you’d like some beautiful photos of, please contact me for a quote.

To buy fine art photography of my UK landscapes visit my Print Gallery.

Also, if you are from Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire or the West Midlands and are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer, please say hi!

Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link.

Birding With the Fuji X-H1

Recently I took one of my Fuji cameras (the X-H1 along with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 and 1.4 x tele-converter) out for a spot of birding at my local(ish) RSPB nature reserve, Middleton Lakes. Now, I’m definitely not a seasoned bird watcher, but I do have fond memories from my childhood of visiting Leighton Moss up in Silverdale, Lancashire whilst staying with my grandparents who lived in the area. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler without googling it (- in fact I had to use Google to even find the names of some birds that I couldn’t tell you the difference between…), but I still really enjoy seeing birds doing their thing in their natural environment.

I was lucky enough to encounter two really friendly feathered friends during my trip. The first was a male pheasant, all too happy to undergo a portrait session on a fallen tree. There were definitely a few ‘Zoolander’ style looks to camera. Viewing the resultant photos on my computer, I was really amazed by how rich the pheasant’s colours were, particularly that deep red around the eyes - beautiful.

Later on during my walk I found a curious little Great Tit that did some human watching from his position up in the tree above me.

Tom Cruise Squirrel

If anyone at RSPB Middleton Lakes in Tamworth is wondering why the bird feeder above the duck pond is on the floor today, well, it's because of this guy...

British Bluebells and a Rare British White Bluebell?...

Earlier this week I continued to enjoy the bright spring sunshine by heading to my local woods. I knew the bluebells were out in full effect, having first come across them last year and taking some really nice images then - see my photo gallery for much more landscape and nature photography from the UK.

They manage to make an already beautiful woodlands even more spectacular, to me, almost like something out of a fairy tale, carpeting the grassy floor with so much more colour and variety.

Towards the end of the walk I came across more sheep and lambs in a field next to the woods. I didn't have my long lens with me on this occasion, but I love the character of the old trees in the foreground alongside the intense colour of the bluebells, with the lambs highlighted by the setting sun in the background.

On my way back home as the light was fading fast, I noticed something unusual out of the corner of my eye - a single patch of white bluebells! I'm no horticulturist, but after a bit of googling, I'm fairly certain they're the rare White British Bluebell (as opposed to the more common Spanish variety). In fact, a further google reveals they're as rare as "one in every ten thousand bulbs", so I feel pretty privileged to have spotted some.

If anyone reading this happens to be a bit more savvy with flower species, I'd love to hear from you. Are these the rare White British Bluebell as I suspect they are? (- See last image.)

Please visit my website, www.lukebennettphotos.com for much more content, including further landscape and nature photography from the UK.

Also, if you are from Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire or the West Midlands and are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer, please say hi!

Finally, please Help Support This Blog by Buying Photography Equipment on Amazon via this link.

Spring Lamb Photography

Before I get started, I'll just get this out of the way: OH MY GOODNESS, THEY'RE SO CUTE!

Ahem.

Over the Easter weekend we were incredibly fortunate to have good weather across pretty much the whole of the UK, so it was a pleasure to get out for some long walks in the Warwickshire countryside and to take some photos.

Lambing season appears to be in full effect so I knew it was a good opportunity to capture some nice shots. With that in mind I brought my longest lens (214mm in 35mm terms) with 1.4 x tele-converter. For those not up on their focal lengths, this isn't particularly long in the scheme of things, at least not compared to dedicated wildlife lenses.

As such, I knew I'd have to get fairly close to my subjects to get the kind of shots I wanted. Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a Doctor Dolittle type character, at one with the animals, an animal whisperer if you will, but, sheep are cautious at the best of times, even more-so when they have their young, vulnerable offspring with them.

In fact, it was quite interesting to observe the interactions amongst the herd, with the lambs being a lot more curious and bold than the older sheep, sometimes looking like they might approach you to investigate, before the more cautious mother sheep would bleat out a warning call for their lamb to back away.

My approach therefore was really slow and measured. I spent a good amount of time just standing in one place, letting the flock approach me if they wanted, rather than rushing in and scaring them off. I kept my body language non-threatening by keeping my head down, not staring and feigning indifference to their movements. Over the course of the evening, I was able to gradually move closer and closer. I genuinely believe this softly, softly approach allowed the sheep to feel comfortable in my presence and to perceive no threat from me.

It was a real joy to watch the young lambs play in the setting sun, as well as observing their mothers keeping a watchful eye on them at all times, not to mention the vocal communication. Towards the end of my walk I came across a group of lambs all from different families playing together. They seemed fascinated with a particular dip in the ground and so formed all of their games around this hole, jumping in and out of it, chasing each other round it and generally just having a brilliant time!


Please visit my website, lukebennettphotos.com for more content including landscape and nature photography from the UK.

Also, if you are from Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire or the West Midlands and are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer, please say hi!

The Benefits of Working From Home

"Get a bird feeder!" - The advice I remember reading years ago from someone who frequently worked from home. Below, the view from my living room window earlier this week as I tinkered with some photos. Perhaps not exactly the wildlife I'd expected to see, but very welcome nonetheless!

In fact, I had to applaud the little fella's ingenuity, plotting a path up along the shrubbery to the right of the feeder and presumably taking a Lara Croft style leap across to the tasty treasure.

It's nice to know that in spite of living in a place without a proper garden there's still a good amount of nature coming and going right in front of me - the usual small birds that use the feeder, my new mouse friend, a family of crows and magpies making nests in the communal parking and a pair of pet cats who routinely meet for a fight outside my window at 3 o'clock in the morning, complete with those chilling screams, howls and hisses that only felines can do so well (disturbingly).

For more photographs of wildlife and nature in the UK, be sure to visit my photo gallery! Seamless.
And for more details of my wedding and events photography services, covering Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and beyond, be sure to visit my wedding photography gallery.

The lesser spotted Brown Tit

The lesser spotted Brown Tit

Something New...

Hello and welcome to the first post on the new blog for my new site, Luke Bennett Photography.

I'm delighted to announce that my old website is gone and this new, sleek, clean and fresh looking website has taken its place, albeit with a new address. I'm really pleased with it and I hope everyone visiting will enjoy it too.

This new site showcases my wedding and events photography services where I provide beautiful, candid, colourful wedding photography in the photojournalist style.

As well as updating this website with ongoing content, I plan on maintaining an active presence here in the blogging world too, with regular updates on what I'm doing, where I'm doing it and how I'm doing it, and of course lots of my photography - professional and personal. All the staples of any good photo blog.

So please, visit my Wedding Photography Gallery to see plenty of photographic content.

If you're interested in booking me as your wedding or events photographer, I'm based in Solihull and cover all of the surrounding areas - Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and beyond. I'll be very happy to hear from you and talk to you about your wedding!

Please don't forget to follow me on social media, too, at all of the usual places! -

Instagram: @luke_bennett_photos
Twitter: @LBennettPhotos
Blogger: lukebennettphotos.blogspot.com

Spontaneous portrait in natural light, minutes before the ceremony

Spontaneous portrait in natural light, minutes before the ceremony