20 December 2010
17 December 2010
The photo was shot at Adel Dam nature reserve near Leeds, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve. It was taken from the lake-side hide early one summer morning. Herons are often present, as are kingfishers. Foxes and roe deer are regularly seen at the woodland edge and this was the second time I had seen at least one fox snoozing close to the lake. I followed this particular heron as it waded through the water in changing light. As it neared the foxes I expected a stand-off; instead both foxes and bird carried on regardless, providing this unusual wildlife image. I think both knew where they stood: the heron was safe enough in the water and the foxes knew the heron was aware of their presence... or perhaps the heron was a bit too big to tackle. !
Image shot with Canon 20D; 300mm lens plus 1.4x converter; f5.6 at 1/320; ISO 200; beanbag
03 December 2010
1. BE PREPARED! Don't get caught out: think about clothing, keeping your gear dry, your phone charged...and are you prepared if you get stuck..?
2. Whilst driving, keep those extra socks warm by putting them in your pockets or stuffing them under your jumper..
3. Have some food with you: small but light; pieces of cake, flapjacks and chocolate are good ways of keeping your calories up...
4. Keep batteries warm - keep spare batteries in on your person (preferably inside pockets) - the warmth will help. Have at least 2 or 3 batteries as the cold can zap their strength quickly...
5. Make a waterproof covering for your camera if photographing in the snow. I have a sleeve made out of old waterproof trousers to cover my camera and lens when shooting wildlife in falling snow or blizzard...
6. Safety first. If the road looks too dodgy to drive on - don't try it. You are better off finding another alternative than getting stuck in the snow and ending up with nothing.
7. BE PREPARED!!
Certainly a memorable day of deer photography and some of the best winter wildlife photographs I've ever taken.!
19 November 2010
12 November 2010
These pictures were taken at Stainforth Force in Ribblesdale at the beginning of November. The water and surruonding colours were simply stunning. In addition, I had the good fortune to manage a shot of one the many salmon leaping in the air as it battled to make its way up the waterfall.
27 September 2010
29 August 2010
It's the perfect place to photograph barn owl and little owl in particular, with lichen covered stone walls and barn windows. We even managed to fly the barn owl through an open window numerous times providing stunning flight shots! The farm should now be one of our main locations for future bird of prey workshops.
31 July 2010
Gervase is certainly a character and I'm sure the book will be an excellent read (I did hang around to get my free copy signed!). A successful author and public speaker, Gervase has written numerous books and writes a regular column for the Countryman magazine.
Country Publications seems to go from strength to strength, will a very loyal readership. It's clear too that the editors and designers really care about their product, and this recent publication is a superb example of the quality they produce - beautifully set out with stunning images throughout.
23 June 2010
06 June 2010
06 May 2010
There are some good prizes on offer and the winning image will be published in Photography Monthly magazine. Why not have a go and help a worthy cause at the same time. If you want some tips and techniques then why not browse this blog, or check out some of my articles:
05 May 2010
A week ago I was back again (I just can't keep away from this fantastic location!), and once more I experienced cracking weather... in fact I can't ever remember it being so still up here on the moor. The grouse are certainly the easiest birds to photograph here and make great subjects during spring.
I was particularly happy to get images with more interesting lighting as I shot towards the early morning sun. The resulting shots make such a difference to the atmosphere.. Now I know the best spots for backgrounds I think it's a case of waiting by these places for something to happen in order to get an extra special image.
Lapwings are also confiding - a particular patch of open grass often proves fruitful for these stunning birds. I was even lucky enough to photograph a chick as it ran by the roadside before finding a hole in the stone wall to step through...
Meadow pipits continue to give me the run-around, but occasionally one will stop long enough for me to get a clean shot. What's really surprising me up here is the more unusual species that have come close to the car. Wheatear is definitely possible, and add to that the ring ouzel... a really difficult bird to shoot. As always it's a case of putting in the time! Next year I plan to run the same wildlife photography course. View Uplands Birds Photography Course to see the details.
19 April 2010
Simply watching the water birds preen and wash is the best way to predict the action. Birds will often cover themselves in water before stretching up and flapping their wings. A fast shutter speed of at least 1/500 second will freeze the action.
Although it might seem fairly simple to photograph mallards, swans and geese - achieving spot on portraits isn't all that easy. The main problem is the movement. The birds are constantly swimming or drifting making them more difficult to photograph. There are a number of different techniques for focusing: the servo mode can work well as a bird swims directly towards you; with the one shot mode try focusing on the bill then firing a series of shots as the bird's head passes through the zone of focus. White or black birds can be trickier. Coots are one example, where the focus may struggle to lock on - in this case you could use manual focus by focussing slightly ahead of the bird and again firing as it moves through the zone. It's worth trying all these techniques... ultimately it depends on the movement, speed and the species in question. The other consideration is the focus point. Use the central focus point and you will miss out on reflections, whilst a higher focus point will allow you to compose with the birds head towards the top of the frame and a full reflection below. Calm conditions can create almost perfect reflections for these images.
I'm a great advocate for concentrating on species close to home. With a perfect location you can return again and again to improve your images, using the varying seasons to create intimate and colourful images. And like all wildlife photography, the more time you put in, the greater your chance of capturing special behaviour to set your images apart from others.
13 March 2010
Light levels sometimes made life difficult, but although difficult to obtain a truly sharp image, the resulting detail and colour remind me just how useful this lighting is - I would shoot in this light all the time... if it were possible! Fast moving birds just don't really allow this..
This year was particularly good for woodpeckers. Both male and female quickly took to my 'woodpecker feeder' and it was rare not to see one during a session in the hide. They can become wonderfully comfortable once they get used to the food, and are completely used to the camera shutter. At times they simply clamp themselves onto the food and clear the lot. It's such a privilege to watch these birds at such close quarters... On every woodland bird photography workshop I ran, everybody managed to get a shot of this colourful and vibrant bird.
As always, I strive to capture something a little different, whether it's unusual behaviour or a creative setting and backdrop. With this in mind I used a fallen sweet chestnut (kept in the freezer) and filled the inside with fat ball mixture in order to add some shape and colour. The resulting images are perhaps a little too set up, but experimenting is always worth a try, and it allows you to make those extra tweaks and changes that eventually might just lead to that 'perfect shot'..
Next year I hope to run the same nature photography course at the same location.
25 February 2010
Click on the link below to see my image along with the other commended photos.