Entries in the ‘Events’

Photographic Talks

Filed in Events on Sep.20, 2010

Over the last few weeks I have been approached by various different people from different organizations who have asked me if I would do some presentational talks.  Upon meeting me my real and genuine passion for the natural world and the origin of this passion comes flowing out, which I feel would form a strong basis to any talks that I may do.  So while displaying my work at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire this weekend during their Arts and Craft event I was asked again by a few people from a couple of different clubs.

Its an idea I have been thinking of for sometime as my beginning into wildlife and photography has a real beginning and story, one I’d like to share and hopefully inspire people with, so that you too can see and benefit from the beauty of nature all around us,  at the same time going out exploring, watching and capturing what you see, to show others of the beauty of wildlife and how it can enrich your life.

My journey to become a wildlife photographer was born out of a love and fascination of the natural world from a young age upon receiving my first wildlife book called Animal World.  This was an 8th birthday present from my mum and started my love and fascination for the natural world.  My representation of this world is my interest for creating a unique and artistic reflection of what I see and my images are simplified visions of this seen through my eyes, with the emphasis on composition, lighting and colour at the very heart of each picture, capturing their beauty, fascination and graceful expression with each image.

From those early days I spent so much time being at one with nature, close to and watching, hidden from view on the off chance that I would see a certain animal. I distanced myself from children’s games and activities instead heading to a nearby stretch of wilderness within the mass housing estate I grew up in. By learning to get close to wildlife without disturbing the life of the animal, almost forgetting the outside world and becoming part of the animal I was getting close to, I began to understand the animal better, gaining many skills by observing their behaviours while at the same time giving the subject complete respect which allowed me a private window into their personal and private lives.

This skill is one of many I use within my own wildlife photography today derived from those early encounters with nature.  This lose yourself to nature 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 through the images I see, then framing them through my camera’s viewfinder.

Where my creative and emotional attachment to nature is at the very heart of each image, creating a unique and artistic refection of my time in the field. It is my intention to use these reflections of the natural world to bring people’s awareness of what beautiful wildlife we have on our doorstep and all around us and the importance of conservation and the need to preserve our national heritage.

I will be presenting 3 talks at the North West Bird Watching Festival on the 21st November at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Martin Mere  here I will be going through tips and advice on wildlife photography and fieldcraft as well as presenting a powerful slideshow of my images showing the beautiful winter wildlife that you can see during our winter months, some are migrants to these shores during this time and others become easier to see.  After each talk you are then welcome to join me around some of the pools at Martin Mere where you can try out some of my tips with guidence.

I have also been invited to help with their Annual Photographic Competition- WWT Photo Competition .  A One To One day with myself will be presented as one of the available prizes for the competition.  I will update you with more details in the coming weeks.  In the meantime if you would like to make a booking with me to do a presentational talk then please contact me for more details.


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Spring Tide At Norfolk

Filed in Events, Photography Tips on Aug.12, 2010

There a few places in the UK where you can experience the sights and sounds of nature any better than the North Norfolk coast during the Spring Tides that start in earnest from this month onwards and for me herald the onset of the Autumn and Winter months,where the seasons change from the Spring/Summer into the Autumn and Winter.

Having just returned for a wonderful One To One day with Mike Breedon from South Yorkshire,where it was his wish to learn more about wildlife photography after contacting me through my website,the skills I use,expert fieldcraft,lens techniques,light,camera settings and so fourth, the venue Mike chose was one of the Spring Tide/Barn Owl days I run.

The weather was amazing throughout the day,with the morning light being one of the best I’ve seen in years of coming to this beautiful place Snettisham is,with its moon-like landscape,vast open spaces,where thousands of birds fly past you,feet away,its just an amazing place to be during these Spring Tides they are now beginning to happen on this beautiful stretch of the North Norfolk coastline.

During a Spring Tide most if not all of the estuary is consumed by the sea and submerged underwater.Out on the mud and sand flats you’ll see thousands of wading birds feeding at low tide,as the tides rises,the mud and sand flats disappear underwater and the birds are suddenly forced to move closer into shore by the incoming sea.They then take off,and fly in vast and awesome flocks towards you on the beech at Snettisham,a place that provides a safe refuge in which to rest until the falling tide allows them back onto the tidal flats.

Some of the birds from Geese,Redshanks,Oystercatchers and Grey Plovers are wonderful to watch in flight as the fly overhead escaping the oncoming tide,but for sheer size and show the smaller waders,such as Dunlin,Knots really steel the show for me.They perform for the gathering public that make the early start to witness one of natures most amazing spectacles.These smaller waders gather in great ,dense packs and lines,almost like bee swarms,rising,falling,twisting and turning all in perfect,rhythmic sweeps and stalls,before pouring into the roost site like falling hailstones.

Once they have landed they seem like they are not quite happy,un-decided its safe from birds of prey that circle the sky on the lookout for an easy breakfast.So up they come and do it all again,twisting and turning in the sky,until, once again they land almost in the same or close to where they were in the first place.When the birds are in the sky they are almost as one,one minute dark,the next silvery white,turning their backs to you,then their pale undersides in a show of coordination that’s second to none.I have never seen two birds make contact,making this site a truly magical event to witness in nature.

I have a few more dates free between now and December so should you wish to book or just found out a little more on these dates,my One To Ones,Workshops and how I run them then please send me an email here or call me on the number provided

Mike came away from the day with some great best practises I feel,where I was able to help him to understand the concept of capturing wild animals within their natural environments,in turn showing the general public where these birds,animals live,feed and breed and how they conduct their lives within the habitats around us.

Mike sent me his thoughts on the day-

Looking at my own images compared to other professional and amateur wildlife photographers I thought I needed a push to get to the next stage in order to improve in all areas of photography, field craft, and composition and general wildlife photography skills. I decided the best way would be to go to a total stranger who would hopefully recognise my faults and shortfalls and then not be afraid to show me where I was going wrong. I was fortunate to find Craig’s website which was easy to follow, looked clean, tidy and well organised and very professional as well as indicating that the type of One to One day he was offering matched all my requirements. I was not disappointed, I found Craig to match his website, easy to get on with, very informative, very professional and passionate about all aspects of wild life in its own environment, willing to offer advice and teach field craft skills in such a manner that made it all fit together to make the day good value for money. Professionalism was evident right the way through the long day even down to the standard of the packed lunch, a great day Craig and one which completely fit my requirements. Now all I have to do is try to put all that information and the practices into action. Now then, what did Craig say about composition.
Regards
,Mike Breedon, South Yorkshire

The importance of simple composition,giving the images room to ‘Breath’ and the most important tool in the box of being a wildlife photographer, which is fieldcraft,approaching subjects without causing them distress,using the cover available to break up your shape and silhouette where the wildlife will see you before you know it.

Using simply techniques to establish the wind direction,reading tracks,helping you to see whats around you and many more things I know and teach on these day(s) all major factors in getting close to wild animals.Which I have mastered in over 30 years of love and passion for wildlife alongside my expert fieldcraft skills from my military background,giving the client the very best in wildlife photography on all the events I run.

All my One To Ones,Photo-Tours,Workshops are run along the same lines,with my great passion for nature being one of the key elements in showing and teaching people how to have a contact with nature,which is all around them,by watching,listening,hearing nature,which in turns builds a picture of whats happening around you at that time.The camera skills I show are the same ones that I use and that have improved my own wildlife photography.

I do this in many ways,one of which is to show the client(s) how I use my own camera,illustrating the processes at first hand,giving an insite into which and what settings I use,showing techniques in camera,composing the image in different ways and showing the clients the ideas I have etc.I feel this is a very powerful learning tool for people that attend my workshops.

I hope that has helped you all to see how passionate I am about everything within nature, and what nature means to me,any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me.A big thank you to all those of you that have emailed me wishing me luck in my first Birdfair next week.Those of you that are going please drop by Marquee 6 to say hello to my wife and I,where you will see a selection of some of my work in framed,mounted or canvas format for sale,alongside many other iteams.

Should you wish to ask for any advice on wildlife photography etc then  drop by and ask I’ll be more than happy to help you.Also please give as much money as you can in their Auction this year as this helps projects,Birdlife all around the world.I have a limited Edition Framed Tiger print I have given to help,and its lot number 83 so please bid as much as you can to help the great cause’s Birdfair help each year Many thanks.


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Art And Craft Fair

Filed in Events on Jun.28, 2010

I will be displaying my work at this weekends Art And Design event at the beautiful Pavilion Gardens,Buxton,Derbyshire-3rd,4th July.Fine art prints,canvases,my Limited EditionTiger Prints, and much more will be on display,also four-coming trips,news and advice.There are more events throughout the summer planned which included this years Birdfair in August

The event showcasts the very best in: Art,Furniture,Ceramics,Silverware,Glassware,Jewellery,Textiles,Photography and so many other design led products from across the region.Its set in the Victorian extravaganza of cast iron glass,which offers newly refurbished facilities including cafes,coffee bar,gift boutique,and art gallery set in this historic listed building,all set in wonderful gardening.I will be on hand to answer any questions in regard to wildlife photography as I operate an ‘Open’ door policy where I enjoy helping and showing people how to take better images of nature with my simply approach and techniques I employ and use myself.So if you are about in the area on Saturday or Sunday please pop in and say hello.

Avocet At Dawn

Barn Owl Hunting At Dawn

In the mean time I have just returned from Norfolk working on some of my projects there and tomorrow I am setting off again for two days where a client has booked two days with me,so really looking forward to that as at present my camera is never away I am that busy.Looking forward to this weekend in Buxton and meeting those that can make it,in the meantime good luck with your photography.

CJWP


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Masai Mara Migration Photo-Tour

Filed in Events, Places Of Interest on Jun.13, 2010

I have been asked by Paul McDougall, Directer Of  Wild Connections to run this years August trip to Kenya, for the Breathtaking spectacular that is the ‘Masai Mara Migration’ which is so immense it is called the Great Migration.The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving an immensity of herbivores some 1,300,000 wildebeests, 360,000 Thomson’s gazelles, and 191,000 zebras. These numerous migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by a block of hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena,which has to be one of the most spectacular events in the natural world.

Zerbra

From August 9th until the 16th August you have a chance to witness and photography this amazing event alongside myself as I am running a 8 day Photo-Tour,with7 days on the ground,with two private safari’s each day run by Pauls’ expert guides he employs.The workshop will be live next week on my Workshops page, and will have the detailed schedule for what will be a trip of a life time that I can promise you!!

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For a little background to Pauls Company and what got him into these amazing trips he wrote these words;

“Wild Connection Safaris was formed in 2005. The idea came from sharing a safari with Isaac Kinyanjui in 2004.We both shared the same passion for Wildlife and Conservation and wanted to form a different type of Safari Business. We had an idea that we didn’t want people to just come and see the amazing Wildlife in Kenya, we wanted to educate people and wanted them to share in the experience of a safari. We also wanted them to go away and share information with other people not just the photographs that they had taken.

We try not to take anymore than 6 clients in a vehicle so that everyone gets a window seat. We also like to specialize in small group and photographic safaris.Anybody who has been on a safari with us always notices the unique individual experience that we try to offer. Isaac is a fantastic teacher and like a walking encyclopedia. Our other guides and drivers also share our same passionate values in educating and informing.We offer all sorts of tours to many different locations. We prefer to Tailor-make safari’s to suit the individual clients needs and requirements, whether this be a particular budget or a particular itinerary.We usually run 2 photographic safaris a year. These usually fall in the months of January and August.

 On these safaris we take photographers of all abilities and either get them in the best places to capture their desired images or provide them with handy hints and tips to improve their images.We also offer many other services. Car hire, flights, city tours to name a few. We have been taking clients to Tanzania since the company formed but have just started to take people to Uganda and Rwanda. The first of these tours in June 2008 was a huge success.For more information please take a look at www.wildconnectiontours.co.uk, or contact me directly.”

I cannot wait and we have spaces available for this amazing trip so what ever your background in Wildlife photography it doesn’t matter as I will teach and show you all my skills I have mastered over my time in regard to Wildlife Photography, pass on my amazing passion for Wildlife,with my brilliant and proven fieldcraft skills,and pass on my love for the natural world as so many have witnessed who have attended my workshops,trips,tours, here are just a few of the many I have received from very happy clients in my Testimonials .All the key ingredients for an amazing trip, so if you’d like more information on this trip then please drop me a line,or wait until the Photo-Tour comes out late next week in my Workshops page, I cannot wait for this trip,just amazing wildlife there!!

I hope to see you their,all the best. Craig

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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Reservoir Birds-Article

Filed in Events, In the Press on Feb.23, 2010

In this months Birdwatching Magazine my images from a great day I’d previously mentioned on my blog called ‘Birdwatching For Beginner’s Walk’  have now been printed in the March issue of the magazine,I have printed the pages below aptly named‘Reservoir Birds’  I accompanied Matt Merritt/Features Editor as we visited Carsington Water in Derbyshire for this event which has been running now for 4 years on the first sunday morning of the month and run by volunteer ranger David Bennett,whose knowledge of the wildlife at this place is breathtaking.Each month enthusiastic groups of birdwatchers meet and are shown around this beautful setting hoping to learn more about birdwatching/birds while walking around Carsington Water, one of the largest reservoirs in the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had perfect viewing conditions as the sun shined,with a thick blanket of snow on the ground adding to a real winter feel to the day.A good number of people turned up and I captured them using almost the same composition as I do when photographing wildlife,and I must say is a lot easier!.A good day was had by all,great to help beginners to see the beauty of birds and other wildlife around this mighty impressive site,so for the full story pick up a copy of the March issue.These walks run on the first Sunday of every month,they also do more advanced walks so for further information,or to book on the free Carsington Water Walk,call 01629 540696


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National Nestbox Week 14th -21st February 2010

Filed in Advice On Wildlife, Events on Feb.05, 2010

NNBW

National Nest Box week organised by The British Trust for Ornithology takes place this year from the 14th to 21stFebruary. Since its launch in 1998 over five million nest boxes have been made and hung in gardens and woodland areas across the UK.In an attempt to help birds ranging from the Blue Tit right up to Barn Owls to find somewhere else to nest and raise their young in the absence of more natural nest sites in our ever diminishing countryside.Early spring is the best time to site your nestbox,giving the birds a chance to see and get use to the box,if they don’t use your nestbox to nest in then don’t be saddened as there is a very high chance they will use the box as a roost site during the winter months.

bto

There will be events staged all around the UK by the BTO during that week and it’s a great way to get youngsters involved with nature.Click here for the BTO home page to see whats happening in your local area.Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden.

Where you put your box is every bit as important as what it looks like.  The highest priority when siting a nest box must be to provide a safe and comfortable environment in which birds can nest successfully.Ensure your nest box is sheltered from prevailing wind, rain and strong sunlight,The front of the nest box should be angled vertically or slightly downwards to prevent rain from entering the nest box.And the most important point is to ensure that it is not easily accessible to predators (cats and squirrels) which can more difficult than you’d think.Ideally keeping the opportunities for these predators to get close to the boxes to a minimal.

For a free information pack please click here and fill in your details.If you’d like to purchase a nestbox then click here.Many thanks.

Robin


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Havoc At High Tide

Filed in Articles, Events on Feb.02, 2010

On the promise of a high tide of 10m+ yesterday I visited ‘Parkgate’ on the Dee Estuary,Wirral,a 100 kilometre stretch of salt marshland.Little did I know how different this day would be to the many other hide tides I’ve attended over the years that didn’t really measure up to their name.The day started beautifully,with the sun shining bright and that crisp feel to the air.I had decided to hide within the reedbeds,choosing the highest point as not to be flooded out with the promised high tide.This beautiful female Stonechat came right up to me in her pursuit to see what I was hiding away in her territory,she stayed for a very brief second where I managed to capture a few portraits of her in the morning light as she perched on top of the reeds.

Female Stonechat

The beautiful sunshine was soon replaced with dark,angry looking clouds as you could see this weather front heading in shore alongside the predicted high tide around lunchtime.Very slowly at first the tide started coming in,over the years I’ve attended these promised high tides I ‘ve always been disappointed at how little they come in,while I’ve waited to photograph the many raptors that live and hunt over these marshes.With the wind picking up and the distant activity of the flocks of waders,ducks taking to the air as the encroaching tide covered their usual roosting spots,this felt different and indicated this day may measure up to its title.

Incoming Tide

As the water breaks over the edges of the marsh,flooding the small gullies it brings the wildlife closer to you,the birds start to take flight to avoid the oncoming tide,and waiting predators,small mammals retreat to higher ground escaping the high tide briefly as they’ll be forced to move again later on.With all this wildlife moving it attracts  predators in vast numbers, ie Gulls,Crows,Rooks,Kestrels,Peregrine Falcons ,Short-eared Owls,and many more all waiting for mother nature to do their work for them in locating prey,giving away their positions as they flee the water,then swoop down for the easy pickings,as they are to preoccupied in survival, a cruel trick of nature for the small mammals you never normally see.A Short-eared Owl waits for movement as the tide is seen covering the land below.

.Waiting SEO

Ground predators get involved in this bounty to,this Fox had gone out before the tide had reached it’s peak to feast on one of the easiest meals he’ll have during the year.Unfortunately he became cut off from the mainland,preoccupied in feeding.I managed to capture a few images of this moment,also with a short film showing him wet, shivering and freezing with one of the main gullies of water being fed by the tidal currents in front of him.Forcing him to stay put rather than chance swimming for the shore and being swept away in the very strong currents

Fox

 

He did however escape later on as the tide went out and the sun came out the image below shows him fleeing,hopefully having learnt his lesson.

Fox

As the available land diminishes beneath the sea water, the mass of tiny,furry creatures with their disheveled coats cling onto the last high ground in an attempt of steer desperation as the tide reaches its height,the last remains of vegetation are covered with the lucky ones who’ve made it to the walls of the reserve,the less unfortunate ones have either drown or been pick off by the predators.Below are a few images I took as the rodents-Field Vole,Common Shrew, made their way to the shoreline where I was standing,the brick wall of the reserve can be seen in some.I did help to fish out a few with a make shift pole made out of reed as some looked up at me I was concerned I’d give them a heart attack, but it was better than seeing them drown.

Shrew

Shrew

Field Vole

Field Vole

Field Vole

Field Vole

These where the unlucky ones below,mother nature I know but on such a large scale as this day it shocked me to the core.

Crow

Crow With Prey

I went to Parkgate yesterday with a clear mission to photograph Short-eared Owls and other raptors feeding on this plentiful bounty which hide tide gives them a few times a year,what I came away with was a real story of survival and suffering on one hand ,on the other the power of nature and the food chain stained by the days events for me.The hide tides attracts alot people,yesterday being no exception of which most where unaware of this suffering around/below them as they ticked of the number of birds they’d seen,with the ever present thrust of seeing new species at the forefront of the minds.I needless to say went home really saddened by what I had seen during the day and I have tried to convey that here with the images I took on the day, almost like a reporter capturing someone in their final hours.It was the first time in 3 years I had seen a tide so high, helped along by the wind reach the shoreline in this manner,with the winners and losers played out before my very eyes,to watch animals forced into this ‘Do or Die’ sacrifice was hard for me to stomach as a wildlife photographer where the welfare of nature becomes before anything.


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