23 July 2021

Fabulous Friday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Swee Waxbill Bird in Bush Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Swee Waxbill Kirstenbosch Cape Town
Friday Morning at Kirstenbosch: Small perched birds and a Garden full of Peace

I expected a lot from this morning. I did not get it in the form of many small birds, but a peaceful walkabout around Kirstenbosch on a fabulous Friday morning.

Again, after quite a few rainy days in Cape Town, I returned to Kirstenbosch with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens to fine-tune this new genre of small perched birds.
 
What I am learning is the shutter speed relationship between the small perched birds and when some of them take flight during one continuous burst. Working with a non-IS lens, I shoot with a shutter speed of 1/1250s at Kirstenbosch which is fast enough for this purpose, but not fast enough for their incredible fast in-flight action. For this I will have to increase the shutter speed to a minimum of 1/2500s - 1/3200s - and find a balance between perched and in-flight action.

My photo of the morning was the swee waxbill touching down close to me - so small and I'm happy to get this semi in-flight image at a shutter speed of 1/1250.

Kirstenbosch birds photographed during the morning:
  • Swee waxbill
  • Southern Double-Collared Sunbird
  • Swee waxbill
  • Upside down Sunbird portrait
  • Dusky flycatcher
  • Cape bulbul

Canon Camera / Lens: Birds and Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode: 400mm @ f/5.6 / Auto- ISO (Various) / 1/1000s - 1/1250s shutter speeds
  • No Lens IS / Handheld

Post-Processing: Adobe Lightroom 

Perched Small Birds at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Singing Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Singing Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Swee Waxbill Bird Landing Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Swee Waxbill Landing Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Upside Down Sunbird Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Upside Down Sunbird Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Dusky Flycatcher Bird on Rock Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
African Dusky Flycatcher on Rock Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Perched Cape Bulbul Bird Kirstenbosch Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Perched Cape Bulbul Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Brave Boubou Shrike Kirstenbosch Cape Town Photographer Vernon Chalmers
Brave Boubou Shrike Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Plants / Flowers at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

King Protea Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town Photographer Vernon Chalmers
King Protea Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) Flower Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography
Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) Flower Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Bird / Flower Photography Training Kirstenbosch  More

Glorious Morning at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View

Vernon Chalmers 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' View

From Darkness into Light... Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Butterflies and Sunbird at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Images © Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Policy

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Map & Directions Kirstenbosch Google Map

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Website

15 July 2021

Tremendous Thursday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Cape White Eye Bird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape White-Eye Kirstenbosch
Follow-up morning visit to Kirstenbosch: Small perched birds, a butterfly and some wild flower photography at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

After a few days of rain in Cape Town I returned to Kirstenbosch with the objective to see how well my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens will perform with the relatively close small birds and flower photography. 
 
I knew I would have no problem with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II body - my only concern was the relatively long Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) of the 400mm prime lens. I generally have no issues with Birds in Flight photography (with EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens), but this combination could be challenging in the Kirstenbosch close-up / variable distanced perched small bird photography environment.

It took me a while to get used to the non-zoom 400mm Canon lens with its challenging MFD, but am overall quite satisfied with the body / lens performance for small bird, butterfly and flower photography - definitely my go-to kit for small bird, butterfly and flower photography at Kirstenbosch.

Last week at Kirstenbosch (in similar weather conditions) I tested my Canon EOS 70D paired with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens for small bird and flower photography. Although the lens had a shorter MFD than the 400mm prime lens I found the image quality improvement, noise management, continuous shooting speed and Autofocus responsiveness of the EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f.5.6L lens of a higher standard for my Kirstenbosch photography requirements.

New Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index
During the morning I photographed four new bird species which I added to my own 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' as I did over the last ten years with my personal 'Woodbridge Island Bird Species Index'.

Kirstenbosch birds photographed during the morning:
  • Southern Double-Collared Sunbird 
  • Cape white-eye
  • Cape bulbul
  • Dusky flycatcher
  • Southern boubou shrike
  • Karoo prinia
  • Southern Double-Collared Sunbird 
  • Hadeda ibis
  • Egyptian goose

Canon Camera / Lens: Birds and Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode: 400mm @ f/5.6 / Auto- ISO (Various) / 1/1000s - 1/2500s shutter speeds
  • No Lens IS / Handheld

Post-Processing: Adobe Lightroom 

Perched Small Birds at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird  Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird  Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town

Cape Bulbul Bird Perched Kirstenbosch Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Bulbul on Guard Duty Kirstenbosch Garden Cape Town

Dusky Flycatcher Bird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Dusky Flycatcher Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Southern Boubou Shrike Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Southern Boubou Shrike Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Karoo Prinia Bird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Karoo Prinia Bird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Hadeda Ibis in Flight Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Hadeda Ibis in Flight Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Egyptian Goose Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Egyptian Goose Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Small Garden Acraea Butterfly at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Male Garden Acraea Butterfly Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Male Garden Acraea Butterfly Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Plants / Flowers at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Arum Lily Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Arum Lily Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Small Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Small Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Wild Plant Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Wild Plant Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden Cape Town

Blooming Pincushion Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Blooming Pincushion Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Cape Town

Bird / Flower Photography Training Kirstenbosch  More

Glorious Morning at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View

Fabulous Friday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View 

Vernon Chalmers 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' View

From Darkness into Light... Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Butterflies and Sunbird at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Images © Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Policy

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Map & Directions Kirstenbosch Google Map

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Website

06 July 2021

Glorious Morning at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Cape Spurfowl Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Cape Spurfowl on the run at Kirstenbosch
Visit to Kirstenbosch: Small birds and some wild flower photography at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

On a glorious and crisp sunny Tuesday morning (6 July 2021) I visited Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden for Canon EOS body / EF lens testing and some personal reflection.

This was my first visit to Kirstenbosch on my own. It was a very enjoyable morning with many perched small birds across the garden, the running Cape spurfowl and a images taken of a couple of plants / wild flowers.    

I was fortunate enough to photograph at least eleven bird species between +- 10:00 and 12:00 on the morning. This is by far the most bird species I have identified and photographed around Kirstenbosch during one single shooting session. 

A Thursday morning's birds and flowers at Kirstenbosch View

New Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index
During the Kirstenbosch morning visit I also thought about the idea of creating and publishing my own 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' as I did over the last ten years with my personal 'Woodbridge Island Bird Species Index'.

Kirstenbosch birds photographed  during the morning:
  • Cape spurfowl
  • Southern double-collared sunbird
  • Olive thrush
  • Cape robin-chat
  • Cape sugarbird
  • Forest canary
  • Swee waxbill
  • Cape white-eye
  • Speckled mousebird
  • Cape bulbul
  • Karoo prinia

Canon Camera / Lens: Birds and Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens (Mark I)
  • Manual Mode: 400mm / f/5.6 / Auto- ISO (Various) / 1/1000s - 1/3200s shutter speeds
  • Lens IS Switched off / Handheld

Post-Processing
: Adobe Lightroom 

Perched Small Birds at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird perched on a Pincushion Protea Kirstenbosch Vernon Chalmers Photography
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird perched on a Pincushion Protea Kirstenbosch © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Olive Thrush Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Olive Thrush Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Cape Robin-Chat Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Robin-Chat Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ©Vernon Chalmers Photography

Cape Sugarbird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Sugarbird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Forest Canary Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Forest Canary Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Swee Waxbill Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swee Waxbill Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Cape White-Eye Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape-White Eye Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Speckled Mousebird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Speckled Mousebird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Cape Bulbul Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Bulbul Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Karoo Prinia Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Karoo Prinia Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Plants / Flowers at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Salmon Pelargonium Plant Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography
Salmon Pelargonium Plant Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography
Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

King Protea Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography
King Protea Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

"Fireworks at Kirstenbosch" Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography
"Fireworks at Kirstenbosch" Flowers Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) Flower Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) Flower Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Pincushion Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography
Pincushion Protea Flower Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Bird / Flower Photography Training Kirstenbosch View

Vernon Chalmers 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' View

Tremendous Thursday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View

From Darkness into Light... Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Butterflies and Sunbird at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Images © Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Policy

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Map & Directions Kirstenbosch Google Map

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Website

01 July 2021

Flower Photography - Arum Lilies Milnerton

Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens
Arum Lilies: Table Bay Nature Reserve and Paddocks

Objective: Demonstrating Depth of Field application with the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS IS II lens paired with the Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i DSLR camera body close to the Paddocks Mall, Milnerton.
Using my birds / birds in flight photography camera, the Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens for arum lily photography in the Table Bay Nature Reserve.
Note: Overcast / windy conditions. Handheld. No post-processing - just crops where applicable. Fast changing lighting conditions

Equipment (Close-Up Photography)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 700D SLR camera body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings

  • Aperture: f/4.5 - f/5.6
  • ISO 200 - ISO 500
  • Shutter speed: various
  • AutoFocus (lens)
  • Minimal Post-Processing  
  • JPG / RAW conversion

Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EO 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EO 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens
Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens

Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens
Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens

Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens
Arum Lilies Milnerton - Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm IS II Lens

Bird and Flower Photography Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Landscape Photography Training Milnerton

Landsscpe Long Exposure Photography Training Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Copyright 01

Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Training Milnerton, Woodbridge Island

Vernon Chalmers facilitates beginner / intermediate level Landscape / Seascape / Long Exposure Training Courses at Milnerton and Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - with guided sunrise and sunset shooting sessions.

Training Dates: To be confirmed with individual delegates

Delegates are welcome to attend Sunrise and / or Sunset Sessions.

Training Cost: R2 450 per delegate for up to four sessions (two to three practicals)


Self Catering Accommodation Milnerton
Vernon Chalmers photography training is facilitated from a self-catering apartment in Arnhem, Milnerton (opposite Woodbridge Island) with an option for local and international photographers to overnight during the various training sessions. Optional accommodation will be calculated at reduced rates into the Photography Training Proposal / Invoicing. More Information

Photography Training Gift Voucher
Landscape / Long Exposure training is available as a Birthday / Christmas Gift training option with a one year validity period. It could also form part of general Canon camera training option as well. More information

Method of PaymentPayment Options>>

Booking: Contact Vernon Chalmers 

25% discount for delegates who made any previous booking(s) via the Vernon Chalmers Website

Membership to the Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop Cape Town Support Group

Delegates during a Landscape / Long Exposure Workshop Milnerton Beach Photo Credit Steve Williams
Delegates during a Landscape / Long Exposure Workshop Milnerton Beach
Training Objective / Training Level
For assisting the developing photographer with the understanding and application of intermediate to advanced landscape / long exposure settings and techniques (with ongoing Landscape Photography Training support).


At the end of the workshop / practical sessions you should be able to understand / grasp the techniques required to get the most from your own gear / and take your own photography to the next (more advanced) level. 

For Canon APS-C / Full-Frames DSLR bodies / lenses
The Landscape / Long Exposure Workshop will start with exposure / focus settings with reference to APS-C and Full Frame bodies) and then up to three practical sessions at Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Beach: a sunset session and again at sunrise and / or sunset session. Delegates are welcome to attend all three practical sessions.


Workshop Contents / Learning Areas
  • Introduction 
  • Camera Bodies / Lenses 
  • Camera / Lens Settings 
  • Exposure / Focus Settings 
  • Long Exposure Techniques
  • Tripods / Remote Releases
  • Filters Overview / Application 
  • Composition Guidelines
  • Introduction to Landscape Panoramas
  • Copyright / Online & Social Media Publishing
  • Practical Sessions (Milnerton Beach / Woodbridge Island)

Canon DSLR Camera Body / Lens Requirements
Any Canon EOS DSLR camera body with an ultra-wide / wide angle lens in ie. 10-18 / 18-55 / 18-135mm focal length APS-C format or Full Frame ie.16-35 / 24-70 / 24-105mm focal length will be suitable. Feel free to contact me if you're not sure.

Tripod
A sturdy tripod will be mandatory for the low light / long exposure sessions.

Cost: R950-00 per delegate for up to four sessions

Contact Vernon Chalmers for more information

All Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop Cape Town promotions, bookings, and logistics are facilitated by Vernon Chalmers.

(Click to Enlarge)

V&A Waterfront Sunrise - Canon EOS 700D / 18-135mm Lens
V&A Waterfront Sunrise - Canon EOS 700D / 18-135mm Lens

Landscape / Long Exposure Workshop Cape Town - October 2016
Sea Point Sunset - Canon EOS 6D / 16-35mm Lens 

Long Exposure Photography - Milnerton Lagoon (Canon EOS 6D)
Table Mountain / Cape Town Before Sunrise - From Milnerton Beach (Canon EOS 6D)

Long Exposure Photography - Milnerton Lagoon, Cape Town (Canon EOS 6D)

Long Exposure Photography - Milnerton Beach (Canon EOS 700D)
Long Exposure Photography - Milnerton Beach, Cape Town (Canon EOS 700D)

The Wooden Bridge  Woodbridge Island After Sunset (Canon EOS 6D)
The Wooden Bridge  Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - After Sunset (Canon EOS 6D)

Photography Private Training Courses Cape Town
  • Introduction to Photography / Canon Cameras More 
  • Bird / Flower Photography Training Kirstenbosch More
  • Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo Master Class More
  • Birds in Flight Photography Workshop More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography Workshop More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Workshop More