18 May 2009

Photography Contact Awarded by Natural England

I am thrilled to say that I have just been awarded a contract as a photographer for Natural England, the environmental body that advises the government. I am one of a group of professional photographers chosen throughout the country to provide imagery. The competition was fierce, and the application procedure one of the most thorough I have ever seen. I am looking forward to my first assignment, whatever it may be.

Photography wise I have just finished another article for Yorkshire Ridings on upland birds which will appear in the July issue. A recent walk that I led in a West Yorkshire woodland proved both enjoyable and productive, with a lot of interest in my work - and I captured some new images of bluebells and early purple orchid, along with general woodland scenes. I also photographed the lighting of a charcoal burn which the local wildlife group does every year in order to make use of felled trees. It was quite something to watch - if a little toxic!

A recent badger watch proved interesting. After 2 hours of waiting silently, it seemed that my badgers were once again proving awkward by not showing themselves. But to the right of me I could hear movements in the undergrowth - and it sounded like something of size. It was another half hour or so before I got a glimpse. After mentally going through every mammal I could think of, it suddenly became obvious what the scurrying animal was... a beautiful and tiny fox cub. Soon joined by another, the 2 cubs continued to make a racket as they ran around the undergrowth and scratted in the fallen leaves. This was a lovely sighting, but not as good as what happened a few minutes later... as I sat quietly in the faded light I could just make out one of the cubs in the distance along the path, and his next move was to come bounding straight towards me, perfectly happy as he literally ran past my boot!! Obviously these cubs don't know to be scared of me yet.. Hopefully they won't grow up to quickly, and I may be able to get some images by putting out food. The surroundings are beautiful at the moment, with bluebells and red campion making a great setting...