Entries in the ‘Articles’

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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Back In Business

Filed in Articles, Events on Apr.22, 2010

Having the skies re-opened has enabled me to re-book my plane ticket and my trip to India is back on if not a little revised.I will be flying to India with British Airways who have been brilliant with their customer service,help.I have a 9 hour flight arriving in Delhi at 11.30pm and instead of staying over in Delhi and catching the train in the morning I will be picked up and driven through the night to reach Ranthambhore in the morning-What an adventure!.

I would like to thank all of you that have sent me lovely,supportive emails as at the beginning of the week this journey looked doubtful with 3 months of planning up in smoke alongside the Volcanic dust,but fortune favours the brave and here I am on the fringe of a real adventure,seeing India as the locals do.I have seven days of Safaris planned and thank you to Aditya Singh for all you have done in re-booking these safaris as my original ones had to be canceled.With my dogeared determination I have never given up all week,countless phone calls to BA always hoping to get my chance to fly to India to see these beautiful Bengal Tigers.Aditya has got me the best guide,I have loads of Compact Flashes/Hard Drive space and really looking forward now to ‘cracking on’ with the trip.I will update my blog with the Raw India entries once I am back ,thank you all again.

April 2010. At last a chink of light amongst the gloom of tiger conservation in India. Reports from various reserves around India indicate that at least 112 tiger cubs have been born recently, reinforcing the theory that the tiger will breed well and multiply if just left alone for a while.

CJWP


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Raw India

Filed in Articles, Wildlife on Apr.13, 2010

On February 14, 2010, the Chinese lunar calendar moved into the Year of the Tiger,an animal that has captivated me with its beauty from the moment I received my first wildlife book as an 8 year old,with the face of a roaring Tiger on the front cover-I was hooked.This book started my love and interest for wildlife and more so the Tiger,as I’d trace around the Tiger,copying it on all my school books.The book is an integral part of my younger years and forms one of the many images on my ‘Profile’ .So with this year being the year of the Tiger it was a wish of mine to visit India and hopefully photograph these beautiful creatures in the wild,so at the beginning of the year I contacted my friend and fellow wildlife photographer Ganesh H Shankar who lives in India, asking could he help in this matter.

Ganesh has a brilliant ‘Compositinal’ eye with stunning vision,he strives very hard in the field to create a unique and artistic composition, not bound by the rules of conventional composition.We met on ‘Flickr’ some two years ago and have become friends over the years,where we share the same vision in our photographs we take.Below are a few images Ganesh has taken,showing his unique style of wildlife photography

Ganesh

Ganesh wrote a few words  “Close usual portraits of subjects in nature stopped impressing me long back and found myself a comfort zone in portraying my subjects small in the frame yet drawing enough visual attention. I didn’t know any nature photographer who liked her subject small in the frame till I discovered Craig through a nature photo forum Yes, Craig and me seem to share some common
interests when it comes to composition and treatment of light in our images. Very happy to know Craig is visiting India to to see tiger through his lens.
Looking forward to see his wonderful creations in the new future !”
Ganesh April 2010

His help and advice on my four coming trip to India has been second to none.I am flying from London to Delhi then a 5 hour train journey to Sawai Madhopur,a district of the North Indian state of Rajasthan and staying with his good friend Aditya ‘Dicky’ Singh who owns and runs a small lodge on the outskirts of the Ranthambhore tiger reserve in India.Aditya’s help and advice has also been great and it promises to be a trip I will never forget whether I see a Tiger or not.The title ‘Raw India’ will be the name I’m giving to the blog entries I’ll make covering the trip,as I am doing it alone,going to heart of India in a ‘Raw’ manner,hoping to seeing parts of India far removed from the tourists eye.

My wish is to capture some beautiful Tigers images and help the profile of this beautiful creature,as the plight of wild tigers is suffering greatly where three subspecies having already been driven to extinction in the past century alone and experts estimate there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild.Tigers are being persecuted across their range – poisoned, trapped, snared, shot and squeezed out of their homes,there is hope for them in this Year of the Tiger,as there has never been such a committed, ambitious, high-level commitment from governments to double wild tiger numbers alongside top wildlife experts,photographers all helping in their respective ways by highlighting the Tigers case both domestically and worldwide.

The WWF are doing brilliant work in raising the plight and profile of the Tiger.They are securing habitats with their partners,working with local communities trying to give sustainable alternatives to logging,also they are creating forest ‘corridors’ to allow Tigers to roam and breed.The programmes are working and have helped the Amur Tigers in Russian come back from a population of around 40 to its present day total of 500.The WWF with your help can save the Tiger by just giving what you can, also you can Adopt a Tiger for as little as £3 pounds a month,with all the money going towards helping the world in which Tigers live and roam

21st Century Tiger  do a great job in Giving wild tigers a future whilst raising funds for wild tiger conservation since 1997 with 100% of funds raised going directly to wild tiger projects. Tiger Awareness founded by Phil Davis from Leicestershire do a brilliant job also,a voluntary non-profit making charity, giving free talks to schools, the public, and other organisations with all donations and funds raised going towards tiger projects.I spoke to Phil recently and I’m hoping to help him with this charity anyway I can in the future when I return from my trip as I feel we can all do a little to save this stunning animal from disappearing from the wild,with only captive ones to remind us of  the beauty and what they looked like,not a choice in my book as its never to late to do something to save these beautiful animals

I will update my blog on how I got on India with my ‘Raw India Dairies’ once I have come back.

CJWP

 


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Wales

Filed in Articles, Places Of Interest, Wildlife on Apr.10, 2010

I have just spent the last 3-4 days in Mid-Wales photographing some of the beautiful wildlife this part of the UK has to offer.I was invited by my friend Ken along with a number of fellow wildlife photographers who have a annual week in this breathtakingly beautiful place.First on my wish list was a trip to Gigrin Farm to photograph the amazing population of Red Kites that live and feed here.

Red Kite

Red Kite

The Gigrin is a family run upland sheep farm of approximately 200 acres, owned and farmed by Chris Powell, and Mrs Lena Powell.The land is 700 feet rising to 1200 above sea level giving wonderful views of the Wye and Elan valleys in mid-Wales.Gigrin became the Official Red Kite Feeding Station in the winter 1992/93 following a request from the RSPB who had witnessed the late Mr Powell feeding the kites.Red kites being hungry when they awake, will hunt for food during the morning and early afternoon, so Gigrin is a top up or emergency ration for them and is not intended to replace their wild food source.

On the day we were there the weather was a mixture of  overcast and cloud with the odd ray of light piercing the cloud cover,this added a great atmosphere to the place and shows what ever the weather throws at you there will always be a photograph you can obtain from the day.Being my first visit there I wanted to try and capture a few different images from the normal portrait of this beautiful bird that at close quarters is massive.With the light and overcast conditions I was able to create some images from Gigrin that were a little different,encapsulating my trademark of strong composition,with the poor,overcast conditons turned around to help and aid my images.

Red Kite

Red Kites

While photographing the Red Kites this ‘Leucistic’ Kite turned up.It has started to visit the feeding station more and more after being born in 2003 and until recently had’nt been seen for some time I was told by the owners of Gigrin.Leucistic means that the colouration is mainly pure white and not the usual red or black of the normal kites and not to be confused with an ‘Albino’ as these lack colouring and have pink eyes unlike the yellow/blue eyes of this beautiful Leucistic Kite.

White Kite

'Leucistic' Kite

I also tryed out a few ‘Arty’ shots using a slow shutter speed which results in capturing the sense of movement within an image,giving the photo great impact like the two I have included below with the first one capturing the Red kites trademark of ‘Diving’ for the food which is placed out for them by Chris.There is also a small in the frame image I have converted over to ‘Black+White’ which has brought out the cloud patterns on the day.They have done a wonderful job at Gigrin over the years and its well worth visiting.

Diving Red Kite

Red Kite

B+W Red Kite

During my stay in Wales we all covered a vast distance,traveling to different location,from the Osprey Project at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve,three miles south of Machynlleth.We were able to see the Osprey on the CCTV screen but a little to far for photography.We headed for the coast,where I photographed the returning Waders,I managed to capture this Oystercatcher feeding away,turning over Shell’s and breaking open mussels.

Oystercatcher

Wales really has so much to offer in the way of different habitats,and various wildlife,from coastal to reedbed/marshland we covered it all,with the weather being very kind,the odd night frost thrown in just for good measure as I was camping.I had brought the essentials through;Tea Bags,Bacon,Fresh Bread and HP sauce all so important when you are camping as a warm drink and food are the best tonic,in my case a bacon sandwich.

The trip was great and thanks to Ken for inviting me,thanks also Brian,Tom,Phil,and on the last day before my drive back home to Staffordshire I had my best shots of the stunning Willow Warbler within this habitat of ReedBeds,with the sun behind me setting it was a real treat to end a great trip.

Reed Warbler

CJWP


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