I write to you from the amazing islands that lay off the North Coast of Scotland, closer to the arctic circle than to mainland Britain- The Shetland Isles. A place during this time of year where the sun rarely sets and lights the whole day which can really throw your body clock out. I’m spending a week alone here before my clients on my Stunning Shetland photography photo-tour arrive to enjoy their week with me and this islands wildlife.
There are few places left in the UK where you can be alone and find that solitude we are crave at times, Shetland though is one such place where you can be and see very few people. I’ve had a wonderful week, seeing some beautiful places and wildlife and I hope my clients see the same during their time with me over the next seven days.
One of my favourite places is the most remote point of the UK- Hermness a wonderful and remote places and home to thousands of nesting seabirds. After two ferries I got there and spent two days there camping, photographing the Gannets, Puffins and other seabirds that live there. The cliffs are truly beautiful and they are a picture within themselves. I used them to frame some of my images along with the natural light to create some nice images from my time there.
After a great few days on Hermeness, I then headed to Noss an island that has some of the most spectacular colonies of breeding seabirds anywhere in the world. I took the boat trip from Lerwick and headed to this amazing little island.
Once there the skipper slowed down the boat and for the best part of an hour we slowly drifted around the cliffs there and its an amazing place, the smells, the noises and sites are truly stunning. The following images I hope convey what I saw and the sheer size of this place and the birds.
Its an amazing place and I’m returning there next week with my clients. I spent the next few days just sitting and watching for any wildlife and being at one with nature and the solitude is truly beautiful and something we all seek from time to time. I count myself very lucky to have the great outdoors as my garden as I call it.
Just a few of the wonderful moments I’ve had with nature over the last seven days. I’m hoping the weather holds and the wildlife sightings continue over the next seven days. My photo tour starts tomorrow, and we then head out to Hermness on Sunday, a boat trip with my friend and D-Day veteran Geordie on Tuesday to the island of Noss and in between we’ll visit many sites and places to see the amazing wildlife these islands have to offer.
So goodbye from Shetland and I will post a short blog covering our week. dates and all the information for my 2015 trip are now up on my website, click on my Stunning Shetland trip and its all there, many thanks.
I didn’t sleep much on my first night in Ranthambhore even after the marathon journey to get here. So an hour before my alarm I was up, press-ups, sit ups,shower and dressed ready to go. I went downstairs and met the night watchman and grabbed a coffee. I headed out onto the road. A routine I have now done for five years, I like the noise, the sounds, smells of the place at that time of the day and the peace and quiet. The odd vehicle passing me as I drink my morning coffee fix.
I love the mornings there just beautiful. Its wasn’t long before my two jeeps I hire and guides turned up for my clients. I rotate myself each day through both jeeps to help, support and be there for all my clients throughout their trip with me. Salim, Raj came and we all took off for national park, heart racing. After signing in and been allocated our zones we were off. The is a zone system in place at Ranthambhore, where you are given a different zone every drive and you have to stick to strict guidelines and the path this is to ensure your safety and the well being of the Tigers first and foremost.
Both of my jeeps were given their zones and we headed off, past the many old gates left over from when the fort at Ranthambhore was a fortress. Its such an impressive place, now taken over by nature and the Tigers. Within ten minutes of driving we heard the word “Tiger,Tiger”, we looked to our right and there he was. T34, a dominate male Tiger passing through his kingdom. Heart racing, seconds to compose yourself then capture what you see before he’s gone. My client in the jeep hadn’t seen a Tiger ever and here she was photographing one on her first ever drive which was wonderful and I was over the moon as over the years I have had many clients turn up who’s greatest wish is always to see this amazing animal so when they see one for the first time it makes me happy.
He was walking fast, on the hunt for Samba Deer, passing our path and then disappearing without a trace in a matter of minutes, what a welcome back seeing this shy male Tiger. After a pause to see if we could hear any alarm calls which lets you know his movements and often direction of travel we started out jeep and carried on further into our zone, still not believing what we’d just seen a few moments before.
We soon picked up the track of another male T24 on one of the tracks the jeeps use. The Tigers often use these paths to travel through their our territories. Listening for alarm calls,parking up with the jeeps engine off we tired to just listen which is often the best way as other animals let you no whats happening around you.
After driving around we saw a few other jeeps and a friend of our guide signalled to us a Tiger was there. Quickly we got into place and saw another male Tiger- T24 a massive dominate male sleeping on the forest floor in flecked light. Both my jeeps were there saw all clients where taking so amazing images. The following are what I captured alongside my clients.
An amazing encounter yet again and two male Tigers on our first morning has been the best start to any of my trips in the five years I have ran them. We moved on as time was getting on and soon before we left the park that morning and returned to the Ranthambhore Bagh for our breakfast. Omelette porridge, mango juice and Yorkshire tea with toast is my breakfast of choice there and it never disappoints.
Then some rest before our afternoon safari which starts at 3pm sharp. The heat is harsh in the afternoon, and suncream, hats are a most but more often than not I sunscreen up and enjoy the rays on my head. Again we were given our zones and off we went in search of the Tigers once more. Having worked with these same guides now for five years we know each other and what my clients want so more often and not I leave them to it and their expertise.
It wasn’t long in that intense heat that we saw T24 again, we found him asleep inside a cave. Not moving or even bothering with us and the jeeps as he slept. The odd time his eyes would open to just let us no he was watching us.
Such an amazing moment when you see and spend time watching these truly beautiful animals in their own envoriment. My clients got some great images of him again before we set off further into our zone. There is so much wildlife other than Tigers though at Ranthambhore, so many birds, Deer and ground mammals it truly is the jungle book in many ways.
After a few hours and with the light fading we heard some alarm calls, Tiger..? I asked..? maybe Salim said. Then from the hidden grass a female appeared from nowhere. It was T22 who I’d last seen last year. She was passing through and walking with great purpose past a Spotted Deer kill that I saw on the ground. She walked straight past this and onto a wooded area where she scent marked a few trees before heading off into the dense forests all around us.
Such an amazing moment when you see and spend time watching these truly beautiful animals in their own envoriment. My clients got some great images of the Tigers. There is so much wildlife other than Tigers though at Ranthambhore, so many birds, Deer and ground mammals it truly is the jungle book in many ways. Some many different images also from wildlife to plants to just about anything. Here I took this image of some tree roots I really loved and the reflection in the water as the sun was setting providing there are images everywhere here.
What an amazing first day for my clients, as I write this before I head to bed it still is unbelievably how lucky we all were today. Four sightings, three different Tigers lets hope our luck continues in the coming days and weeks. An amazing day and lets hope that luck carries on for my clients seeing this beautiful animal, so goodbye from India, I hope my images and words have taken you to this magical place so far and more updates as the week progresses all the best.
Hello from India, after a long journey by train from my home, then plane then taxi to reach the Ranthambhore Bagh Im now in my room writing this first of many blogs. In my fifth year of visiting this amazing place and running my own photo tours here I wanted to do something different this year time allowing. Im just about to go to bed as we are four and a half hours ahead and after the last 24 hours I along with my clients are wrecked so an early night is needed.
After seeing the new dawn in as we flew towards our final destaion. The view below us was breatkaing. Once we got to the airport we were picked up and then we were driven to our home for the next two weeks, the Ranthambore bagh, owned and run by friends Poonam and Aditya Singh. Once unpacked we went outside to where you have your freshly cooked Indian cuisine which is the best I’ve ever had. While you eat your surrounded by the traditional India music played by the locals that are invited in to provide the background music which is brilliant
My clients loved the food and we had a nice relax before tomorrows events, 5am tomorrow morning we wake up with a lovely coffee and banana, I’m up earlier than that as I do my morning exercises then get dressed and stand on the road with my coffee as I love the sights and smell of the morning there. At 5.30am sharp we are picked up by the same guides I have been working with for those five years- Raj Kumar, Salim Ali, two of the best guides in India by none.
We then enter the kingdom of the Tigers and it all starts. I have two weeks with clients, some 24 – 4 hour safaris in total and I’m so looking forward to showing my clients this amazing place and its Tigers fingers crossed. So this year I’m going to be writing my blog directly from India and not once I get home. Hopefully taking you on the same journey with my words and images almost as we experience it.
I wont sleep tonight I know I wont in readiness for the morning, my bags and cameras cleaned and packed, I’ve gone through the routine and gear with each of my clients so everyones ready. I cannot explain this place its magical. just like the jungle book by Rudyard Kipling. I love India and the Ranthambhore bagh is brilliant and almost home from home when I’m here as the staff look after me and my clients so well. Getting me coffee, ice cream and all sorts from the local market which is lovely.
Before I went to bed tonight Aditya’s and Poonams daughter Nyra Singh stopped me and I took her photo, she ran to the little shop there and picked up a tee-shirt she liked to show me as you can see. She has grown up so much over the last few years and is a lovely child. Most children when they see me either cry or just stare as I’m tall, bald and tower over them, but she shows me her favourite tee-shirt which i found really funny.
Right I’m off to bed, cannot wait until the morning and I hope to update the blog as often as I can during the coming two weeks, all the best back home everyone.
Really proud to show you a wonderful article that has now been released in the world renowned Nikon Owner Magazine. The coverage of this magazine is worldwide and once more the plight of the Sumatran Orangutans will be seen on a global stage. My promise and continued mission for these apes is to give them a voice through my images and that’s what I have done tirelessly over the last 12 months since my visit to Sumatra.
For those of you on here that wont be able to see this magazine I have carefully placed all the pages from the PDF document the owner of the magazine has just sent me so you get to see this. The article is dedicated to those Sumatran Orangutans that are killed, trapped, slaughtered and sold as pets each and every week.
My images though speak for those Orangutans and all these images have been donated by myself to a wonderful charity SOS- Sumatran Orangutan Society headed up by Helen Buckland from their small office in Oxford. She works very hard for these apes and its been a pleasure to work and help SOS and Helen. I will be back there in the early part of next year and also later on in the year with my trip. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the article and thank you.
Nikon owner Magazine can be seen by clicking here or you can see their facebook page here. Some of my prints from this trip can be brought from SOS”s website where 100% of the money goes to helping these great apes in their native country of Sumatra, click here to see and purchase them.
If you would like to visit Sumatra and join me on an amazing adventure into the jungles there at the same time support the charities that work tirelessly to save these great apes then click here to see my 2014 photo tour to this amazing place. Its open to anyone and everyone not just photographers.
I will show you the amazing jungles and the unique wildlife that live there and you will get chance to see the work that’s been done to rebuild the rainforests there. Some of your money too will go directly to the Sumatran Orangutan Society- SOS, a charity set up to help these beautiful apes.
A massive thank you to the team at Nikon Owner Magazine for publishing this article and helping me in spreading the word on what’s happening in Sumatra and extending the Orangutans voices to a wider audience, many thanks guys.
There are few places to compare with the Falkland Islands when it comes to photographic opportunities. I have joined forces with Island Holidays offering a photo-tour designed especially for photographers – amateur and professional. After the amazing success of this years trip I return in February 2014 and still have spaces available.
Our 14-night holiday includes stays at Stanley, Darwin, Sea Lion Island, Carcass Island (with a day trip to West Point) and Saunders Island as well as a trip to Volunteer Point, home to the largest colony of King Penguins on the islands. We travel from the UK with the Royal Air Force out of RAF Brize Norton and, on the islands, by 8-seater Islander aircraft and LandRover.
Accommodation is in comfortable hotels or lodges except on Saunders Island where it is more basic – but worth it just for the location.
FALKLAND ISLANDS Photo Tour 2014
A photographic extravaganza in the company of wildlife photographer, Craig Jones and operated by Falkland specialist, Island Holidays (ATOL 2725) 14 nights – departs Brize Norton Wednesday 5th February 2014. Fully inclusive cost £6,445 (single room supplement £600*) Deposit £800. Maximum number of clients: 8
Interest in my 2014 trip is already very good so if I have wetted your appetite and you would like to join me then please click on this following link, to read a couple of reviews on my 2013 trip please click here, many thanks.
I have just returned from the Shetland Islands, it is a wildlife photographer’s paradise with many opportunities to see and capture the amazing wildlife this island has on offer in beautiful light. I spent sometime on my own before my clients turned up to spend a week with me. Shetland’s 1200 mile long shoreline with its very varied habitat is the main reason why wildlife finds the islands so attractive.
Our photo-tour was timed to coincide with the height of summer where daylight lasts for almost 24 hrs. Sea bird colonies will be frantically feeding their young, waders filling the air with their calls and Otters going about their lives all around us. I also loved the islands Shetland Ponies as captured in the image below.
What makes these Shetland Island sea birds so special is not just the quantity and variety of birds but their spectacular setting. Nowhere else in Britain, and hardly anywhere in Europe, can you get so close, so easily, to so many sea birds in such awe-inspiring scenery. It’s one of the best places also to see Otters playing, feeding all along the shores of this incredible island. The Shetland islands remind me of the Falklands Islands with the open landscape and vast areas of rocky outcrops and high peaks leading to mountains.
Once I had picked up my clients we had a wonderful afternoon firstly at Sumburgh Head to photographing the beautiful Puffins and other stunning sea birds that live on this south coast of the Shetland islands. Then it was on to our cottage and then straight out to encounter the amazing and varied wildlife Shetland has to offer. The pattern of each day was almost the same travelling to the well known areas for Otters, Waders and other amazing wildlife this island has to offer.
Each offering unrivalled views of some of the most amazing nesting colonies of Gannets, Razorbills and other seabirds all clinging to this vast cliffs at both of the places. On the Monday we took the boat to Noss, a small island home to one of the biggest colonies of breeding gannets anywhere in the world.
Once you witness this place you feel dwarfed from your small craft, looking up at the vast cliffs and hearing the noises of these birds all communicating to each other. The smells too are very strong but the sheer size and scale of this place is unbelievable and my clients were completely blown away by it all.
I had an amazing encounter with a female Otter during those first days on the island. She swam around then brought ashore a large fish and the key is to try and work out where and when she would come ashore. This time I got it right and she came ashore some twenty foot to my front. The wind direction was in my favour, blowing away my scent and the noise of the waves broke any shutter noise up. These images capture a magical fifteen minutes with her a really special encounter.
On the Tuesday we took another boat trip, this time to ferries to reach Hermenss nature reserve. After the tough walk to the cliffs what awaits you is just stunning, truly stunning.
You carry on for sometime, carrying your full kit, it does get you warm to say the least. Once you start to reach the cliffs to your front, the noise and pitch of the noise and calls begin to increase, its almost like your getting closer to a massive speaker system. The land to your front starts to level out and you see the sea at first. As you then start to double check where you put your feet as the ground starts to slope off in the direction of the sea. What then comes into view is one of if not the best and biggest breeding colonies of Gannets anywhere in the world and you cannot fail to just stand there and admire what you are now viewing, wondering is this place real.
The sheer size is something you have to see to believe and I walked around the top of these cliffs and came across a lone female sitting on her egg, tucked right up inside a small ledge with the background in a shaded part of the cliff. By under-exposing I was able to throw out the background light and create this dark effect which features strongly in my work and always has done. I waited to see if she would move or change her position and I was rewarded with her grooming and looking around her captured with these images.
Iain who helped my with my trip and lives on the Shetland island took this image of me at the top of the cliffs looking down on this lone female and the view was just amazing.
Both days offered some amazing images for all clients and they duly filled many memory cards with brilliant images from both boat trips I had planned.The rest of the week we looked for Otters and at times the weather was often against us with pouring rain making looking for those Otters just that but more difficult with choppy sea conditions replacing those calm conditions that help you when looking for tale tell Otter signs. My clients did see Otters but getting them ashore proved harder that it looked.
While looking for Otters and laying in wait at several top sites there was an abundance of wildlife around us. This place is just amazing for its wildlife and dramatic coastlines of rugged cliffs and pounding seas. Each day was rounded off with a lovely, home-made three course meal made by Iains wife that was the perfect end to those long days.
Its hard to do this place and its wildlife justice with these few images but I have chosen a mixture of my favourite ones for you. from Otters, to waders, and Seals to the varied flowers/amazing orchids and fauna this island offers up. All my clients had some amazing images from the week and I would like to thank them all for their company and the many laughs we had along the way.
The seas around the Shetland Islands support so much wildlife too the place is just amazing,
A massive thanks to Iain and his wife Anne who are good friends and live on this amazing island for their help in making my Stunning Shetland photo tour a great successes. I have put up next years dates now and interest has been amazing already from my updates on Facebook and Twitter I posted while I was there. If you would like to join me next year in July where I will show you some of the beautiful islands wildlife during the week long photo tour at the same time improve your own wildlife photography then click on this link for all the details and information, many thanks.
I’m pleased to announce that I have been asked back to the amazing Natural History Museum in London to present two talks on different days as part of their season of Salgado-related talks in the Darwin Centre’s Attenborough Studio. These form part of their daily Nature Live programme of events. To see the Salgado events please click here.
I have just returned from two weeks in Ranthambhore, India where I was leading two, one week photo tours with clients. I have been visiting this area now for several years and have enjoyed many safaris into this magical place each time the smell, the noises of this place truly leave you breathless. Both sets of clients from their separate weeks enjoyed good sightings as all had come to see this beautiful animal in one of the best settings in India.
This image below captures a female Tigress coming from nowhere, catching us out as we sat in a small Jeep waiting with the engine turned off. I took a couple of images and we moved as the situation could have become dangerous, this is one of those images captured.