Chief had brought down a couple of lenses to leave with me to 'have a mess with'. First off was a wide angled lens, as I'd been wanting better options when taking landscape and building pictures. He said if I was going to be playing with that I might as well have a go with his big lens. (Ok in my head that wasn't so Ffnar ffnar!) I had used this lens before, but thought I'd find it too heavy to use all the while and as even entry level lenses of this kind are expensive I wasn't sure it was for me. Then he said he'd always carry it for me if that was the problem. What a man eh?! As it was it turned out not to be working so he took that home again to send in for repair.
Saturday having got lenses to play with we decided to go out for a drive and see what we could find for me to photograph. With unsettled weather and no definite plans it involved a lot of aimless driving and me occasionally jumping out of the car to snap pictures like this one: (whilst all the while wishing everywhere looked a bit greener.)
They spend ages circling, but once one swoops down for food more congregate and go down for food. They really do shift. It's so hard to get decent pictures. This gives you and idea of what we were seeing. (I haven't even started going through the pictures I took of them in the air)
Chief took over 2000 pictures and me a more modest 900+. That's a lot of pictures to delete because it's not easy to photograph kites when they're swooping down at ridiculous speeds. It apparently wasn't one of the better days for kite watching and most of the people there had been waiting 3 hours before we turned up and none of the food had been touched! I was using an unfamiliar camera to me as Chief said I might as well try out his spare to see if I preferred it to my own camera. I also borrowed another lens of Chief when he didn't think my 300mm was firing quickly enough. There was a chap in the car park we'd met over at Otmoor previously. Turns out he's a regular visitor and he gave Chief and I lenses to use. I can't remember what it was he loaned to me, but it was heavy. I'm really too puny for these monster lenses and even when the birds are sat in trees I get blurry pictures from too much camera shake - despite image stabilization. Oh and I might also shake the camera about a bit when I get excited. I mean watching the kites was pretty amazing.
Sunday we were exhausted and Chief had to get back near to lunch time so we headed off to Waterperry Gardens. We were going to just walk around the garden centre bit taking picture of bugs on plants. One of the staff spotted us and asked what we were taking pictures off, then kindly suggested if we bought garden entrance tickets we could access a staff only area full of buddleias (and that's not called the butterfly bush for nothing!). I'm already a Friends member so had free entrance, it was a no brainner and we wandered around snapping pictures of butterflies, bugs and flowers.
We stopped for a lovely lunch while we were there too. Then it was time to say our goodbyes. These weekends go by too quickly. We have one more opportunity to see each other before the end of August. After that it's likely to be October before I can see him again.