Entries in the ‘Articles’

Practical Photography-Fieldcraft Tips

Filed in Articles, Photography Tips on Jun.19, 2012

One of the most important tools in wildlife photography is fieldcraft. Getting to know the subject, spending time watching, listening and looking, learning its behavior, its habits and calls. In turn all of this will reward you with a far better chance of capturing images that show the subjects natural behavior.

Regardless of the level of photographic skill your at you will need to learn fieldcraft to capture those images you see while among Mother Nature. With this though comes a great responsibility and integrity to your own work and your own foot print you’ll leave behind you when you leave the wildlife and go home.

Wildlife photography’s power rests on the belief that it represents an event that occurred naturally in the wild, something witnessed and recorded by the photographer with his camera at that given time. Clever use of friendly animals, hot spots, bait and the per-arranged perches or props along with digital technology has forced everyone to re-evaluate and question the validity of images they see now.

Living animals have feelings, emotions not to dissimilar to our own, tap into that whatever the subject maybe and you will see the real and true beauty of wildlife unfold in front of you. Apply your passion and respect on top of fieldcraft and the images will come.

Many species of mammals and birds will allow you to approach them closely if you are careful and take your time, no fast movements and using the correct techniques. Read the land for yourself, see what’s in front of you, in between you and the subject, use natural gulley’s and shapes to break up your approach. Never make the mistake of walking directly towards your subject as the chances are the animal will have long gone.

All wild animals that have no or very little contact with humans are scared and fear man. They see and smell us the moment we enter their world of which they are designed for and we aren’t. They have an in built fear of man and see us as a threat to their lives to put it bluntly. For me its how the person deals with that level of fear and stress using their fieldcraft that’s important.

Animal tracks tell you so much about what’s happening around you. It’s their highway, the way animals navigate their chosen habitat. Look for darkened earth a clear sign there’s life around. Just standing still for several minutes and look to see any natural lines, faltered grasses or earth moved or piled up. This then will give you a bigger picture of the main routes in and out of a forest say or farmland track leading to a wood and so forth.

Look towards the sun when studying tracks, you will see the shadows better. Footprints in soft ground will begin to deteriorate around the edges within 2 hours depending on the humidity, sunlight, and breeze giving you vital clues to what and how long ago an animal passed by that spot. The depth of the tracks and length of the stride can indicate the weight of the subject and the physical strength of the animal that made them.

Find out which way the wind is blowing making your approach better as most animals have a great sense of smell and it’s the first thing to give you away. The wind always wants to be blowing into your face, this will blow your scent away and remember to forget the aftershave or perfume along with soaps that are high in perfume as these will be picked up from great distances away. It is also important to recognize and learn the signs of stress within the animal so you know when to stop and leave the animal well alone. The last thing you ever want to do is cause undue stress and disturbance through your actions in order to get the shot.

Clothing, wind direction, covering the ground, shape, shine, staying low, can all help in capturing those moments in nature where you have to work harder with some animals than others. Some species will accept human presence quicker, taking only hours, where as other more sensitive subjects will take weeks if not months.

It’s the way I work while capturing wild animals in their their natural habitats while working very ethically alongside nature. Composing the wildlife to show others how they go about their lives,where they live and conduct their lives. So correct fieldcraft is an integral part to the way I work as a wildlife photographer. Being at one with nature is amazing and with time and effort and applying good fieldcraft everyone is capable of capturing those beautiful moments I am blessed with seeing each time I enter the natural world.

In July’s issue of Practical Photography I give my top ten tips and advice in order to help you, whether you’re just starting out or more accomplished in regard to fieldcraft the article is written passing on my many years of experience in this field over the years. Fieldcraft is the foundation to my work and style as a wildlife photographer today and has been since the moment I picked up a camera.

Look at the Foxes ears below, he couldn’t see me, but he could just make out the faint noise of my shutter noise from my camera. Each ear is facing in a different direction, one facing forward and the other facing towards where he heard the noise. He’s doing this to locate the sound in a bid to locate me, wonderful animal behaviour you can learn to read by using your fieldcraft skills.

Today people really want to see how you got the image and as a wildlife photographer you not only have a duty of care to your subject’s welfare but also to the general public who buy your work or follow you I feel. Showing and explaining how that image was taken, the skills you employed to achieve the image are paramount today.

The most important tip and piece of advice I can give in improving your fieldcraft is respect your subject, let wildlife live their lives without fear or stress from your presence. Apply all my tips from the article and the animal will benefit first and foremost and be able to carry on with their lives. Applying these tips will also allow you to capture images with a real story. Leaving little or no disturbance from the photographer is the best piece of fieldcraft you can learn and apply.

People then can see your fieldcraft and subject knowledge behind that particularly image. Learn the basics of fieldcraft and you can implment these to any real time situation within the amazing world of nature you will come across. I hope you enjoy the article which you can see by clicking here, many thanks.


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Sumatran Orangutans Dying As Fires Burn

Filed in Articles on Apr.03, 2012

Little did I know when I first spoke with Helen Buckland, the UK president of the Sumatra Orangutan Society- SOS last year, offering my help and professional services in order to help and highlight the plight of this great ape and planning our trip to the jungles of Sumatra, that just over twelve months later an area and its Orangutans would be in grave danger of complete extinction at the hands of greed and shocking actions by the government there

Today after several weeks of legal wrangling to save an area of rainforest in Sumatra from burning the government there have refused to make a ruling on the case. Over the last week a man made firestorm has swept through a huge area of the remaining peat swamp forests of Tripa, devastating critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans to the very brink of extinction, possibly within months. To read the shocking ruling please click here. SOS’s website has the full story here.

Critically important, the Tripa peat swamp forests of Aceh, Indonesia, has long been recognized as a UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership priority site for Great Ape Conservation. In the early 90’s these forests are estimated to have contained between 2,000 and 3,000 but today only a few hundred survive. If the current rate of forest destruction and burning continues, even these will be gone completely within a matter of months. The whole of the Tripa peat swamps lie within the Protected Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection in Indonesia’s National Spatial Plan established in 2008.

Sumatran Orangutans are heading towards extinction, and this latest story on Tripas Orangutan tragedy has circulated around the world –Time Magazine, Washington Post, Guardian, The Australian and many more in an out pouring of anger of such a shocking act.  In an amazing response to the tragedy in Tripa, thousands of people all around the world have emailed the President of Indonesia and key stakeholders calling for the law to be enforced and upheld in Tripa. Click here to see the full story and several links in which will help also.

Spotlight Sumatra see’s me going to the island of Sumatra in mid September for two weeks. The principal focus of my trip will be the Orangutans, capturing them within their natural habitat, looking for behaviours to capture and so on while spending time sleeping and tracking them with my guides among the jungle. This shocking news and ongoing problems have brought home though just how important a trip it will be. Not only to capture the amazing Orangutans with photographs but also to report on the problems and issues facing the amazing wildlife that live on Sumatra.

On a personal level though it will be very rewarding helping SOS a charity I’m right behind in helping to show the world this Orangutan is in serious danger. But I am under no illusion I may witness things that will greatly upset me and touch deep inside my sole but I am determined to tell the story and help bring home the faces and stories of the wildlife that live there that I promise. This will help and highlight what’s going on at the same time show our closest living relative to a wider audience.

Helen along with myself are planning exhibitions, talks and much more to bring this great ape into more of the spotlight to help its survival. So hopefully I’ll be able to help so much on all levels, but in the meantime there is the ongoing problems in Tripa and SOS along with all the other agencies around the world are continuing the fight to stop these forests from burning as we speak. To keep up to date please visit SOS’s website and if you can sign the many petitions that are being passed around calling for an immediate stop to this clearance that that would be amazing and I thank you on behalf of the Orangtuans and the other wildlife that’s suffering there.

I cannot put into words my feelings towards the recent ruling and shocking things that are happening there as I speak. I can only help in the only way I know at this present time and that’s highlighting whats going on there on my blog. Once I am there I hope to do all I can to help and let my heart, eye and camera do the talking for me.

My perpetration’s have already begun, with me brushing up my climbing and abseiling skills, where below you can see an old image of myself as part of a rope access team, climbing on a historic building doing repairs to the windows and general maintenance which was my job before turning professional. I’m hoping these and my many other skills will come in good use once I’m on the ground in Sumatra.

Thank you for reading and if there is anything you can help with then please contact Helen at the Sumatra Orangutan Society, many thanks.


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Calumet Photographic-Beauty of Wildlife

Filed in Articles on Mar.12, 2012

I’ve just spent a great weekend leading my two day Beauty Of Wildlife workshop in conjunction with Calumet photographic, Manchester. My aim of these wildlife workshops I run throughout the year is to offer some fantastic practical one and two day seminars in some great locations where you will learn many tips and techniques, most of which I use in my own work as a wildlife photographer.

You can then put these into practise within your own work which will improve your photography, at the same time learning more about the wildlife that you see and capture with your camera. I enjoy sharing my vast accumulated experience of the natural world, at the same time I’m very passionate about helping each of my clients hone his or her photographic vision.

On the first day I went through  a mixture of talks, slideshow presentations and photographic tips and advice all geared into inspiring everyone within their own photography while at the same time helping them understand more about their settings, cameras and most of all fieldcraft. This was all rounded off with a cup of tea and biscuits. After which I went through each client’s camera showing how to get the best from each make and model in readiness for the second day out on the moors.

 

The group was a great mix of people, from all over the UK at varying levels of competencies and were really good company. We met at 5am on the second day, in the pitch black of the morning. I had gone through some key elements to wildlife photography the previous day in my presentation to the group. One of those elements was ‘light’. Find it, work with, and create your image alongside what light you have.  The weather was really kind to the group with a beautiful spring day which started with an amazing sunrise.

The group had a very nice surprise very early on during the day in the form of a couple of Mountain hares still in their winter coats. They stuck out very well against the heather which made them amazedly jumpy to approach I had touched on in the previous day’s presentations the importance of fieldcraft and your approach to wildlife so it was good to see everyone putting this into good use. The hares were very jumpy though due to their winter coats so were very hard to capture photographic wise.

Out in the wild, working with wild animals those tips could make all the difference to a well composed image so I made sure everyone had a better understanding of the key elements in order so they’d really benefit from their time with me. All the information and advice we discussed was contained in a handout I’d prepared for each client as seen above, this would help once the group had gone home to use as a reference guide.

After lunch the group were free to explore for themselves, put into practice skills and tips I embedded throughout those two days and it was really good to see them all going about their own work and capturing some lovely images with strong composition, good use of natural light and above all listening and watching wildlife to build a picture of whats happening around you.

Photographing wildlife in ‘the wild’ is the only real and true way of learning about behavior and fieldcraft, so it was very important for me to show the group on the second day how I work and go about getting the images that I achieve, while working with subjects that are free to come and go as they please and have fear for humans. Where you have to work the land and the environment to try and obtain an image, straight from the wild so to speak. The key to my photography is fieldcraft first and foremost, photography for me came much later in life.

On all my workshops, photo tours I have and do always stress the need to understand nature more and be able to work with her, alongside her in order to become part of their landscape and habitat without disturbing wildlife. The result is a better understanding of the wildlife and more importantly a greatly respect for the subjects around us all key ingredients in making better wildlife photographs in my eyes. My next wildlife workshops with Calumet can be viewed here

A big thank you to all the clients for your time and efforts during the two days. I really hope you got a lot from the days and learned something new. You were all great on the second day and looking back now you can see through the images you captured why the early start was so important to capturing lovely images of wildlife.

I recently judged the -New Beginnings Spring postcard competition 2012 where the first prize was a chance to see your image in print – over 50,000 times and also on Calumets invitation postcard for their customers for the Spring Open Days in our stores next month. Calumet had a phenomenal amount of entries for the competition. It was a tough decision for me to choose a winner, with so many outstanding images to choose from.

There was an excellent standard across the whole group where many could have won the first place. I chose this image because from the first moment I opened the image up it popping out of the screen at me with its beautiful and vibrate colours, clever use of depth of field and really nice out of focus areas giving the image a real soft and delicate appearance. The colours and the flower symbolize new life and the coming of spring for me, a wonderful image.

Congratulations to the winner Nigel Burkitt who’s winning image can be seen here and will represent Calumets Spring Open Days that can been seen by clicking on this link. The image can be seen above alongside the dates. I will be attending the Manchester and London stores to do a couple of wildlife talks and presentions during those days so hope you can come along.


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Calumet Beauty of Wildlife Workshops 2012

Filed in Articles, Workshops on Nov.21, 2011

In October I ran my “Beauty of Wildlife” workshop in conjunction with Calumet Photographic, one of the leading photographic suppliers in the UK. It was a great success with a full contingent of clients who really enjoyed the two days. Two more of these workshops are now available one in late January 2012 and one in March 2012 with more workshops planned  with this leading camera supplier company throughout the year and at diffent places around the UK.

The Autumn issue of Calumet Photographic magazine arrived today and there’s a nice little piece in their about my workshop, info and dates etc, thank you to the guys that attended and I hope you are all using what I showed you still

The first day will be based at their Manchester branch, where we I will go through camera settings, compositions, setting up of each person’s camera and sharing/passing on my knowledge in order to improve individuals photography. I will also show you some slideshows, touching on the various different skills needed for wildlife photography, use of light, what to look out for, fieldcraft and lots more.

Tea and Coffee will be provided during the day and I’ll answer any questions in regard to wildlife photography that you may have in order to improve or move along your own existing skill level. I demonstrate to everyone that attends my one to ones and workshops what works and cut through all the ‘minefield’ of what’s best and what should I use, which mode etc that can drag people down.

I will replace all of that with a usable workflow that works on the ground, the same as I use, with no secrets, no hidden settings. Once clients have seen this I feel it gives them a more relaxed approach to their own work, knowing full well they weren’t really doing a lot wrong in the first place. I am self taught with over 30 years of knowledge of wildlife, which is the real key to wildlife photography.

The second day, unlike the first which will be classroom based will be in the beautiful Peak District, as a wildlife photographer the great outdoors is my office, a place in which I capture the beautiful images I am blessed in seeing. The beauty of photographing wildlife is that it is always changing and evolving, encountering the unexpected. In this environment the photographer must learn to work with these changing environmental conditions and behaviours, and the result cannot always be predicted.

My images represent an event that occurred in the wild,something that I witnessed and recorded with my camera. Learning to get close to wildlife without disturbing the life of the animal is the key to my work and this approach enables me to get close enough to capture the animal’s beauty and behaviour which both feature strongly in my style of photography, showing a wild animal within their natural habitat being the foundation to my work today.

Fieldcraft is the most important tool in a wildlife photographer’s box I believe, because if the animal is not use to human contact, isn’t tame or use to you putting food out, then they will be very difficult to get close to in the absence of hides. Learning fieldcraft skills will improve your photography, as a subject going about its life, free from human contact always makes for the best photographs.

I feel you cannot learn real and true fieldcraft from anything other than a wild animal, in the wild. I have never worked with captive or tame animals as their behaviour is too contrived for me and is as a result of contact with man. I will show you simple and key elements to fieldcraft on the second day where you’ll greatly benefit from the wonderful wildness that is the moors of the Peak District and its wildlife.

Many clients who attend my workshops all go away with a better understanding of photographing wildlife, where it’s not about what you have but how to best use your equipment to obtain those lovely images you see with your eyes. Things change very quickly in the wild and I will give you ideas and a workflow that empowers you to capture and improve your own work. Seeing an image takes time, this skill can be learned by watching your subject and understanding its behaviour.

We will start early to capture the beautiful wildlife as the sun rises against the backdrop of the Peak District which will make for some amazing images. During our day in the Peak District we will be concentrating our efforts on Red Grouse among the autumn/winter landscapes and Mountain Hares, the only place outside of Scotland where there is a healthy population of these mammals.

We will also have the opportunity to see Short Eared Owls and many other birds which stay in this area all year, and don’t migrant like alot of other birds. You will need to provide your own photographic equipment
or alternatively you can hire equipment from Calumet Photographic, Manchester and we will meet in Buxton train station car park. It will be a great day, where you will learn alot more about the ‘wild’ in wildlife photography, capturing images that will be around you, gaining subject awareness which again is key to capturing a wild animal’s character and behaviour.

So if you would like to book onto this wildlife workshop then please click on this link, which will take you to Calumets website. If you would like to hire any camera equipment for the day of which I will help and go through with you on the first day then again just ask at your time of booking. I look forward to seeing you in 2012 and should you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to contact myself or Calumet Photographic Manchester.


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Spring Tides at Norfolk

Filed in Articles, Places Of Interest, Workshops on Jan.24, 2011

The first Spring Tides of 2011 graced the Norfolk coastline this weekend with its customary mix of dramatic weather conditions and amazing ariel displays as thousands of waders, mainly Knot twisting and turning as the incoming sea covers the land forcing them into the air. The effect this gives is amazing, one minute its a wall of dark and then the next a wall of white, twisting, turning like a massive fish out of the water. The Spring Tides only really happen around  3-4 times a month and in some months, like December, there weren’t any at all. When the sea comes in and covers the whole area forcing the birds closer to shore, they gather together for protection and by doing so form stunning shapes and patterns.

I was in Norfolk for the Spring Tides over two days, running One To Ones.  On the first day, Friday, the light in the morning was amazing, beautiful colours with small clouds giving the place that summers morning feel.  As the light came up thousands of birds were flying around, forming vast flocks, twisting and turning, all in perfect harmony with each other, creating a smooth fluid movement, which is breathtaking to watch.  Anyone who witnesses this does so in sheer amazement that something so beautiful happens on our own shorelines during the year. 

Once the sea has consumed all the land the birds fly around in an almost panic state before settling into the pools or pits as they are better known in front of the hides there. These offer them a safe place to roost in, rest and relax until the spring tide starts to retreat, exposing the vast areas of mudflats, where the sea has replenished the whole area with food brought in by the incoming tides.  Its then you get to see their numbers and sheer power, feeling the force as they take off from these pools, the noise is amazing and the sheer power of one of natures most amazing spectacles has to be seen to believed.

The light had faded a little, with the sun coming out one mintue then returning behind the clouds the next.  As we watched with great anticipation as the Knot slept, heads tucked into their wings, sleeping, waiting for the signal to return back to the vast mudflats where they can roost far out to sea. The photograph above shows this behaviour as thousands of Knot all sleep, huddled together forming these vast groups, occasionally the air was filled with them all calling, chattering to each other, moving, others flying in, swelling their numbers. Sometimes the wait is long then next it is short, but when it happens its amazing.  I had a sequence of one to ones with a few people during these days in Norfolk and the second group had never seen this event, which made it even more enjoyable.  So as we all waited, apertures ready, enough shutter speed to freeze this moment, fine tuning everything for that moment they take off, something I have witnessed many times over the years, where each time you see something different, then with no warning, no introduction, they go.

Birds start to take off as the others wait on the ground for their turn to join their group and return to the sea. Peeling off , perfectly timed formations take to the air back to where they belong, the power and force can be felt as you sit in the hides.  With the photograph above I wanted to convey this moment, how some birds wait for their turn while others have already taken off, following each other back to the safely of the sea, a truly amazing site within our wonderful wildlife in this country.

Then with only the last few birds to leave the land, the sky is full, thousands, upon thousands of birds take off, a shiver always goes down my spine upon seeing this, such is the power and beauty of this event.  After which a hot coffee is a must to warm you and reflect on what we  just saw. I then head around the coastline showing the clients the various places I visit, capturing images, going through techniques and helping everyone take better images, where at the same time seeing and learning what amazing wildlife we have around us and how they live their lives.

I also have a few Barn Owl sites I visit and work on.  During the day I show clients this area hoping that they turn up, as many people have never seen one of these amazing birds which are one of my favourite species. Then right on time, they arrive from know where, hunting the ground, they then disappear in a flash giving you a brief insight into how they hunt and go about their lives.

I have been running these great days now for sometime, where each month there are a few dates that this amazing event happens so if you wish to make an enquirey or book, then send me an email here and I will get back to you with dates,spaces etc.  These One To Ones can be run on an individual basis or as a group.  Big thank you to all the nice people I met this weekend, Roise, Martin, Stuart, Marjan.


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Save The Tiger

Filed in Articles on Sep.08, 2010

 

Some very disturbing news in regard to the Bengal Tigers living in India from this weeks article in the  Economic Times, which paints a bad picture of the current issue of the Tiger population in India.  Its no surprise that one of the key issues is human greed where the dollar is the driving force behind this and the many more problems to do with the destruction and persecution of wildlife not just here in India, but all around the globe.  From my own view its really upsetting to see any animal in distress or in danger of becoming extinct, with the prospect that the next generation of children may only ever see some species of wildlife in zoo’s and wildlife parks becoming ever closer. 

Where  these places may become the vital link in keeping the species going in the future, but for me there is no mistaking a wild animal which differ greatly from their counterparts in these captive environments which aren’t the best places for wildlife. Apart from captivity, it is estimated that around the world there are as many as 7,000 Tigers in private ownership, with the USA having the highest count, where the numbers kept as a pet or status symbol far exceed the wild population of Tigers. Which is truly a shameful and shocking situation for the Tiger.

Economic Times,India

It is not a hidden fact that millions of dollars are being poured into the conservation of the striped wonders of India but the situation remains precarious. With fewer than 1400 left in the wild, India is going through its worst tiger crises. Human greed and selfishness has been one of the many cause of the plight of tigers in India and the irony is that as per recent trends, the present crisis has opened up a new dimension to the greed with corporates using the cause as a PR and branding tool hiding behind the garb of conservation.

If human greed and selfishness is one of the prime reasons for the condition of tigers in India today and if greed and selfishness is a character trait that humans understand, it would be worthwhile to save the tiger for our own selfish interest. The role of the tiger in the ecosystem is indeed quite interesting and it goes without saying that the tiger is the perfect indicator of the health of a forest. The tiger protects the forests of our country by maintaining an equilibrium that is important for the survival of its prey (deer, monkeys, boars etc.) and the vegetation.
And since the survival of the forests are crucial for the thousands of rivers, a life source for millions of people in India, that originate and flow through them, it makes the saving of tigers all the more important.
However, the economics of tiger conservation is quite interesting. Let’s consider Corbett as an example. With over 70 private properties in and around the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttrakhand, wildlife tourism has become an ever-flourishing business model generating revenues for property owners, travel agents and some great employment opportunities for locals. The local youth now look up to careers like naturalists, guide cum drivers of safari vehicles as a lot of private resorts are in need of such people.

According to the Tiger Task Force data released in 2005/06, a total of 1.29 million people visited tiger reserves in 2004/05 which approximates to 58456tourist per tiger reserve every year and the number is continuously growing year on year. The nominal gate charges of Rs 25-50 gives revenue in crores to most of the popular national parks.

Corbett alone experienced a tourist inflow of over two lakhs in the last season. With a total ceiling of 600 visitors per day, Corbett can officially have 1.6 lakh tourists during the eight-month season. The numbers invariably overshoot this limit. Tourism is rampant in other popular national parks like Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Ranthambore etc. and the tiger, without doubt, is a magnet that pulls the majority of the lot.
Be it an ordinary weekend walk-in tourist, or a season wildlife researcher or photographer, the tiger is the binding force that draws visitors from across the globe.
As per Aditya Singh, wildlife conservationist and tiger expert from Ranthambore “The tourism zone of the Ranthambhore which has around 20 tigers, contributes over Rs 1 billion, directly and indirectly to the Indian economy, every year. Over 40 per cent of this amount never reaches anyone in Ranthambhore and barely three per cent actually goes to the park,” adds Aditya.

Aditya Singh who I had the pleasure to meet,stay with and work with in my recent visit to Ranthambhore works hard in the local area and nationally to highlight the Tigers issues, with a brilliant background in the field of environment and natural habitat & wildlife protection. My Photo-Tour; Tigers Of India next year is based at his lodge/hotel which he owns and runs,where we will have the best environment to see this amazing animal.  Where I have an acute interest in conservation and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats are such an important part of my life. By staying at and visiting the national park and wildlife regions in this Photo-Tour, we will be actively contributing and supporting a beautiful and locally-owned lodge/hotel, employing local people, local guides and other staff who have grown up in this region. 

With my preference for local naturalists rather than imported guides, being the key to a successful trip. Ensuring employment opportunities to local communities, so important in developing the local areas, the perfect recipe for the survival of the Bengal Tiger. This kind of wildlife tourism supports rural communities in impoverished areas and supports them in their ability to preserve their natural and wildlife heritage for their future generations. This forms the foundation to this tour and a step in the right direction of helping the local population to see a living Tiger can help the local area with jobs,income etc.

There are a couple of projects I have donated some of my 2010 Year Of The Tiger collection to, as returning back from India this year I wanted to help this amazing animal that I’d wanted to see from childhood, so by giving these image in support of the Tiger I hope to do something to help its current plight.

The two projects are 21st Century Tiger-21st Century Tiger is a wild tiger conservation partnership between the Zoological Society of London and Global Tiger Patrol which raises funds for tiger conservation projects in the field.  Established in 1997, it has since become one of the top seven tiger funding agencies globally and has contributed over £1.4 million to over 50 tiger projects in seven countries worldwide.

And Tigers– Over the coming months danki will be working with media, the public, Tiger charities and key political figures, pushing for meaningful action to be taken to save Tigers before its to late.. I have donated two images– Lady Of The Lake,  and Machali Standing Proud with only 100 of these limited editions framed prints available where money goes in both cases to helping wild Tigers.

There are so many animals in danger around the world where I would like to give my time and expertise but sadly there aren’t enough hours in the day. By doing something though I do feel I am doing good with the images I’ve captured,showing others the beauty of the animal, in this case the Tiger,hoping to inspire them to get outdoors and take great photos themselves, in turn helping with all wildlife here and abroad.


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Just Press The Button

Filed in Articles on Jul.01, 2010

I’ve just returned from two wonderful One To One days in Norfolk that a client from Scotland:Bobby had booked with me.I’m always happy when people make the effort in booking onto one of my trips or One To Ones,where in Bobby’s case traveling some distance I took care of everything, the hotel booking,food,packed lunch the lot so no matter how far the client has to travel to attend one of my trips I pull all the stops out,enabling them to ‘Just Press The Button’ and enjoy and capture the chosen wildlife they have asked to photograph and learn more about.

I find the task of meeting a stranger in the early hours of a new day not a problem as I do really like helping people to take better images,where I teach it all from expert fieldcraft,crafted over many years of being at one with nature right through to the camera settings,pressing home all the time that wildlife photography is for everyone,where good images can be obtained with effort and patience.My passion for nature ever present and I show the beauty of whats around us all,where I share my skills and information  from the moment someone attends my trips/One To One days,so when they go home they do so in the knowledge they have learned in parts, the skills,setting,knowledge of nature that I know and use and over time with practise and patience their work will improve as mine has done.

Barn Owl

The key target when I am heading east from my Staffordshire home to Norfolk is the beautiful Barn Owl-‘The Ghost’ as call them as you can be waiting for some time,then from know where this white bird appears,almost like a ghost,perfectly silent in flight,going about its business,quartering the fields on the look out for rodents and small voles,briefly looking up at you with its ‘Disc-Like’ face,giving you a split second look at their beautiful faces.My preference has always been to get into place before the light comes up,using camouflaged clothing,and place yourself in nature, where by watching,listening and observing what is happening around you you can start buildling a picture of whats happening around and over time this for me is the best tool to learn with regard wildlife photography and one I always press home on any workshops/trips I run.

The weather in Norfolk was’nt great,but on the first night we where afforded a beautiful sunset,where I was dreaming the Barn Owl would fly past,but some dreams are just to big and will always remain just that,dreams.The colour from the sunset turned the whole place a red/orange colour,it was just amazing to watch with no wind you could here a pin drop,just the noise of the waves breaking the perfect silence.

Sunset

Bobby managed some great shots and also some wide-angled landscape image,where there is always an image to be had even in the absence of wildlife.The two days went to quick,with only the images on my hard drive now to remind me of my latest trip to Norfolk.I tired to capture the Barn Owl within the farmland habitat in which it share’s its life alongside humans,where there is the close contact between these two and where the Barn Owl seems to be thriving with good numbers of these birds all over Norfolk

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

For me the Barn Owl never stops thrilling me with its presence,it is a really popular bird within the general public, when you catch one flying around on its quest for food it is just amazing to watch this master at work.This year I have witnessed them feeding in pouring rain,something I reported on in an early blog and behaviour I’ve never seen before.With the recent cold spell at the beginning of the year,one of the coldest in over 50 years, the Barn Owl struggled to feed itself and in some areas numbers have been down,but the real damage of this spell of weather won’t be truly known for some time yet.

I have released a Limited Edition Barn Owl image,with only 100 prints available.Where I had observed this male Barn Owl for sometime during our recent cold spell, I watched as he hunted over snow-covered ground. Here he is captured stopping and hovering over prey, just short of where I was laying down on the freezing ground. I could here his wings flapping during the brief time he hovered then moved on. To celebrate that beautiful moment in nature alongside my own love for Barn Owls I have brought out this Print.Where you can buy with or without a frame by clicking here and scroll down

Barn Owl

A lot of my work and prints can be viewed this weekend as I have a display at the Pavilion Gardens,Buxton,Derbyshire.and I’m just making the final adjustments to my stand and choosing the images I will display and sell to the public.Its great to see my work in print as to often its just left on the computer or used at a much reduced Jpeg size,where the detail cannot be truly seen.So if you are in the area this weekend please pop in to say hello and if I can be of any help,or questions on wildlife photography etc than please ask.

CJWP


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Halcyon River Diaries on BBC One.

Filed in Articles, In the Press, Wildlife on May.17, 2010

The first series of Halcyon River diaries started last night and I thoroughly enjoyed the programme,watching Charlie alongside his wife,Philippa introduce us to the beautiful wildlife that live on the river just outside their home.Charlie is concentrating on a one mile stretch for the programme,with the trails and tribulations of many different species of wildlife that live on this lovely stretch of water played out before the cameras and their aim is to try and inspire people about the wildlife that lives all around them and prove that it can be just as interesting as wildlife anywhere else in the world .

There are 3 more brilliant programmes and for all the latest on the series and to see when the other programmes are on click on their Halcyon River Diaries website/blog,with up to date news on this amazing series where I hope it can inspire the future generations into loving nature that’s all around them.

There is a brilliant book that accompanies this BBC programme,of which I was really proud to have been asked by Charlie to provide some of my Watervoles images and some text regarding one of my Dipper sites,with a great link to my website, where people have got in touch and attended my Dipper Of The Dales  and Watervoles Workshops with great success,getting some really nice photographs and lovely views of these two beautiful animals,that are run at several different sites,depending on the time of year within the Derbyshire Peak District.

Below is one of my Watervole images they picked for the book,this Watervole had climbed up the riverbank and started to smell,then eat lthis Dandelion,a really lovely moment for me to have seen and capture as these animals have a real character about them

Watervole

 

I wish Charlie and his family all the best with the new programme,with the second programme being on Sunday 23rd of May then the others the following Sundays.

CJWP

 

 

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