In the June issue of N-Photo magazine, out now in all good newspaper shops and online there is a brand new feature called “On assignment”. Paul the editor asked me if I could be the first photographer to launch this and talk a little about my recent two week trip to Sumatra shadowing and living with the HOCRU ream from the Orangutan Information Centre. You can see this post on my blog by clicking here.
The work they do is amazing and it has been a privilege to work alongside this team since 2012 on my first trip with them on my “Spotlight Sumatra” 2 week trip. To see those blogs going back a few years now please click here. Below is the first rescue I did with this amazing team back in 2012.
It was a very tough 2 weeks back in February of this year, but very rewarding and I hope my images continue to gave those critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans a “voice” outside of their native home of Sumatra. At the same time show the world of the wonderful work these charities are doing on the ground.
Since my return from Sumatra, Paunt Hadisswoyo the founder of OIC- Orangutan Information Society has won the prestigious international nature conservation award & prize ” The Whitley Award. Which recognizes his tireless work to save these great apes and their forest homes at the same time educating the local people in saving their country and in return you save all those critically endangered animals that live there ie- Sumatran Tiger, Rhino, Elephant and Orangutan. Click here to see this amazing news.
Paunt is seen here being presented by the HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London and I couldn’t be happier for him and all the OIC team on the ground back in Sumatra they do an amazing job and often at their own risks, so well done all.
The magazine is available in many formats from online to a magazine format available in most papershops in the UK. I hope you enjoy this and it once more sheds light on whats happening there and also to those on the ground working tirelessly to save these great apes and their forest homes. I also go through a few tips and camera information on this assignment too. Thanks to Paul and the team at N-Photo for asking me many thanks.
The Barn Owl trusts 2014 population report has just been published and it was a much better year for one of my favorite birds, the Barn Owl. After the disastrous previous year in 2013 one of the worst on record for Barn Owls 2014 was much better. In most county’s of the UK the breeding populations where up and all reported successfully rearing young which is wonderful news.
I donate my images to this trust because simply I love Barn Owls and have done all of my life. Proud to say the trust has used my image on the front page of the report which is lovely to see. Making a difference and helping those subjects you love is something my photography enables me to do of which it gives me great satisfaction. We can all do something to help wildlife I feel and I have done since the moment I turned professional.
To see the full report click on the following link. This month also see’s my article on these amazing birds in the wonderful Wild Planet photographic magazine. click here to see this. I hope the population carries on growing and good luck to everyone that helps these wonderful birds.
In the February’s issue of the highly acclaimed photographic magazine ; Wild Planet I have my third article published to date, talking about my life-long love of Barn Owls and the struggles they face with the changeable weather conditions here in the UK.
My first memories of Barn Owls are from childhood, where I’d rush home from school, dump all my school bags, pick up my little rucksack, bird guide and binoculars and head on my push bike to a nearby stretch of farmland not far from my home in the hope I’d see a pair of Barn Owls Id spent many years watching. I did my first ever project on Barn Owls for the the Young Ornithologists Club (YOC) which is now the Wildlife s Explorers Club. Recording trips in and out of the nest with what prey, collecting pellets, drawings and all sorts it was amazing.
Quartering over farmland, hovering with moth like silence, flying effortlessly on the wing in the half-light at dawn or dusk is the supreme hunter, the Barn Owl. A bird that has always created a sense of great excitement and fascination for me. In British folklore, a screeching Barn Owl is believed to predict that a storm or cold weather was imminent. During a storm, if a Barn Owl was heard, it indicated that the storm was nearly over.
You wait and wait for a passing glimpse and a view into this bird’s life entrenched with mystery, then from nowhere and without warning one turns up in perfect silence, gliding, riding the currents of air, traveling effortlessly. Eyes glued to the ground beneath, on the lookout for small rodents that they feed on, as you witness their very distinctive appearance with a white heart-shaped face with no ear tufts and sharp black eyes all contributing to its striking appearance.
Those large black eyes only let the Barn Owl look forward in a fixed position and cannot move to the side, so consequently the Barn Owl has to turn its head to see to the side or back. Their hearing is amazing and the ability to locate prey by sound alone is one of the best in the animal kingdom.
Barn Owl’s feathers make them perfectly adapted for silent flight, but this makes them prone to water logging so they are not well suited to hunting in wet weather. The key to an owl’s silent flight is in its feathers, the next time you find an owl feather, turn it on its side and look at the edge — the line of fibers is scalloped, like a stretched seam. The slight alteration in shape allows the feather to cut the air without making sound, making them perfectly aerodynamic.
For more of my article, how I work with wild Barn Owls and alot more information then please click on the following link. Also there is a link to Barn Owl Trust, based in Devon who have brought out a conservation handbook on Barn Owls, its a comprehensive guide for ecologists, surveyors, land managers and ornithologists.
Some of my images of Barn Owls were used in this handbook and I also help the trust with my images to help to raise awareness of these owls and the issues that face them.
I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did writing this. Over the last couple of weeks I have been out and found a brand new Barn Owl sight in an amazing and old setting that Im looking forward to working on this year as one of my major projects. Also the family of Barn Owls I photographed a couple of years back have also returned so it looks very promising this year with regard to Barn Owls fingers crossed.
Barn Owls are protected by law and so shouldn’t be disturbed so please be careful if or when you come across one. They have suffered in recent years due to extreme weather so they need all the help they can to build back up. The information and protected status of this owl can be read further on this link.
I hope this winter will be kinder to them and I look forward to showing you my new images of Barn Owls in the coming months, many thanks.
Saturday, December 13th 2014, just another date in many ways, people going about their lives, shopping for Christmas. Many people today will visit their supermarkets, watching what they spend and getting the best deal for themselves and their families unaware of a ruling that comes into place on this day. That new law has taken years to come into effect and it finally bears wings and flies today.
Over 500 million consumers in Europe from today will become aware that palm oil is in their food they eat. Ingredients will have to be clearly labelled, saying exactly what it says on the tin with two clear winners. Sustainable palm oil and more importantly the wildlife that live in the places where palm oil is devastating their homes in the shape of their rainforests. Click here to see the EU law which comes into effect today.
One such place is Sumatra, a place I have visited several times now to be among an animal I find such beauty in, they have brought a smile to my face since childhood, the Orangutan. Being around them brings me such joy and comfort, it’s like being alongside a human being. Peaceful, caring, intelligent, beautiful are a few words that come to mind when I think of these great apes.
Until this day palm oil in our food was hidden, often labelled as vegetable oil misleading the consumers and the true origins of its beginning. Giving people informed choices to buy food items from today is a great result and a small step in the right direction to saving what’s left of the worlds rainforests and in turn some of the most endangered animals anywhere on the planet. Click here to see a very simple guide and what it means.
In 2011, SOS led a coalition of conservation groups, including Elephant Family, Orangutan Foundation, Save the Rhino, the Jane Goodall Institute, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and the Ape Alliance, in a joint campaign to tackle the problem.
Following their “Clear Labels, Not Forests “campaign, the EU adopted a new law which requires the labelling of specific vegetable oils, including palm oil, on food products throughout Europe. Companies were given three years to comply, and the new legislation comes into force today.
Mandatory labeling will support vital changes in the palm oil industry by allowing shoppers to make informed choices about what they buy. Responsible companies that make or sell products containing palm oil will want to reassure their customers that their products are not contributing to deforestation and loss of wildlife. Retailers and manufacturers now have the incentive to play their part in transforming the palm oil industry and breaking the link between palm oil and deforestation.
Its amazing news and one I wanted to share with the many followers of my blog, the best Christmas for those Orangutans that face a daily struggle to survive and live a peaceful life. I was there in March of this year working with another charity on the ground, shadowing the work of SOCP– Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme who have the only quarantine facility on the island.
I spent two days at that place in Medan the captal of Sumatra, this place is the very end of the line for those crucially endangered Sumatrta Orangutans that have been rescued and confiscated. At times what I saw I couldn’t really speak about or make senmse of, as I sat with baby Sumatran Orangutans looking at me, me looking at them. I cried, I sat and I cried and I really couldn’t understand why man was doing this and how we could inflict such cruelty on an animal that is us and we are them I like to say.
One of the shocking and direct consequences of poaching Orangutans is the death of the mother who is killed in the process of poaching the younger Orangutan. Shock for the baby is devastating and those that survive have a marked existence with so many crucial skills missing. Their lives of forests swapped for a life chained to a post or a cage that’s too small as they grow.
This situation is tolerated and considered normal in Sumatra and Borneo, keeping one of these guardians of the forest can elevate the social status of the person.When they are rescued the road back to the wild is hard without their mother, this makes their independent survival almost impossible. I witnessed many rescued Orangutans during my time in Sumatra. Most have forgotten the pain they went through and forgiven their jailers but just hearing their individual stories sent shivers down my spine and filled me with such sadness
This is my tribute to those Sumatran Orangutans, that are afforded the very highest protection in the world yet are killed every single day in Sumatra and the government does nothing.
I’m going back to Sumatra next year, shadowing the work of those teams once more, things are changing alittle and more interest and knowledge of the plight of those Orangutans and the other rare animals that live on Sumatra are becoming news which is good.
My aim as its always been from day one is to give those Sumatran Orangutans a voice through my work, and since my first visit in 2012 I have kept to that promise I made to those Orangutans I spent time with high in the tree tops. I will continue that promise for as long as I live simply because they are us and we are them and to let them go extinct on our watch would be truly shocking, many thanks.
The Eyes of Nikon Photo Exhibition held in Shanghai, China
The Eyes of Nikon Photo Exhibition, a complete collection of photos captured with Nikon digital SLR cameras and NIKKOR lenses by photographers active around the world, will be held from August 23 (Saturday) through September 30 (Tuesday) at the Nikon Plaza Shanghai. Nikon, Japan have just sent me a few photos of this exhibition, where my work was one of the 12 from original 21 photographers chosen to be part of this event. It will be touring around and fingers crossed coming to London.
Approximately 28 large prints of photos captured by 12 of the photographers who contributed to the Eyes of Nikon photo collection and active in the fields of art, fashion, sports, and nature will be exhibited at this photo exhibition to be held in Shanghai. The exhibition will serve as a place where visitors can view the works of photographers active on the world’s front lines, with exhibition of not only printed photos, but also slide shows displayed on a large screen.
I was chosen at the beginning of the year to become one of the Eyes of Nikon photographers and part of this amazing book that celebrates 80 years of Nikon lens and cameras and to become one of the Eyes of Nikon photographers which can be seen on the following link One of my images that were part of this exhibition can be seen here.
My work is becoming more recognized by Nikon, the equipment I have used since turning professional and several articles and images have been published showing how well that equipment in some testing places has stood up to everything.
Nikon launched Nikon Pro WILD: a FREE tablet edition that’s an exclusive supplement to Nikon Pro magazine to celebrate the best in wildlife photography. Click here to see and here to download.
Nikon Pro magazine celebrating everything that’s great about Nikon products and services. Nikon Pro is the tri-yearly print and tablet magazine for professional photographers and serious enthusiasts. It features the best in photographic imagery and technical advice from around the world.
Nikon Owner magazine published an article covering my on going work to highlight through my work and self-funed trips there whats happening to the criucally-endangered Sumatran Orangutan. Too see the link and the magazine please click here.
There’s news that the Eyes Of Nikon exhibition will be touring to other countries and fingers crossed it comes to London, when I get more news I will let you no on my blog many thanks.
In August’s issue of the Wild Planet magazine I have an article covering fieldcraft, something I have always applied and feel is one of, if not the most important tool in your box as a wildlife photographer. From my start right up until the present day fieldcraft has and will always be so very important to me. When working with wild animals not use to humans the wildlife photographer must use his own skills and Technics in order to get close to a chosen subject, which in turn make for more informative images and a better understanding of their lives I believe.
As Wildlife photographers we have a duty of care not only to the subject but also to the public and those that view our images to show them as seen on the ground. To explain and tell what went into that image, how it was taken and then and only then can they judge your skill as a wildlife photographer. Transporting them to that moment in time that the photographer was lucky enough to see and witness and later record with his camera.
The photographer must use his own skills, experience and subject knowledge to achieve this and for me this starts with fieldcraft. In an age where the skill base for this is dying I feel with the ever ready images and all you have to do is turn up kind of images out there taking over. I truly feel as Wildlife photographer we have to take it right back to the beginning, work alongside wildlife, capture what you saw using you own skills. In a time where wildlife is really under pressure the best thing we can do is learn about those subjects, watch those subjects and become part of their lives without impacting on them.
I’m feel so strongly about fieldcraft and ethics and since turning pro I have always worked in this way and my images for me represent that special moment in time I was prevailed to witness and later record with my camera.We really do have a duty of care and by working in a manner like this the rewards are far greatly than just an image, educating many through those images and yourself at the sametime.
We never stop learning about the natural world but in a time where its under the most pressure as in now I feel will can all play a part and as a wildlife photographer this starts with real moments from the wild captured by you, with your camera using simple fieldcraft and becoming aware of your environment, your subject and the habitat they live in.
To read my fieldcraft article click here and download the August issue where I go through everything I use and apply while among the countryside. I hope it helps you and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me here. Its the second time now I have had an article in this prestigious magazine dedicated to wildlife photography. The first being my moving story about saving the Sumatran Orangutans that can be see by clicking here.
Thank you to the staff at the magazine for publishing this second article and I hope it helps your readers to understand wildlife photography is not something you can turn up, pay your money, take the shot and go home, its about learning and minimizing your impact on the wildlife and the countryside. A better understanding of what your watching and photographing starts and ends with fieldcraft for me, and something I show and teach on my One to Ones and workshops, good luck.
Following on from my role as one of the judges for the high street retail giant CurrysPC World in their extremely popular six week photographic challenge earlier in the year. Where I set the public who entered the task of understanding and displaying composition within their submitted image. I have had my first blog post go live on their website covering Winter Light, side and back.
Winter Light, Side and Back
As the winter solstice will soon be upon us, you can read my first blog post for CurrysPCWorld. There are few greater opportunities for dramatic lighting within your photographs than a good winters day. During the winter months the UK as part of the Northern Hemisphere is at the closest point to the Sun, these days are shorter and the Sun is low in the sky giving some of the best light a photographer can wish for.
On the shortest day of the year, known as the winter solstice, the Sun is at the lowest point within the southern sky. During the short winter days the Sun does not rise exactly in the east, but instead rises just south of east and it sets south of west.
Click here to see more of the Winter Light, Side and Back blog post, I hope it helps you make the most of the winter light while out with your cameras, many thanks.
It is with utter heartbreak and shock that I was emailed this week from Sumatra,asking for some of my Sumatran Orangutan images to be asked for a campaign Ian Singleton the director of SOCP are fighting. Once I stopped and read the proposals my heart missed a beat I cannot lie. As each day passes I want to get out there with my camera to do something. Below are Ian’s words and the campaign they are fighting to stop large areas of Sumatra being dug up and lost for ever. Lost is the key word, mankind just never fails to shock me with their mindless greed.
On the 30th December they rule, when everyone is looking to the New Year and relaxing officials decide whether its good to hand over some of the most precious rainforests in the world to developers hell bent on bleeding the soil of its riches and replace it with a vile, unnatural habitat killing some of the world’s most protected animals found nowhere else on earth.
Dr Ian Singleton –
“The Acehnese Government is pushing to finalize the proposed Spatial Plan in the next coming weeks along with and additional NEW draft governor’s regulation, which opens a door for new permits in large critical areas of the Leuser Ecosystem. If approved, this new plan and the new regulation will result in the rapid devastation of most of Aceh’s remaining lowland forests, the last stronghold for the Sumatran Orangutan, tiger, rhino and elephant. This also totally undermines the legal status of the world renowned Leuser Ecosystem. What’s more, it will not only seriously impact biodiversity and regional carbon emissions, but also seriously jeopardize the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of Aceh’s 4 million people”
I put a slideshow SOCP are using and my images will be used to raise much needed awareness before the December 30th deadline. In the new year I’m hoping go out there with my camera and report on this I wish I could go tomorrow, in the meantime to everyone who follows my blog please sign the petition on the links below thank you.