Getting to grips with the 70-300VR in Sheffield Botanical Gardens

I hold my hands up, these photos have been waiting quite a while to get put up on here! In the last month or so I have had a couple of trips to Sheffield Botanical gardens to get more practice with the Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G AF-S VR IF-ED lens. The Botanical gardens is a great place for wildlife photography, lots of flowers, birds and squirrels, all of which you can get pretty close to!

I’m loving the 70-300 so far, since it’s not the fastest of lenses I struggle in cloudy low light (which quite a few of these shots were taken in actually), but at the minute I haven’t even been tempted to reach into my camera bag for the  18-55mm for any landscapes!

Grey squirrels

There are lots of these guys in the gardens, they are frequently fed so are very friendly, but still fast little buggers so can be a pain to get in frame! You also have the unusual problem of them coming so close even 70mm feels redundant, a 10mm wide angle would be what you needed!

Woodland hoarder


Squirrel run



Spring Blooms

Crocus blossoms

Crocuses were numerous all around the city a few weeks ago, they are probably starting to fade away now, giving way to the daffodils who take on their shift as the in bloom spring flower.

I recieved a raynox DCR-250 as a little present for my GCSE exam results from my parents, and used it a lot on my old bridge camera, and it seems to work quite well on the 70-300VR as well!

Spring Spice


It’s great to have a telephoto again just to play with a shallow depth of field!


Springs Trophy

Sweet couple

Twinkling amber



There were of course lots of other flowers about in the gardens, hopefully there will be even more in summer, and hopefully that will in turn attract lots of insects to shoot! (Note the little honey bee in the shot below!)

Spring gems



The gardens are literally packed with bird of all kinds, I expected to the usual suspects of robins, blue tits, and goldfinches, but seeing birds like nuthatches, goldcrests and bullfinches came as quite a surprise! (Though unfortunately all I managed of those three were pants record shots, click on them to see!)

For a few birds at least, I did manage some half decent photos!

The robins were constantly singing!

Spring Siren

Sunshine singing

Singing in the sun
The blackbirds weren’t just sat around sounding off, making them a bit harder to shoot than the robins!
Back lit Blacky



Wood pigeons can give you the same problem as the grey squirrels in the botanical gardens sometimes, this is one of the few which wasn’t on the ground shuffling too close to my lens!
Fluffed up


Probably the next biggest singer after the robin in the Botanical gardens would be the dunnocks; given there subtle plumage and tendency to skulk in the hedges, I guess they have to show off some how!

Hidden songster

The Hedge Sparrow

But sometimes the subtle colouration works quite well!

Grey & Brown



Click on any of the images in this blog post to see the image larger on my flickr site!

In other news I have recently started uploading my images to 500px again, and also on the social media front, I finally succumbed and joined instagram! (Though I can’t promise it will always be photography related shots!)

Hopefully soon I will be posting some shots I have been taking for the Sheffield Wildlife trust! But until then, you can probably catch me rambling on twitter,



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