Archive for 2010

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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Kingfisher

Filed in Wildlife on Aug.28, 2010

With its beautiful bright colours of greenish blue, bright blue, orange with a dash of red thrown in, small and plump body, tiny tail, perching motionless on the lookout for fish, the Kingfisher is just so beautiful, and for me the bird has to be the most colourful and  stunningly beautiful looking bird with have within our shores.  A bird that would not look out of place in the rain forest of South American such is their beauty.  Despite this amazing display of colours the bird can be very difficult to see or pick out when perched motionless in the shadow on a waterside branch.

A rather shy and restless bird the Kingfisher is one bird I have spent quite a bit of my time on over the last few years, trying to get near and hopefully photograph but most if not all my attempts have failed due to various disturbance from dog walkers, children playing etc, in which to many chances have fallen by the wayside upon me having sited a place and began watching these amazing birds.  I was hopefully trying to build a picture of where they fish and spend their time etc.  But over the last month nearly now I have been working on a site which is situated on a private stretch of the river Trent, not far from my Staffordshire home, where a pair of Kingfishers live in complete peace from the hustle and bustle of modern Britain. 

So over the last 3-4 weeks I have spent most if not all my free time hidden from view in my hide, watching them from the riverbank,where they fish,fly to,roost,perch etc hoping to encourage them to use a couple of perches I had put into this area.  At first all they did was fly past,up and down the river,giving me some lovely examples of their behaviour, where they are chasing the young away at present that they have successfully reared this year.  My first indicator they were around was their short,sharp whistled ‘zil’ which pieced through the contestant noise you get from a fast flowing river.

At first they used their own perches to fish from,sometimes using the brickwork from an old bridge that had fallen into this part of the river making for a very usually setting for this pair of Kingfishers to fish,clean from.As the weeks passed they started to land on my perches for a split second at first,almost testing to see if they where real, pausing for a second and looking straight ahead into my hide then flying off, each time staying just that bit longer.  I never moved my camera or lens during these first stages of building trust as I let them relax, feel comfortable about this strange camouflaged hide that had just turned up.

I have always loved to watch and capture behaviour in wildlife, its the best form of knowledge you can gain from the subject while watching them in their natural environment, learning so much first hand and allowing you a window into their very private and personnel lives, something that as a wildlife photographer I feel is a real privilege and a great honour to see.  This alongside capturing wild animals in their natural habitats are two major factors in my style of wildlife photography, where I always try to give the subject space to breath, illustrating through my photographs where and how they conduct their lives, then by showing people that may never get the chance to see this behaviour whats around you and the beauty that is the natural world.

The background was the dark bridge and tree line and the light was nearly almost on the perches most of the day, all I had to do now is wait with the occasional head roll where I dropped off for a split second having entered the hide in the dark and leaving in the dark with the onset of the darker days now.

The birds came and I was amazed at the colours and beauty of these birds, I particularly liked their little orange, slipper-like feet, which are some of the smallest feet I have seen in the bird world. They’d land and stayed still for sometime before moving, their eyesight is amazing seeing fish below them, diving and returning to the perch in a flash, I have been amazed by these birds I have been after for nearly two years now and they didn’t disappoint not at all.

I hope to be able to carry on photographing these Kingfishers for as long as I can and hopefully they’ll stay here through the winter months but they are really susceptible to prolonged freezing and Arctic-type winters,which have in the past decimated the population here in the UK. Fortunately, the Kingfisher has a high reproductive rate and a pair may rear three broods in a single season. As a result, numbers are soon replenished which has keep the numbers up during our really cold spell at the beginning of the year.  Where many Kingfishers escaped the cold and frozen lakes,rivers and went to the coastal areas of the UK to feed and live, sitting out the frozen landscape the kept Britain freezing for many months.

Since I have come back from the Birdfair I have’nt stopped, a Dipper One To One, thank you to Steve Wood,  and working on the Kingfisher time has gone so quickly.  I’ll had a lot of interest in my workshops I run so a big thank you to everyone who has enquired and booked where my Texel trip is now full and my Winter Waders also. There is places left on Magic Of Mull, Tigers Of India, Amazing Africa, Spring Waders for next year still and I have updated my other Workshops with dates until next summer. With the Dippers and Puffins One day workshops still being really popular.

I have also updated my One To Ones with the seasons now changing from Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter.  I have a great new site for Mountain Hares in the Peak District, Rutting Red and Fallow Deer sites in Cheshire,Leicestershire.  My High Tide/Barn Owls days in Norfolk are very popular and I have dates each month now until next March.  Whooper Swans on the North-West coast a project I worked on last year and so much fun photographing our most handsome and beautiful Winter visitor, so much going on with the beautiful colours of the Autumn to.I also have some other amazing trips that I am planning and going through at the moment so more news on these  different photo-tours in the future

I have another display at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton next weekend also so if you are in the area on Saturday, Sunday 4th,5th September then please pop in to say hello, these are great shows in a lovely settings, where I will have on show a selection of my work in various different formats and gift vouchers making the perfect present with Christmas approaching fast, these professionally printed gift vouchers can be exchanged for any item on my Website and they come with a black envelope, signed by myself and are valued for 6 months and are posted out to you perfect for that special occasion.

It’s a great time of year now with the changing seasons,changing colours just starting to happen, our Spring,Summer wildlife leaving for warmer climates as we welcome our Winter vistors as they spend their winters in the Uk.  Lots happening so don’t be put off with the darker mornings and colder weather,  make the time and go outdoors to capture the amazing wildlife and you will be greatly rewarded with the beauty of nature we have and that changes throughout the different seasons making for some breathtaking photography.I wish you all the best and should you want any information on the topics raised here or general questions regarding Wildlife Photography then please send me an email on my contact page all the best.


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Birdfair 2010

Filed in Exhibitions, Workshops on Aug.23, 2010

I have just returned from three wonderful days at this years Birdfair.  It was my first time as an exhibitor at the Birdfair after many, many years going as a visitor.  We both really enjoyed the three days and found the organisation of the event brilliant and very professional, so full credit to the staff and volunteers.  My stand was set up in the same way as my other exhibitions at Buxton, Derbyshire, with the idea of creating a gallery-style format giving people space to walk around and the oppotunity to ask anything they wished about my images.

As every image I take has a name and meaning to why I took it, I like to explain the reasons, style and what I was trying to achieve in the image.  Where its so important in my style of wildlife photography to capture the wild animal, within their natural environment and showing how they live, breed and go about their lives, their behaviours and so on.

The stand and my images went down really well I feel.  I managed to sell some of my Limited Edition Tiger images, which was great, with the cheque having been sent this morning to 21st Century Tiger Charity where I am trying to help in anyway I can towards the survival of the wild Tiger throughout the world, so thank you on behalf of the Tiger for the sales.

I met so many very nice people and made some many good contacts, so a big thank you to all those that came to see me.  There were many people from the various different forums I am on, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter etc, where it was great to put a face to the name.  I have a few ideas I will be working on alongside my current ventures.  I will be field testing a range of brilliant products and equipment from Stealth Wildlife after meeting up and getting on great with their owner Neill.

I will be trying to give him a different customer perspective on an already great range of products from a ex-sniper’s, fieldcraft experts point of view eg-shape, shine, silhouette, toughness, durability, camouflage pattern etc so I’m really looking forward to promoting and adding value to Neill’s products.  The first one will be very soon on his Bag Hide I will be using this on a Kingfisher project that I have been working on from scratch on the river Trent for the past three weeks.  This part of the river runs through the beautiful Trentham Estate, a place I’ve known from my childhood.

With the help of Jack the head warden from the Deer Study Resource Centre who has shown me around this brilliant estate.  I will be running Wildlife One-day Workshops, set in these amazing grounds, where they have a healthy population of Fallow deer, Badger, Fox and Kingfishers that have never been photographed before due to the privateness of this beautiful area.

We are just finalising this great event where I will show and teach everything I use to produce the images, I get from the wild, with the key focus on fieldcraft, tracking skills,approaching your subject with minimal disturbance,wind direction, all designed for you to read whats happening around you and help you to build a picture of the wildlife in the area.  Pool these skills together with the simply composition and camera skills, I will show and teach and you all the ingredients for a great day and in turn improving your wildlife photography skills and competancies throughout these one day workshops.

The day will include hot or cold lunch, drinks and refreshments and will last all day.  More details will follow and I will keep you updated.  Should you want more details in the mean time then please send me an email here or contact Jack at the Deer Study & Resource Center.  With the start of the Rutting season soon these days will be up and running to coincide with this amazing time, capturing the stunning autumn colours of this beautiful countryside.

Just to say thanks again folks to those I met, many thanks for your trade and bookings on my One To Ones/Workshops and I look forward to meeting you all in the future, many thanks.


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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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Year Of The Tiger 2010

Filed in Charities, Exhibitions on Jul.30, 2010

Giving something back to nature is something that is very high on my agenda.Being a Wildlife Photographer,with a great passion for wildlife you have a duty to capture the beauty of the animal I feel to show others and this is the foundation to my work. I am pleased to say I am working with dakini Year Of The Tiger 2010 campaign.

dakini Books is an innovative London-based media company with a reputation based on creativity, originality and excellence. dakini’s not-for-profit company is now launching a major international campaign to help save the tiger from extinction. You can donate now to support the campaign here or join the campaign’s facebook group; Tigers

There will be two images from my Year Of The Tiger 2010 collection that will be exclusively sold by dakini- Year Of The Tiger 2010 campaign here is dakini .More details soon as their website is almost ready and their launch in London is soon where I will be attending with the two images I have donated to this project where 50% the profit from each sale goes to helping Tigers. I will keep you updated on their website,the launch and timing.I have been in talks with Lindsey for the last 8 days and things are almost ready fingers crossed.

The two images are Lady Of The Lake-A female Tigress that wonders around the different zones in Ranthambore,with no clear territory of her own as of yet,so is mostly seen around one of the beautiful lakes in Ranthambore hence her name.

The second image is called Machali Standing Proud- Its a photo of the Queen of Ranthambore,she is now 13 and mother to many of the cubs born there over the years.I spent 4 days looking for her with my guide Salim,hoping to see this famous Tigress and on the last day I spent nearly 30 minutes with her as she drink,washed and relaxed in an almost dry waterhole.This image is of her standing up from this riverbed.So there are the two images with only 100 copies.

dakini are bringing out an amazing book called Tigers,where you can pre-order at copy on the site where the money raised from this book and other projects,images etc will go towards helping the Tigers –Blog .So I’ll keep you posted on the details in the mean time visit their different sites on Twitter, Facebook  And see if you can donate or help in anyway th helping this campaign then that would be great.I will update my blog letting you know when the launch in central London of the book,images etc is.I was asked to give a few words on what wildlife photography meant to me,the Tigers etc and below is hopefully a good account of how,where my amazing passion for wildlife started and the Tigers showing where my strong foundation and geniue love for nature and photography began.

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. The front cover had a roaring Tiger picture which had such a powerful effect on me as a youngster, where I made this my personal dream to see this amazingly beautiful animal one day.

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 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. Learning to get close without disturbing the animal almost forgetting the outside world and becoming part of the animal I was getting close to or watching. By doing this I could understand the animal better and this is still one of the main skills I use within wildlife photography today, one which in the absence of any real training in photography has enabled me to get close enough to capture the animals beauty with the images I frame through my view finder, where my creative and emotional attachment to nature is at the very heart of each photo, 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.

This year my dream of seeing a wild Tiger was realised and the whole experience was one of the most beautiful times I have had in my 30 years of being at one with nature.

 In the famous ‘Jungle Book’ Rudyard Kipling acknowledged the undisputed status of the mighty Bengal Tiger by introducing Shere Khan as the King of the Beasts. Although the cat family includes many impressive and attractive animals, there is an aura of power and majesty about the Tiger, where observing a male Tiger patrolling his territory in an Indian Reserve is to watch an unchallenged ruler strolling through his domain. Unfortunately for the Tiger, being the top predator has no protection against the activities of man, and a combination of habitat destruction and hunting pressures have reduced the Indian population from an estimated 40,000 to less than 1500.

Just setting off in search of a Tiger during my recent trip sent adrenalin coursing through my veins, whilst every movement in the undergrowth raises the expectation of a sudden appearance of this animal, striped body, footprints in the dust or the warning cries of deer all serving only to heighten the almost unbearable sense of excitement as you watch and listen for the first clue that a Tiger is around you. Upon seeing this animal for the first time Mother Nature made so beautiful, it renders you speechless.

After seeing these creatures in the wild for the first time in 2010, ‘The Year of the Tiger’ at Ranthambore, India, I wanted to do something to help these amazing animals.  I was greatly moved by their beauty and character, with an aura of power and majesty when you see them patrolling their territory. The tigers whole existence in our world today is down to humans, with the real threat of Wild Tigers being extinct ever present, so after seeing these animals in the wild, doing nothing is just not an option for me.

I was empowered and moved by my visit to Ranthambore to do something to help, so by offering these Limited Editions prints where 50% of the profits from each image sold will go direct to helping these beautiful creatures survive in the wild.  In turn I am hopefully helping to preserve them for future generations.

I am going back very soon and then next May 2011 I will be running my own Photo-Tour where I have an acute interest in conservation and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats being such an important part of my life. By staying and visiting the national park and wildlife regions on my 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 our preference for local naturalists rather than imported guides, being the key to a successful trip. Also 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 and their ability to preserve their natural and wildlife heritage for their future generations.

Being a Wildlife photographer I can now help to show others the beauty of these animals and hopefully raise awareness through my images and work that hopefully will help to keep these animals alive”.

The story continues…..

Many Thanks


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Where Does The Time Go?

Filed in Exhibitions, Workshops on Jul.27, 2010

Over the last two weeks I have found that my time just vanishes and the days turn into weeks,where with the early summer time light you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night,packing your car in total darkness and heading off in search of your images for that day.I always go with a relaxed mind and find this has always resulted in good sightings and images in most cases,where just being out in nature is enough for me.This approach works and by adopting this attitude you put less pressure on yourself to get the image(s).

The image’s below where taken as I was waiting to photograph Kingfishers,a bird that has eluded me this year.As the sun came up it lit up the low lying mist on top of the water,breaking through the dense background and creating this amazing light and colour.I captured two Mute Swans coming into land and together in one of the shafts of light and the third image is a lone Grey Heron perfectly still,watching for the slightest movement below him.Two lovely images that I  never expected

In between this I have successfully completed four great days at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton where I’ve just finished another two day display this weekend at their Summer Fete event.Again great meeting so many nice people over the two days a few wildlife photographers came to visit me so that was nice,lots of bookings on my Workshops and One To Ones,look forward to meeting you all that booked.My next event at the Pavilion Gardens,Buxton is the Art & Design event Sat 18th,Sun 19th September.

I have had two great High-Tide Workshops in the last week  at Snettisham,where this place can be good for birds all year round but the best shows come only at the very highest tides when the birds are forced into the ‘Pits’ giving a breathtaking experience to those lucky enough to be there,seeing and hearing the sounds of this magical event in mothernature that you’ll never forget within this truly wild place on the Norfolk coast.

There was thousands upon thousands of wading birds flying around.feeding on this rich mud that Snettisham is made up of,where the birds are forced to take off and form vast flocks all the time heading closer into land adding to the drama of the place with the sounds and sights of nature that you will not forget. A quiet and remote experience to the intense noise known as the ‘Norfolk Rhapsody’, a truly astonishing spectacle.

The clients had some amazing views and bothdays where a complete success and joy for me.I have around two dates per month now until next February 2011 so should you wish to book just send me an email to see if the dates suit your needs.The cost is £160.00 per person and are for up to four people,homemade packed lunch,hot and cold drinks all provided and these brilliant,action packed days last from dawn until dusk,where we finish the day off at one of my many Barn Owl sights I visit in Norfolk.

Showing you everything I use from expert fieldcraft skills,simply tracking skill’s,building a picture of whats happening around you,reading nature,right the way through to the simple camera settings and composition I use.Where for me its all about nature and a little understanding of the wildlife around you,capturing the subject in their natural habitat,capturing beautiful,wild moments within the natural world.

I have been able to get out photographing wildlife at this wonderful time of year also and its a real joy to be in and around nature during the morning and throughout the day,so much new life and noises going on as you walk through our beautiful countryside.Chicks constantly begging for food they are able to catch for themselves but prefer the easy lunch.The image below kept me in suspense for nearly ten minutes,it’s a juvenile Whitethroat,not long fledged,here he was watching flies and bees going backward and forwards over these colourful berries.

As I watched him through the viewfinder,then in a flash he moved and tired to capture this fly that had become tangled up in this spidersweb.I just managed to capture that very moment here with this image in the morning light,in the end he missed and the fly freed himself ,the whole event had be smiling.I did feel sorry for this fellow as he had tied in vain to capture his breakfast,but still much to learn,lovely moments though just providing there is something you can witness anywhere and get so much fun at the same time.

A big thank you to all the wonderful people who have booked onto my trips,I’m glad I’ve helped and to all those booked on future trips you can see the level of help and passion that’s coming your way!!.My next big event is at this years Birdfair

Where it will be my first time there as a Exhibitor,having been there several times as a visitor so I’m really excited to have a stand there.I am in Marquee 6 right in the center of things which is great.Feet away from the Events Marquee,where there’s loads of talks and events throughout the 3 days.I have also donated one of my Limited Edition Tiger Prints for the Birdfair Auction helping them raise money for the brilliant cause(s) they help and support around the UK and World.The 2009 Birdfair raised £263,000 to support BirdLife’s work in saving critically endangered birds around the world. This takes the total raised, to date, to over £2,000,000 which is just brilliant and something I personally want to help them with so the Tiger print is Lot number 83,please give as much as you can many thanks.

If you plan on visiting this years Birdfair then please do drop in and say hello,where some of my work will be on show along with my Tiger images from this years amazing trip to India,Gift Vouchers,Workshops,One To Ones,30 years of knowledge on wildlife, I have something for everyone,or if you just need some advice in regard to Wildlife Photography then I run an Open-Door policy where I’ll help and answer all your questions on this topic.I look forward to seeing you all there in the meantime should you want any help on the tours and trips I do then please send me an email.

All my Photo-Tours,Workshops have now been updated taking you through until next June/July 2011.My Texel trip is nearly full,Mull trip filling up and my Tigers trip to,which is amazing in these hard times,so a big thank you to all who have booked so far.Next years Masai Mara Migration trip is also up now and my trip to Finland for Brown Bears next June, will be up very soon also.

I also have a Craig Jones Facebook page where I give tips,advice and up to date reports on my trips and day to day goings on,with over 1200 friends its growing all the time,its free to join and becoming very popular.Where it’s good to talk as the saying goes.Thanks again for all the support and hope to see you in the future,many thanks.


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Choosing Raw or Jpeg

Filed in Photography Tips on Jul.13, 2010

This question is one of the most popular questions asked when people attend one of my One To Ones or Workshops.The debate over Jpeg versus the RAW file format has been an argument with photographers for some time, while consumers are pretty much confused by the concept. The difference, truly, lies in ‘after-shot’ work and how much time you want to dedicate to improving a picture.

The RAW file has often been considered a format for those working to produce advanced graphics layouts for newsprint and magazines as well as posters and similar products. RAW has a wide variety of tonal changes and abilities that can be brought out in a sophisticated image program like Adobe’s Photoshop however, as it requires a fair amount of technical editing know-how to be able to alter the image and create the right picture.I for one always try to capture the image I want in camera,cutting down the need for such processing afterwards.

Purple Heron

When you shoot in Jpeg the camera’s internal software (often called ‘Firmware’) will take the information off the sensor and quickly process it before saving it.Some colour is lost as is some of the resolution,and in some camera’s there is slightly more noise in a Jpeg than in it’s Raw version.The quality of a Jpeg taken with a DSLR will still be far better than the same shot taken with a top-of-the-line point and shoot camera that is as old as your DSLR.If you camera can take a burst (shoot continuously for a few seconds) you’ll actually be able to shoot more shots using Jpeg than Raw because the slowest part of the whole process is actually saving the file/image to your memory card,so the larger Raws take longer to save.

If you shoot in Raw,your computer rather than your camera will process the data and generate an image file from it.Shooting in Raw will give you much more control over how your image looks and even be able to correct several sins you may have committed when you took the photograph,such as exposure,contrast,saturation.You will certainly need to use some software on your computer to process the files and produce Jpegs or Tiff’s.I have found the best is to keep,where possible the Camera’s Raw software to the make of camera you use,example I use Nikon camera’s so I use Nikon Capture NX2 for my Raw files,then Adobe Photoshop to process my images,whether they be a Tiff,or Jpeg.

Artic Tern

Both Raw and high-quality Jpeg file formats will record very good quality images the choices you have to bear in mind when deciding to either shoot in Raw or Jpeg are simply and that is shooting in Jpeg and the camera decides on the adjustments to expose,white balance,contrast and colour saturation while if you shoot in Raw format then you make those adjustments for yourself in you post-processing.I shoot all my images in Raw format and I don’t shoot Raw and Jpeg as this takes to much space on my Compact Flash.

I use Nikon products as I use Nikon cameras,open my Raw file in Nikon Capture NX2 then save as a Tiff file,I then open up my Tiff file in Adobe Photoshop where I do most of my processing,example-curves,levels,brightness,contrast,saturation then save the Tiff and make smaller images from there,saving my images on my hard drive and backing each one up on my external hard drive.This is my work flow as I try to keep the processing time down to a minimal and time in front of the computer also down to a minimal

Today’s DSLR cameras do produce excellent Jpegs though so where time is important and being in the field makes saving images harder shooting in Jpeg can be a very good alternative.I hope this has helped you in some way to understand the two formats and should you have any questions or queries on this subject then please contact me here and I will be pleased to answer you questions


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Art And Craft Fair-Update

Filed in Exhibitions on Jul.05, 2010

I have just finished my two day display at the Pavilion Gardens,Buxton,Derbyshire where the event for me was a great success.Meeting people and showing the work I do,the trips,Workshops and One To Ones is a real passion for me as it gives my images life as each one has a name and a reason I took the shot,where the passion of wildlife is ingrained in all of my work I do from teaching to taking images.

People commented on the images and the main topic was the originality of my work and origin of the images where all where taken in nature,encapsulating the subject in their natural environment,with simply composition.With the key to wildlife photography being nature and an understanding of it way before the camera comes into the picture,where fieldcraft is one of the most important tools in getting close to you chosen subject, and an honesty in the image is key for me where the word ‘Wildlife’ should truly mean its a moment captured, as seen in nature at the time by the photographer,’placing a frame around something you have seen in nature to show others of the beauty around us’

CJWP Stand

The photo above is of my stand with the key colours following on from my website design,with the black and green swish going through the middle as this depicts my interest in nature that has always ran through me from a very young age.My Tiger images did really well and I am sending my first cheque off to 21 Century Tiger this week with some of the profits of the sale of my Limited Edition Tiger prints,where 50% of the profits from each image are going to helping wild Tigers survive around the world.My professional printed Gift Vouchers sold really well also,for birthdays,and nice presents for loved ones where they can be exchanged for any products on my website,most where brought as gifts for my One To Ones.

CJWP Stand

It was a real team effort with my wife;Vanessa working alongside me,with her 16 years experience in customer service’s making the two days go just the bit more smoother with her beautiful smile and professional input,thank you Vanessa

CJWP

 

 

Has now got full Chip And Pin facilities available,where its a very convenient and easy way of paying for items, where it is fully protected.All our products can be paided for using this method, examples-deposits and full payments on my Photo Tours (Africa,Tigers, etc),payment for Prints/Canvas alongside my Pay-Pal account that all of my orders come through.By offering this facility we have made is a lot easier for customers to purchase our products over the telephone just like you do from a shop/mail order.Where a full receipt is sent to you.

Thank to all the really nice people we both met over the two days there, a great venue and location to be in and I look forward to meeting the people who booked onto one of my One To One days or Workshops.With another display at Buxton planned for the end of July then the Birdfair in August it promises to be a busy time for us alongside what I loving doing and that’s capturing nature with my camera.

High-Tide At Norfolk

I have updated my One To One days showing the places I go to throughout the 12 months of the year, where they are timed to coincide with the changing seasons and natures own calendar to get the very best opportunities to photograph nature at a time of your choice.

My Hide-Tide days at Norfolk which start in late July have become really popular and these run from mid July all the way through until March of next year where you see thousands of waders moving closer to shore,forming beautiful patterns in the sky as the sea comes in and consumes the coastline.For more details of these days and booking on one then send me an email on my Contact form

High-Tide At Norfolk

High-Tide At Norfolk

These days are priced at £150.00 each and include a packed lunch/hot and cold drink.Any questions or further details then please contact me.Thank you all again for the sales,and bookings we got,I hope you have years of enjoyment from the frame photos/unframed images you brought and I was sad to see them go in a funny way.All the best.

CJWP


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