Entries in the ‘Events’

WildPhotos 2010

Filed in Events on Oct.26, 2010

I attended this amazing visual and inspiring event again this year alongside friend and designer/director of Traxwatch; Kevin Bromley. We were both amazed and inspired by the images presented by the different photographers from around the world.  Some very breathtaking images and a few firm favourites for me were the Bird Of Paradise images from Tim Laman .  They were stunning and I particularly liked the way in which he captured these images by climbing into the tops of the trees.  It was also great to see the locals building a hide there and watching the sun rise over the jungle valley beneath him was truly brilliant and something I love to do one day in my own work being a trained climber/abseiler.  

Kai Fagerström images where amazing too, telling a lovely story of abandoned houses being reclaimed by mothernature and becoming home to many animals including Badgers.  His image was a prize-winner in the 2010 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and for more than ten years, he has photographed badgers and other animals active at twilight in the area around his Finnish home, and for the past few years he has recorded the twilight and nocturnal activity of the wildlife inhabiting abandoned houses amazing, I really loved these images. 

Nice also to speak to Joe Cornish  I found his landscapes truly inspiring and learned a lot from his presentation. I don’t do a lot of landscape photography as such but I do love to capture a animal within their natural landscape which is very important to my work and watching and listening to Joe’s presentation was very interesting. It made me look at an image in a different manner to that of one with a living subject in. A recent image of mine in this years British Wildlife Photography Awards 2010 called ‘Frosty Morning’ has been included in their book which illustrates this ethos perfectly

The image was of a male Barn Owl quartering a field where the landscape formed a big part of the image for me, it was taken during the recent cold spell at the beginning of the year which stayed with us for several months while many animals suffered to find food.  The background was frozen solid and was in the shade at the time I took the image, compared to the rest of the image which was in the morning sunlight.  The Owl was hunting as temperatures where around -8oc, he did survive the cold spell though which was great news.

Really nice to meet up with Charlie Hamilton James again after the Birdfair and I am looking forward to seeing him again in the new year when hopefully he’s going to help me with my underwater photos of Kingfishers, which he is the master of.  A great show and nice to meet alot of nice people while we were there.  It was great for Kevin also with his remote camera system Traxwatch creating a lot of interest.  Kevin has chosen me to be one of the wildlife photographers to put this equipment through its paces and also promote this brilliant piece of kit along with Charlie,  where it captures video, time lapse, freezes images and much,much more so really looking forward to trying this style of photography I have not used in the past. Also really great to see one of my Barn Owl images on his product, which is brilliant and I wish you all the luck Kevin.

Yesterday I was back to what I love, acompanied by Steve where we photographed the Red and Fallow Deer in the morning light which was beautiful, always on the look out for a different image.  I captured this very soft and delicate looking young Fallow Deer feeding among this woodland.  I waited for him to pass through the few shafts of light penetrating the tree canopy to capture him in the amazing sunlight, the image can be seen below, thanks for a great day Steve and a few surprises there from folks along the way.

There is a wonderful link that has just been sent to me from the BBC Wildlife Magazine, where it lists Photography courses for all and you’ll see another one of my Barn Owls images on my very popular advert I have with them , the link can be seen here.  Have a look around the site, there’s some amazing images with great help and advice on lots of different topics.


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Norfolk Delights

Filed in Events, Workshops on Oct.11, 2010

The north Norfolk coastline is a place I never get tired of.  Everytime I visit it never fails to amaze me with the beautiful spectacles in nature that I witness.  At the moment Geese (Brent, Greylag, Pink-foot) are arriving there daily.  Their numbers swelling each day as you watch them assemble altogether on fields, the noise is deafening but its amazing to watch as they feed, constantly watching for predators, calling each other, always in complete communication. 

The next time you see a large group of Geese on the ground, just take a moment to watch them and you will be amazed at the way they stick together, how they see everything and are talking to each other all the time, its the perfect example of strength in numbers and the simple but successful way in which Geese live alongside each other.

Over the last 4-6 weeks I have noticed that the number of waders have been really low, with their number being dispersed further around the coastline from Snettisham, but in general the numbers have been low mainly due to the warmer weather we are having after the very cold start to the year, its delaying alot of wildlife I feel.  So after spending the weekend there on one to ones it was great to see the number of waders back up to the levels you’d hope and expect to see at this time of year.  Where most if not all are not looking their best as they go through their moulting period.

With the darker mornings and the onset of winter just around the corner the tides come in sometimes now while its still dark.  This happened to us this weekend, so we were  treated to the massive flocks flying  just feet over our heads in the dark, which was an amazing experience to witness.  Your sight is not great so you rely on your other senses to see whats going on which only heightens this amazing  experience.

As the light came up and the birds were flying around, they started to settle into the pools or pits as they are better known in front of the hides there.  I showed Phil, one of my clients on this day, how to use a slow shutter speed, capturing movement in a photo which in turn conveys the sheer power, movement and size of the flocks here.  Something spooked the flock and they all took off together, its been a long time since I saw this, as the whole lot, some 1-2 thousand birds went from a dormant, sleepy state into this powerful take off I captured in the two above images using a low shutter speed and low ISO.

They then settle back down into these pools sleeping and waiting until the tide retreats before heading back out to sea.  One of natures most amazing spectacles that if you are lucky enough to see the experience will stay with you forever.  The number of other birds that live in and around this coastline is vast, where they all feed in their different ways, I often feel in all the mayhem that these birds get forgotten about and passed over in favour of the massive flocks.  My advice would be to look everywhere once you are there and you’ll see so much other birdlife just going about their business in this rich and very diverse area of the north Norfolk coastline. 

The Great Peak District Fair is this weekend 16Th, 17Th October at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton.  I will be displaying my images in various different formats along with my Limited Edition Tiger prints where 50% of the profits from each sale go towards 21 Century Tiger, a charity that gives 100% of the money to helping wild Tiger survive in the wild. 

The fair is an experience of everything that is great about the Peak District, where you can enjoy the delights of the finest local products, amazing foods with over 90 exhibitors the weekend promises to be fun for the whole family with live music and much more so if you are in the area pop in to say hello at the same time enjoy the delights of this very busy and amazing fair set within the beautiful Pavilion Gardens.


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Masai Mara Migration Photo-Tour

Filed in Events, Places Of Interest on Oct.02, 2010

My Photo-Tour to the amazing Masai Mara Migration 2011 is now live on my workshops page, Paul McDougall who I work with in Kenya has secured me a great lodge in a private location on the Mara, where we will be close to action and have some amazing encounters. Paul who owns and runs his own wildlife company in Kenya is ideally placed to let me know whats happening and the best sites, so naturally as I always endeavor to give each client the very best I can, I will be working alongside Paul during our stay there in August 2011 getting you the best experiences from on the ground.

The 8 day trip will be amazing staying at one of the best traditional safari camps in the Masai Mara, this small camp will be a very special experience away from the normal hustle and bustle of other camps, where the private nature of our camp will be perfect for observing nature as we are perfectly placed to see the amazing wildlife in the Mara. Places are limited to a first come first served basis,  5 people max, so if you would like more information or would like to make a booking then send me an email here or go straight to my workshops page and fill in the booking form.  I am currently working on plans to also run a trip to Uganda for Mountain Gorillas and a ‘Wolves of Ethiopia’ photo-tour, capturing this beautiful animal high on the Sanetti Plateau of Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains,  only species of wolf found in Africa.

I am also working with a national charity, leading a tour to see the Orangutan.  I will update you with more details in a few weeks. The trip will be led by myself with expert guides on the ground, where we will be staying in the jungle overnight, being at one within the forests these animals live in.  Lots going on and all genuine trips enabling people to not only see but to capture beautiful images of these very different and stunningly beautiful animals in their natural habitats.

Habitats in which I have first hand, expert knowledge in having served in the armed forces for a number of years, working in these very different environments unitising all my climbing, abseiling, tracking, survival skills and many more, hopefully being able to show people the beauty of each one of these animals. I will update my blog in the next few weeks on these trips, giving a unique opportunity to visit these places on earth, learning about their different ecosystems.  What a year it plans to be, many thanks.


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2010 Year Of The Tiger Slideshow

Filed in Events, Wildlife on Sep.28, 2010

Once I returned from India it was my aim to use my images of the amazing Royal Bengal Tiger to demonstrate to people their beauty and prowess, at the same time highlighting the tragic position these animals find themselves in, now with around 3400 Tigers left in the wild.  Where captive Tigers and those kept as pets are now outnumbering their wild counterparts which is a truly shocking statistic.

I have always felt that powerful images and powerful music go so well together and over the last few weeks I have experimented and developed a few examples as a visual slideshow and posted them on my blog and Facebook page.  I was amazed at the feedback I received from people and especially amazed when a gentleman called Martyn Ford, a former Entomologist at the British Museum of Natural History, and now a professional conductor and record producer, had seen one of my slideshows and contacted me.  We exchanged emails and Martyn invited me to give him a call.  Hes a great bloke and was very helpful.  We spoke about many subjects and he told me of a lady named Thao Nguyen a brilliant  Musician, Composer, and Music Arranger who he works with.  She is also a very good wildlife photographer with a great eye for her subjects.

Over a period of  a few weeks Martyn came back to me with a brilliant piece of music called Fragile Earth that has never been used and one Thao was willing to let me use on my 2010 Year Of The Tiger slide show which I had been working on.  I will use this to show the beauty of the Tiger along with this beautiful music she has composed specially for me to go with my images.  To have a unique piece of music to go with this amazing animal is perfect and very fitting I feel. My images hopefully reflect the beauty of this animal that I have captured through the lens during my time in India.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my time there and how they are doing.

I was also informed this week that there is new life in Ranthambore with the recent birth of two cubs to one of the adult females, which is brilliant news.  I am hoping to return in January where it would be amazing to see these little fellows with their mum, where I will be returning later on in the year in May 2011 with my Tigers Of India  photo-tour that I will be running. I cannot wait to go back as I love India and its diverse and different wildlife.

I have composed the images along with this beautiful and powerful music now in a slide show, where the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up on edge everytime I watch it.  I hope you enjoy the show and it will form part of my talks that I am doing in different parts of the country over the next several months.

A massive thank you to both Martyn, and Thao for your very kind offer of this piece of beautiful music and I wish you both all the very best, many thanks.


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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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