On Sunday, which was a mostly lovely sunny day, I went over to Teddington to see Susan, Paula and Clive, and to have a walk in Bushy Park. This is unusual - we are more likely to be found running round Bushy Park than walking. It was a bit of a treat to take my time, take some photos, and visit some of the more tucked-away parts of this very large area of parkland.
I was a little physically compromised - suffering from a bad case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from the day before, when I did my black-belt aikido grading (I passed!). Kneeling down to take pictures was pretty much impossible, which meant I didn't give my new camera as much of a workout as I'd have liked. Yes, new camera - I have bought a D7200. I've been waiting for ages for a proper update to the D300 - ie a pukka semi-pro DX body - and there's not been one, but I read enough good reports about the slightly lower end D7200 to convince me I needed to give one a try. My verdict to come at the end of this.
The park is looking lovely, with nearly all the grassland allowed to grow through the summer, and this has encouraged a huge population of Small Skippers. I have never seen so many, anywhere, it was an absolute delight to see them in profusion wherever I looked.
A walk along an irrigation ditch revealed several Banded Demoiselles, sadly impossible for me to photograph as they were too low down, but we were to see more later on.
We reached the fenced-off Woodland Gardens and here Susan and I parted ways with Paula and Clive as canines are not allowed in this area. We'd not been walking long up a shaded trail along the edge of the gardens when we found ourselves surrounded by small birds, which were flitting about calling constantly, and were very hard to lock onto in the leafy and shady conditions.
I reached the end of the Woodland Gardens and rejoined the others, under skies now looking a little foreboding. We decided to head home.
So, about this new camera. I bought it with a view to selling both my D300 and D700 if I like it, and most particularly if I like how it goes in low light. Its cost new is only a little more than I should get from selling the other two bodies. BUT I am not sure about it yet. It feels less solid than the D300. It's a bit more plasticy and it lacks certain things eg a protector for the LCD screen. In use, I really noticed the slightly slower frame rate when taking some (unblogworthy) bird in flight shots. I was also quite annoyed to find that I couldn't process the RAW files it produced without installing a bunch of new software. Picture quality and noise levels at high ISO are an improvement on the D300 but I'm not sure if they are enough of an improvement. The shutter is quiet! The files it produces are very large so I'll be able to crop more and still end up with a printable image. I need a bit more time with it though before I decide what to do.