Posts Tagged ‘photography


As darkness falls

The park was busy on Sunday. Dog walkers, screaming kids, joggers and cyclists. I was beginning to wonder why I’d brought the camera. As dusk approached it started to quieten; a little at first but I soon found myself alone. I walked away from the path and stood under one of the big oaks. I was reminded of the first line of a poem – “I sat beneath a tree … and it surrounded me” – for the life of me I couldn’t remember any more. My thoughts were immersed in trying to recall where I’d heard it; so immersed I didn’t notice I wasn’t alone.

A Roe Deer walked right passed me; within a few metres. I gave a sharp intake of breath and held it, so as not to disturb my new friend. I dare not move. If I raised the camera she would be gone, As she started to graze and muzzle the ground I had the chance to slowly lift the lens. It was now quite dark and I could almost hear the camera groaning to gather enough light. Operating at the thin end of capability I managed to get a few shots before she moved slowly away and I was left just with the darkness.




Love of life

Whenever dolphins appear it shines a light into peoples lives. So it was yesterday.

Travelling out to the Isles of Scilly on the notorious Scillonian III conditions were flat calm. Ideal for seeing cetaceans. Bottlenose Dolphins were the first to appear; slow methodical, bulky dolphins these, we had around four of them. Harbour Porpoise were almost omnipresent and numbered in the 30’s. As we were watching them a large dark animal broke the surface. A Minke Whale gave four or five opportunities for us to get a glimpse…. and then they arrived!

In typical spectacular fashion Common Dolphins gatecrashed the party; leaping and bounding into centre stage. Everyone loves a playful dolphin!




We saw this Chinese Water Deer on tour last weekend. A small alien from the other side of the world but no less beautiful for that.




Wouldn’t it be good if the politicians sat down and talked properly with the CEO’s of the wildlife organisations in the UK? Wouldn’t it be good if the CEO’s talked among themselves and they all sang from the same hymn sheet when lobbying the politicians? Just think what could be achieved if this happened.

The only way of making this happen is to bring these people together at an early stage. AFON (A Focus On Nature) probably has the future leaders of the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Natural England, The Forestry Commission etc, etc, already within their ranks. These people know one another. They know one another NOW as they are developing their skills as individuals within a group. They are experiencing their early years TOGETHER. There are probably future wildlife law makers among their number too.

I am a mentor for AFON and have been in there from the start. I realised then, and I maintain now, that we must rear a new breed of wildlife enthusiast to protect our future.

I went out again with Catherine Bullen the other week. I am one of her AFON coaches guiding her on the next steps within her career as a wildlife photographer. Note her name. She’s good. You will be seeing more of her work in the future I’m sure. Take a look at some of her photos on her website and by friending her on facebook.

To reach people; to touch people’s hearts and minds, sometimes words are not enough – you need a good image to make them sit up and listen. Catherine is one of the people that will help to do that in future.


Resplendent orient

In the Brecks last week listening to a charade of Firecrest song. However it wasn’t that that caught our attention. It was the flock of Mandarin ducks looking resplendent in breeding garb that stole the show. What beautiful ducks these are.



Herd animals are always difficult to photograph. They never look the same way! This little group of Fallow Deer sheltering from early spring sunshine and framed by the tree caught my attention.



A Dull and Dark Day

A look at the weather forecast and it appeared a little sunshine would grace the charming village of Beeley in Derbyshire on Tuesday. I decided to make the journey across to see the Dusky Thrush that had been found there a few days earlier. The sunshine would be good for photography. An early rise and a busy drive later found me trying to find a parking space among the now bustling quaint lanes of the picture postcard venue. If I’d flown from the far east this is probably where I would have chosen to set up shop although exactly what this secluded inland village has in preference to Japan or even Korea I’m not sure.

The bird had been seen before my arrival but had flown off. I staked out an area with fallen apples that I was reliably told it had been frequenting. Redwings, Fieldfare and Blackbirds were everywhere; in much greater numbers than they are here in Norfolk. I didn’t have to wait long before this marvellous thrush flew in and gorged on the apples, much to the chagrin of a local blackbird that pursued the intruder with intent. The village is set in the valley bottom and the hills around were capped with low cloud; the light was dreadful for photography. Still, I fired off a few shots as best I could. It spent around 15 minutes in and around the orchard, mostly obscured, before flying away strongly with a few harsh and unfamiliar ‘creck, creck, creck’ calls. I waited several more hours and the sun did indeed come out… but the bird did not. It did return again but the air was milky and horrible by then so I put down the camera and had a damn good look. With the plumage of an ill painted bulky Redwing it showed the faint covert bar of a first winter bird. In some lights the secondary feather edges looked chestnut enough for a male; in other lights they looked dull enough to indicate I was watching a female. I guess if the bird stops for the winter we may find out its gender for sure towards the end of its stay. Any which way … its a fantastic bird to see.


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December 2017
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