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BP's Photographia

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Something a bit different today - while rounding up stuff to sell in a fit of spring cleaning, I unearthed my old, painted models. And having seen them again, I now can't bear to sell them. It also occurred to me that I've never had a camera good enough to make photographing them worthwhile. And so, here are some few that I dare share in public.

These Astartes came from the Dark Vengeance set, released back in 2012, apparently. I usually don't like mono pose models, but I instantly loved these, and they were a joy to paint:


Here's another view of the Serjeant. Deus Imperator I miss the colour Scaly Green. I wish I'd bought four or five pots before it disappeared, they never did make anything quite like it/


The Rhino does have a top crew hatch - after I'd taken the photos I discovered it had stuck to the foam of the storage case. Old 40K nerds might recognise the big tactical livery on the top. As far as I'm aware the studio modes haven't had that in some years.


I'd always loved Dreadnoughts. A Dreadnought was my very first vehicle, back when I was about ten or twelve and the game was in its 3rd edition. I still like brother Ezra, here, though I'm not really happy with some of the detail. I know the name plate is only a few milimetres high, but even so I don't like how wobbly the text looks.


Last one for now is another model from the Dark Vengeance box. Painting him was, at the time, a therapeutic experience, so I'm even more inclined to hang onto him. In hindsight the bone needed a wash to bring out the shadows of the armour.

[/spoiler#
 
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A few of the lesser Astartes from my painted collection today - some which I'm either not especially proud of or haven't photographed particularly well.

I don't know how I feel about Knight-Serjeant Zeriah. Technically he's not quite finished, being in need of blazoning with his banner. On the one hand I am pleased with the aquila on his breastplate, and the waterslide transfers came together really well, fiddly damn things that they are. On the other hand, I wish I hadn't chosen party per pale purple and midnight blue (codeswitching on the blazon there) for his shield. It doesn't look so bad in this light, but usually the purple just looks weird and out of place.


Likewise I wish I could redo Knight-Apothecary Izrah here (The bad focus on the photo's annoying me now). I wish I'd built up more, thinner layers of white - well, grey - to preserve some of the detail and allow for better highlights. Live and learn, I suppose.


This unnamed Knight-Serjeant is one of my favourite models. It's a very simple conversion, effected just by using a sharp knife, essentially. Some proper highlights to the black armour would bring it to life - it's kinda flat at the moment - but it came out ok, all things considered.




And finally, and unnamed Brother-Knight with a jump pack. And yep, I still miss Scaly Green, especially looking at it on the plasma pistol and chainsword housing. I'm particularly pleased with the blue on the pistol's magnetic accelerator - there's no (sigh) lore reason it should glow, but everyone paints it that way anyway.

 
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Back to the nature photography again, and while I've taken a fair few photos since the Summer began, they've been ad hoc and somewhat directionless. But the year waits for no man, so the theme of this post is impossibly cute juvenile birds.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis) always do well, too well, if anything. However they may feel about one another, geese tend to be prepared to defend any and all goslings belonging to the group. These five, looking a bit like they're trying to pose for an album cover, are from a flock hanging around above Top Lock along No.1 canal and the Stourbridge feeder branch:


These next few were part of a brood (or combined broods) of about twelve. I did have some photos of all of them, but I got a bit lazy with the settings and they all ended up noticeably overexposed:


Mallards (Anas platyhrynchos) are harder to capture than I expected. The ducklings tend to weave and change direction apparently at random, sometimes bunching into little squadrons, sometimes haring off by themselves. I suspect this behaviour is deliberate, a result of evolutionary pressure rewarding unpredictability. Getting a good composition of multiple ducklings is still beyond me, but this fellow here seemed especially striking:


These remaining two were a matter of chance. The moorhen chicks (Gallinula chloropus) seemed more curious than anything else, but their mother had other ideas and was chivvying them back into cover. Ironically it was her calls that alerted me to their presence at all.

 
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:love: SO ADORABLE
The cuteness of the second one is particularly overwhelming.
Excellent description of the first one, they really do look like they're being edgy somehow.:LOL:
 
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More ad hoc photography today. I didn't really intend to photography anything - being unusually chilly and blustery, the plan was just to find an assortment of weeds for the tortoise and call it a day. But nature has a way of surprising you when you don't plan to do anything.

I've seen grey wagtails (Motacilla cinerea) on occasion before, usually fleetingly and drawn by their high chi-cheep! call. They're quite paranoid as birds go, and certainly don't like to stay in one place for long. I think this female was nabbing small insects from the surface of the canal. I made an attempt at chasing it with the burst mode. Not being all that familiar with the wagtail's flight it didn't work out terribly well.




I tend to forget that bees tend to forget about humans. It was actually the blue hue of these bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) that attracted me, but then this bee showed up and completely ignored me. Looking through the viewfinder doesn't work - the LCD screen is much better for a quick close-up, and in any case allows for different angles.


Note the dusting of pollen all over the head and forelegs. So far as I can tell - and I may well be completely wrong - this is a common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum), which shares habitat with its cousin B. terrestris.
 
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Two slightly better photos of a grey wagtail, M. cinerea, (Possibly even the same one) here. I've discovered the long grass on the towpath keeps stealing the focus. I think choosing a smaller aperture might help, since the auto mode seems to want to settle on f/4 for this type of shot. All the more reason to keep fiddling with the autofocus. I tried getting it to track a duckling as a test, but it didn't seem to work:



 
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It seems the Odonata have finally started to metamorphose. I don't know whether it's simply early in the year, but the usual damselflies (Coenagrion species) aren't flying at the end of the extension canal. I hope this is the reason - thanks to the damn lockdown the canal is lousy with fisherman, cyclists, and dog walkers. It would be the best place to sit still and photograph the damselflies as they begin to ignore me, but a bunch of fishermen constantly casting lines would ruin all that.

I've done by best in the time I had. This Coenagrion was resting near the terminus of the Stourbridge town branch of the canal. It's not a great photo:


A rather more interesting find was this male beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) by the weir just above Junction Bridge. Note the iridescence, the male's colour shifting from metallic green to blue


Another shot in flight. This was a real pain to get. The bright sun meant it was at least possible to reliably shoot at shutter speeds exceeding 1/2000. Luckily, he was also more preoccupied with dogfighting with another male than avoiding me, so I could shoot from a few feet away. But it's still a real trial to focus, let alone zoom. How real photographers manage to compose scenes like this is beyond me:



 
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Nice photographs! It's cool seeing how dragonflies are really colorful, no matter where they come from.
 
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