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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Bushy Park

Went to Bushy park in London yesterday morning, with a view to photographing some of the deer there. I was a little disappointed not to get any of the kind of shots that I went for, but I did come away with some other photos instead. Despite walking around for an hour and a half, I saw only a few deer (unbelievable really, as the are hundreds there). They must have been there somewhere, but it's a pretty big park, and there just wasn't time to cover all of it.

Apart from this shot, I didn't come away with anything of the kind that I don't already have. So I switched to photographing the birds instead!

West London is full of parakeets; Bushy Park has hundreds. This guy is busy excavating -

...and there were plenty of Canadian Geese on one of the ponds.

Next weekend we are visiting Lincolnshire, so with luck I'll see the Barn Owl near Cath's parents again. I also found out last week that I'll be visiting New York on business at the beginning of October, so I'm going to line up some kind of wildlife photography while I'm there. I've been told Jamaica Bay reserve is very good (they have Osprey in numbers), so that's looking like the best bet at the moment.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Thursley Common

Drove to Thursley Common tonight after work. This is probably the last time I'll be able to do after-work photography this year, as the nights are really drawing in now, and happily the weather was lovely.

The Common is famous for its reptiles, some of which I photographed earlier this year - I did see a couple this evening too, but they were too warm (and therefore too mobile) to photograph, and disappeared before I could get close.

There were plenty of Grasshoppers though :-)

Another far corner composition - I think these work really well. Here's the same guy a little closer:

There seem to be a lot of spiders around this year. Our front garden is full of webs. There were plenty on the common tonight too:

To photograph this little fella I had to lay face up on the boardwalk and dangle my head off the edge, shooting directly upwards. I got a funny look from a passing jogger - thing is though, I think he will find it is his pastime which is inexplicable, not mine :-)

I really need to do more macro - I haven't done anything like enough this summer. Too busy with the feathered friends I guess. Speaking of which, this Woodpecker landed nearby just as I was clambering back onto the boardwalk:

This weekend I'm hoping to find time to visit Bushey Park to photograph the Deer rut. That will be an early start!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Chris Weston Photography Workshop at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation

Yesterday I attended one of Chris Weston's wildlife photography workshops. This was the first time I'd met Chris, and what a thoroughly good chap he is - very down to earth and approachable, which is more than I can say for some other pro wildlife photographers I've met!

The workshop, which was the best of it's kind that I have been to, was held at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent. The Foundation keep a large number of big cats, and have an extensive captive breeding program. They fund themselves with the tours and experience days which they hold for the public. Visits are by appointment only (i.e. you have to book in advance - In fact, this makes the site positively serene and peaceful compared to your average zoo, which can only be good for the animals (and the visitors too!). If you like big cats (and a lack of screaming children :-)), then this is the place for you.

And so on to some photos - as you can see, they have a real variety of cats.

I'm really pleased with these - to be honest, as these were captive animals held in enclosures, it was a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but I'd like to think if you put me in front of something wild, I could produce something similar. All I need now is a few £k for a safari ;-)

In the mean time, I'm going to see if I can make any more of Chris' workshops later in the year.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

update - BWPA 2010

Some weeks I ago, I mentioned that one of my entries to the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2010 had been short listed. Here it is again:

I didn't win anything, but the image was chosen for inclusion in a book of the winning and some shortlisted images. The book is available at amazon ( from the end of September.

 Looking forward to BWPA 2011 - my track record in this competition has been pretty good so far.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Bay of Biscay

Since Saturday I've been on a whale spotting trip with the Company of Whales.

The trip took place on the Pride of Bilbao, a ferry which sails between Portsmouth and Spain.

The top deck there, above the bridge, is where we (a group of roughly 30) were situated for the trip – it makes a great platform for spotting. Many other spotters were lined up and down the sides of the ship though. I've never seen so many spotting scopes and cameras in one place!

It was a great trip, and there were many sightings of a variety of different species. From my perspective, I have to admit it was a little frustrating - the vast majority of the whales we saw were well out of range for photographing. That's not to say that nothing passed close to the boat though!

These are Short Beaked Common Dolphins -
...and a Cuvier's Beaked Whale -

Another whale (a Fin Whale, I think) passed very close indeed – and I completely failed to photograph it – bugger.

This weekend it's a photography course with Chris Weston – big cats.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Red Squirrels at Brownsea Island

Earlier this year, before I started writing this blog, I visited Poole in Dorset, and made three trips to Brownsea Island, which is located in harbor there. This island is known for being one of the few places left in England (particularly in southern England) where Red Squirrels can be found.

This was my first proper photography trip since buying my 500mm f4 a couple of months previous, and I was pleased to be able to get to see the Reds and photograph them with the new lens - some people visit the island without seeing any at all!

These were taken in mid-March, so they still had the tufty ears of their winter coat.

Although I did manage about two dozen sightings over three days, in 2011 I plan to try the other southern Red Squirrel stronghold - the Isle of Wight. From what I've heard, it's easier to see them there.

There's plenty of other animals on Brownsea Island though, including Sika Deer, all the birds you'd expect from an island in Poole Harbour, and cheeky pheasants:

This weekend I will be away whale spotting in the bay of Biscay - hopefully I'll have some shots to post when I get back on Tuesday evening.