Over the last couple of weeks I have been running my One to Ones and doing my own projects and I have noticed the weather and more so the temperatures. I have been longing for a frosty morning, where the sun just warms your face as you breath in the cold, crisp air. But as of yet apart from one or two days of almost there frosts I haven’t witnessed any yet.
I managed a few days watching the Deer Rut in various places over the last week or so, some days with clients, others alone and each morning it wasnt really that cold. Im no weather man or expert but its hard to not see the mild to warm temperatures we are facing. I only hope as in previous years we wont be tricked into thinking how nice this is then all of a suddenly we are faced with snow and freezing temperatures when the gulf stream changes its mind.
During the last couple of weeks I have been in Norfolk too, watching and marveling at a sight in nature that still amazes me and blows me away, the Spring Tides. Where you can witness thousands of Waders twist and turn over the mudflats of the Norfolk Wash as the sun slowly starts to rise. As the incoming tide covers the land the waders are forced into the air as the seawater consumes the land.
This produces some of the most beautiful and spectacular scenes in the natural world for me as these waders dance in the air. Turning one way then the other and flashing black and white as they do. It’s a truly spectacular thing to witness and the following images I hope capture that moment I speak so fondly of.
At dawn the skies are full of Geese travelling inshore from their roosting sites just off the coast and they travel into land to feed all day before heading back out. The noises they make as they fly in is amazing as they fill the sky. My clients also had some luck too with the Barn Owls and I have included a few of my favorites from those days I spent with clients.
Thank you to everyone of my clients that joined me and I hope you all enjoyed your time with me among the beautiful countryside. If youd like to see what workshops and photo tours I run then click on the following link, many thanks.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me with One to One bookings and Workshops. Its always really nice for me to go to places that I have had an historical connection with, and alot of the one day workshops I offer visit some of those places that I went to from my early teens. Looking back at times it was a form of coping with my late mums battle with cancer from the age of 12. Where I’d draw what I saw in the absence of a camera, learning so much about nature and those subjects that fascinated me and still do. .
I have a lot to thank nature for and I hope thats reflected in my work today. I’d often take a pencil and paper and just sit and watch Dippers, Water voles along the rivers of the Peak District. I’d get a bus pass and my mum would allow me to catch several buses at the same time packing me up with enough food to last me a week rather than the day. It was an amazing adventure I can always remember and I was very lucky.
With the onset of autumn arriving daily its a wonderful time to be out with your camera and I have really enjoyed meeting several clients over the last few weeks where I have taken them to those same spots I talk about and have very fond memories of.
Knowledge of places and more so animals is key for me and elements that have made my photography really what it is today in the absence of any formal photography lessons or course and help really. A great sense of passion and knowledge and you can’t go wrong as a wildlife photographer.
When I started as a professional wildlife photographer in October 2009 I built my business around some of these places where I take clients now. Nothing is ever promised as I don’t do baited, bird on perch workshops or change an animals behavior by my presence in order to get a certain image. I offer an experience and show what I use employing many different skills learnt from those younger days.
Fieldcraft is key and something I’ve seen talked about alot in recently years. Ive had a few different articles published on the subject which is one if not the strongest tool in any wildlife photographers box when dealing with wild animals in front of your camera.
For me it’s what made me who I am and shaped me and still does as a wildlife photographer. All the images on this post are from those One to Ones over the last several weeks . It was lovely to meet you all and I hope you learned more about your subjects at the same time improved your wildlife photography.
I’m often asked what bit of camera gear is the best.? What do you think of this make and model..? How did you get into wildlife photography..? How can I take images like you..?? Every time if they are in front of me, I touch my heart and point at my eye, meaning your image is created in your heart and projected through your eye. I often get a puzzled look, a look of confusion and awkwardness but them the reassuring smile replaces that puzzled look and people get me then and understand my point.
Passion, time-served knowledge, fieldcraft, love and respect for your subjects come way before any make and model of camera and this is something I always say and have done. Put this with my historical connections with wildlife and places I’m then able to see those image that I later capture with my camera. The best advice I can give to anyone in this time of I want it now and overnight is to spend time with nature, watch, look and learn then introduce your camera and slowly it should all come together.
Anything I have touched on here if you require more information on then please contact me here. Many thanks to all my clients again over the last month or so and I wish you all well with your photography.
I will be running one day “Rutting Deer“ workshops in the month of October to coincide with the Autumn Rut where you will have the chance to photography both Red and Fallow Deer going through their rut. The day will last from dawn until dusk and they can be taken on a one to one basis or up to a group of 4 where the price comes down. Most of the locations are in the central area of England.
The autumn colours and the Deer’s make for an amazing backdrop and one I look forward to each year. The day will consist of fieldcraft, use of natural light, and learning about your subject and what to watch and look for, camera help and advice getting the most from your day and equipment and so on. The dates are as follows –
October 4th- 25th, some of those dates have gone so if you’d like to no more information email me on the following link.
Two images from my trip to India this year, we came across this male Tiger almost straight away as our morning drive began at 6am. We followed him from a safe distance as he traveled through the forest using this dirt track, occasionally stopping to scent mark. As he was walking I saw his paws and feet and angled my camera down from the small jeep we were driving in and I caught one of his paws and a bit of dirt flying up.
For me one of my favorite images of this year’s trip. In death the Indian people kiss the Tigers feet before they are cremated if this is possible out of a great respect and love for the animal. Through this image I pay my own respects to these beautiful animals.
I have a few places still available for my 2015 trip to Ranthambhore, one of the best places in India to see wild Tigers. During your week there you will have 12 safaris, 2 clients per jeep where I rotate myself through the two jeeps each day. One safari in the morning and one later on in the afternoon. If you’d like to join me then see the following link for all the information, trip reports from my previous tours there with clients, many thanks.
First Week – Sunday 12th April 2015 – Sunday 19th April 2015.
Second Week – Monday 20th April 2015 – Monday 27th April 2015
It was Global Tiger day recently and several of my Bengal Tigers taken in India were used for 21 Century Tiger charity for their campaign. A charity I have donated images too and raised money through he sale of several limited prints since 2010. To see those images where 50% of the profits go directly to this charity that helps wild Tigers survive in the wild see the following link.
Really excited to announce a brand new photo tour for 2015. Lekking Black Grouse and Capercaillie where the males fight with other males over their territory and the right to have all the ladies. Then Wolves, Bears and Wolverines plus Golden Eagles and more if we have the time set against the snowy background of Finland, a few miles from the Russian border.
Those that follow my work will no what an amazing trip we all had to this special place in July of this year which you can see by clicking here. I will be returning to this amazing place in the first week of May 2015 so if you’d like to photograph this amazing event in natures calendar then see the following link
Lots of One to Ones booked in over the next several months and they kick off next week with two days. My Spring-Tide and Barn Owl one day workshops start this month where you can witness this amazing event in nature on the Norfolk coast, Then after lunch and a brew we head to one of several Barn Owls sites I visit and take clients to. If you’d like to see more information on these days and book then see the following link.
My Stunning Shetland photo tour dates are now up too and also for 2015. After the success of the last two years there with clients I’m running this again in June 2015. To see the trip and all the information see the following link.
I am running a whole week on Shetland where we will be concentrating purely on Otters. Fieldcraft, use of light, tracking, looking for clues and signs of Otters and much more on this week long trip. To see this trip click on the following link.
I have a few places for my 14 day photo tour to the Falkland’s in February 2015. We visit some of the best places there to see and photography the beautiful wildlife they chose to live on these spectacular islands for wildlife. See this link for all trip details and booking.
Finally I’m catching up with lots of one to ones and here are a few images from recent one to ones with clients. Thank you for your company and I hope you all enjoyed you days. To see what One to Ones I offer or to book please see the following link .
I look forward to meeting all new and old clients over the next several months, thank you to everyone who has booked and your company. If you have anything you want more advice on then please send me a message here, many thanks.
The term “no man’s land” can conjure up all sorts of meanings, from barren land, unclaimed land or more commonly known as the area between two opposing armies over which no control has been established. The very fact in some cases that these areas are so barren is the sole reason things are left to grow, nobody wants to either live there or have anything to do with that place. The very reason then, that not far from the Russian border Brown Bears, Wolves, Wolverines and other such predators should find a place to live and in most cases be free to roam and live as they please.
I have just spent a week with my clients in one such area, devoid of humans, the distant deep throaty calls of Ravens breaking the silence, interrupted with roars from Bears and Wolves all letting each other know they are still there and this is their patch. The stillness of such a place is beautiful, it reaches deep inside you and puts you in a place you rarely find yourself today. Free from humans and the ever glaze of urban living, with all its noise and disturbance.
As soon as our flight touched down, we were picked up and driven to our base camp, a former forest workers residence close to the border with Russia. Surrounded by the lake of Kuikka as well as by boreal forest. A few miles separating us from no mans land where one of the most charismatic mammals and one of the most misunderstood ones finds a little solace and is able to live out their lives without the one-side cruel and unfounded persecution against them, the Wolf.
After a quick stop off at the local supermarket we headed to our remote home, unpacked and had a quick bit to eat and refresh then headed straight to the hides. A routine we were going to get use to as its almost always light there 24 hours a day. I had five clients plus myself and we split ourselves up through the hides and then the routine is to wait, make no noise and observe the areas to your front while you’re sitting in well protected hides that have been there and been accepted by the wildlife for years.
That first night we saw Brown Bears and Wolves which was a wonderful start to the trip. The Wolves were a little far away but the male Brown Bear came quite close to our hide as he passed their the swamp area to our fronts.
Our pattern was to be the same as that first night throughout the week, staying all night until the following morning in the hides,where we would be picked up by our host and driven back for breakfast and then to rest throughout the day. This was to maximize everyone’s chances of seeing these elusive mammals. It was a hard pace but one so important to give everyone the very best chance of seeing these shy animals.
Almost from the off there were images to be taken, my belief has always been there’s always an image to be taken no matter what and while we waited for the main actors (so to speak) to turn up the warm up acts were just as beautiful. We took turns on look out as the others slept in the hide and rotated ourselves throughout the night once again giving everyone the best chance to see what they had come to see, mainly the Wolves.
The smell of the pine needles, the crisp air and pure silence was beautiful and something I can’t find the words to explain, I hope the following images go someway to showing you just how beautiful this place is. We saw Wolves most evenings and its hard to post all those images so I have chosen a few of my favourites.
Wolves are shy, yet so clever, seeing and witnessing their interactions with other animals and their own type taught me a lot. Incredible, beautiful, ong-legged, athletic body built for speed and movement over large areas and at the same time ruthless in their execution of prey. I witnessed caring and kindness too and a deep sense that they are “the boss” with a leave me alone attitude which I admired.
While waiting for the Wolves we carried on having some amazing sightings of Brown Bears as they both share the same habitat and land with each other; often coming into contact with one another over food and key territories.
The last but one night we all spilt up and I along with two of my clients headed to the Wolverine hide. This animal is very shy and there are only around 150 of them in the whole of Finland, five of which live in No Mans Land. The ones we saw hadn’t been seen for a while so it was on my mind as I got into place. Shortly at 10.30pm that night though that worry was crushed with the first of two Wolverines.
A truly beautiful animal and one I was so keen to see for the first time; as there are only around one-hunderd and fifty of these animals in the whole of Finland and just five in this whole area we were very lucky to see two at all let alone on one night. Strong, powerful and so unusual, Wolverines are just so unique and the encounter will live long in the memory.
In between going to the hides we rested as much as possible and then went back into the hides each evening at around 5.30pm. There was always lots of bear activity, the Wolves too and the whole place really delivered for all my clients in every aspect which was great for them and also for myself.
Lassi, our Finnish host has pioneered the putting out of food (bait) for Brown Bears, Wolves and Wolverines many years ago in order to photograph them, without bait it is impossible to observe these wild animals in Finland or in any other area where these animals are hunted and thus extremely shy.
His aim is to impart, through wildlife photography and observation, to get a general understanding of Finnish wildlife and of Wolves and Bears in particular. Moreover, it is a proven fact that the presence of wildlife tourism and wildlife photography in this area helps deter poachers from clandestine killing, while also bringing greater acceptance of wildlife among the local people.
The Bears, Wolves and Wolverines spend most of their time in Russia. The majority of the photo hides were located only a few hundred meters away from the Russian border. Decades of work has been put into this place by our Finnish host Lassi, and without this the images my clients and I got wouldn’t have been possible. Twinned with a bit of luck and long hours of waiting the balance of success is always unpredictable though because these are wild and truly shy animals.
My last night was the best for me, as I sit here and type I still can’t believe how lucky I have been and also my clients. Going last so to speak, I have all week had the hide left over because I give my clients first choice on where they want to go. This though has turned lucky for me because I have had some amazing sightings and moments. All my clients have had some great images and moments too.
The last night I witnessed two Alpha Wolves – the male and female working together against one bear in order to pinch the food. Working as a team works for the Wolves against these massive bears. Above you will see three wonderful bears we saw on the last night and also a sleeping Raven I really loved.
The following images happened so fast I had little time to compose and I got what I was given, luckily enough they tell the story. In some beautiful light there was a lone Brown Bear feeding on a animal carcass when suddenly he was almost “rushed” by two Wolves. His response was to chase one, the female drew him away from the food, moving really slowly, the bear coming really close, risking her own life in order for the Alpha male to go to the food behind him.
Once she was away she stood and watched as the bear returned and walked back to the food and there was a short stand off between bear and wolf. But to be fair to the Alpha male didn’t really back off and stood his ground showing his teeth. The bear returned to the food and the male wolf just watched, he then heard my camera and gave me a look to say ” did you catch all of that?”
Watching them work together, letting one feed as the other played decoy was amazing to see and what Wolves do best. So clever, so intelligent and beautiful in the process. I have tired to capture and show the sequences the best I can.
All my clients have had a great time, thank you all for your company. I’d personally like to thank Lassi and his son Sami for all their help, guidance and running a wonderful place in the middle of nowhere. Thank you too for caring for these misunderstood animals and giving them some hope that we as humans can understand them more before just shooting them. Once these animals roamed free all over Europe and even the UK, to think they are hanging onto life in small pockets now scattered over a massive area is really sad and something thats given me lots to think about and how cruel and vile humans are.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the images, it’s been an amazing week and we have all been very lucky. I will be back here in May 2015 (2nd-9th) running a new trip for Capercaillie & Black Grouse lekking, White-tailed Eagles,Wolves and Bears and then in July for my Wolves, Bears and Wolverines trip. Photo above is of my group and Im so tired Im a sleep already.
My July trip has only three spaces left so if you’d like to join me see the trip on my website. I hope my images have shown you what a wonderful place this is, how nature is hanging on, what some are doing about it. Thank you to all my clients for your time and hard work throughout the work as its been long days and night with little time for anything else, many thanks.
After a week on my own on the Shetland Isles which can be seen on my blog post below called Solitude my photo tour kicked off with some amazing weather and sightings. After picking my clients up from the airport and ferry port of Lerwick we headed to Sumburgh Head, the most southernly tip of Shetland. We spent the day with the Puffins there and they are just stunning and so beautiful and comical to watch and spend time with.
All my clients got some wonderful images of these stunning seabirds which are so funny to be around and spend time with. It was then back to our cottage and settle in for the week. Each night we have a home cooked three course meal cooked for us made from local ingredients made by my friend Anne, the wife of a good friend Iain who loves on Shetland.
The next day it was a return to one of my favourite places , Hermeness, the most northernly point of the UK and a remote and wild place. Its home to thousands of nesting Gannets and other seabirds, including one of my favourite the Puffin. After the walk out there we spent most of the day there with stunning weather, then it was two ferries and home once again.
We had an amazing day at Hermeness and all my clients got some great moments and loved the place. Our routine each night was the same so it was back for our home cooked meal after a full day out. The next day we had a trip to Noss again where I chartered a boat with my friend and D-day veteran Geordie.
A year ago this month I met a wonderful man who touched me with his life greatly. Over the last 12 months his wife has become ill and is now house bound he told me on this day. He doesn’t run his boat trips much now because of his wife who he has been married too for over 60 years. It was a very touching moment to no he put his trip on for me once more and my clients, leaving his wife for the day to run this trip. I was moved very moved and couldn’t wait to see him and gave him a hug.
Twelve months ago he told me about his time in the second world war, he drove the gun boats onto the beaches at D-Day, leaving dying soldiers as he reversed off the beeches to pick more soldiers on as the push to calm the beeches had to go on. On the last day I presented him with some images of him, his craft and the seals he feeds and looks after. We had an amazing day and all my clients got some great images and were blown away with the trip and Geordie.
During the trip I got time to sit with him and we had a chat and he told me his framed image from last year of him at the helm of his boat is pride of place in his home and the others he has but his daughter had pinched one.He’s 90 on the 31 July and I couldn’t believe he still drives his boat. Very humbling, very emotional as this man for me stands for everything that is great in life and his wisdom and kindness is just beautiful. If I had a dad or grandfather he’d be the best I could have ever wished for.
He was too busy to go to the 70th Annervesary of D-Day because his wife is ill but he was interviewed for the papers giving his account of the war. he fought through all the war and survived. He sat down and told me more about that day, a day my mum was born so June the 6th for me is a special day already. Collecting floating bodies a week on after the landings and more really moved me, I never asked , he just trusted me enough to tell me and I was moved very moved.
We had a great chat and I was sorry to leave him I will be sending him a photo and card for his 90th birthday next month. What a man, what a person and a lesson to us all in humility, Humbleness, respect, kindness and much more. he’s touched me and I feel blessed to have met him.
All my clients got some great images from this trip to the small island of Noss, below are a few of my own favourite from this amazing trip.
The rest of the week we really concentrated on finding and seeing Otters as most clients had come to Shetland with a real wish to see this amazing mammal. I know of many places on Shetland for Otters but the tide times are key along with luck. We got some nice images, and had some amazing encounters. I show real fieldcraft and how to stalk, move and find Otters so all clients put these skills to use over their time with me.
While we were going around the Shetland isles there is so much other wildlife and the following few images are some of those moments I captured alone with my clients too, Otters,Arctic Terns, Red-Throated Diver, Fulmars.
Our last day on Shetland turned out to be the very best for my clients with a male Otter coming close and all clients finishing a wonderful week with the best moments. The following images are some of my favourites showing him coming ashore, eating his fish, then smelling his scat or poo and then remarking his territory before heading back out to sea.
Otters are one of the hardest mammals to get near, they mark their territory often and always at the highest point so the tides dont remove their scat or poo. Look for this, build a picture, learn, watch, look, smell, and sit and with a pinch of luck things will happen.
Its been an amazing two weeks for me on Shetland, my first week alone camping at various places and seeing some beautiful wildlife.
The second week really followed the same path as I showed my clients the amazing wildlife these islands have to offer. I showed them all fieldcraft, photography and many other skills they will be able to take home with them and use within their own photography.
I’d like to thank all my clients for their company over the last week and to my good friends Anne and Iain Sloane who have helped me with my trip also. The dates and information for my 2015 trip to Shetland are now up on my website. Click here to see all these details and to book, should you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to contact me many thanks.
Today for me has been a very touching and moving day, we spent an hour in the company of Machali, the Queen of Ranthambhore. She is seventeen years old now maybe even more and hasn’t been seen for months presumed dead. Many people have been looking for her and a few weeks back she was spotted once more. After another early rise and out before first light heading to the national park of Ranthambhore we were once again given our zones and off we set on the search for wild Tigers.
As we traveled along the dirt track, dust everywhere, the light was beautiful. One of my jeeps was in another zone to us and we found ourselves alone. We looked over to our left and there was a Tiger sitting down. Instantly the word “Machali” was said. There she was, missing for months and now laying down on the ground. As we drove closer she became aware of us. That first contact with a wild animal is always special to me. We got within a safe distance of her and turned the engine off. She turned around to see us and I couldn’t believe she was there I truly couldn’t.
Not long after we’d arrived she got up, its then I first noticed how poorly she was. I had read that she was unwell and in her final days but it wasn’t until she stood up that the true extent of those rumours became very real. I took some photos but stopped if Im honest and she limped pass the jeep, her tongue almost at times falling out of her mouth as she no longer has any teeth in there to hold anything in.
I will not publish those few photos of her limping past my jeep or any other that show her in difficulty because I want to remember her in the best way I can as I feel she is on her last legs so to speak and may die very soon. She’s in a bad way, four years ago I had seen her and she looked well, last year I had a brief encounter but nothing special but here I was with my client tucked away, with no other person around watching the Queen Of Ranthambhore as she’s known.
For a number of years the forest department in Ranthambhore have put dead Buffalo out for her to eat as she can no longer hunt and kill her prey having had all her teeth over the years fall out or drop out. She is famous for killing crocodiles here and this is where is legionary status begun and her teeth started to come out. But a recent decision to stop putting food out and let nature take its toll has come into place I’m told. I would like her to dead her way and with some dignity so even though its hard I feel its the right thing to do and let her leave this world as she came in on her own terms.
It was very unsettling because there was life all around her yet her she was in real pain and slowly dyeing before my very eyes. She walked past the jeep and went into the water, backing herself in very slowly and carefully, limping so bad she was almost using three legs instead of four. No images were taken during this time as i watched wanted to get out and help her as I truly hate seeing animals in discomfort but this is a wild Tigress I am talking about and no teeth or not it pays not to get too close and I didn’t want to anyway really.
She settled in the water and stayed for for well over forty mintues, slight moving her position from time to time. While she was doing this the sun was still raising, bathing the whole area is some amazing light. The conditions were beautiful with little wind and no noise we just sat there and took photos of her and watched and it was amazing if I’m honest. This Tigress was written off a while back, presumed dead and here we where feet away from her.
Then without warning she very slowly got up and begun to walk away from our postion. We were able to follow her a bit before she vanished into the dense forests there. All the time her pace was slow and the pain and discomfort she was in was painful to see and watch for me.
She was gone then and that was most probably the final time I will see her alive as she’s really looking weak and very thin, some of the images I have of her walking you can see her pain in her face but those I will never publish but you have to take my word for it they show a Tigress in real trouble and almost at the point of giving in. I hope she goes asleep without pain and does not wake up and is remembered as the most amazing Tigress that even walked the planet if I’m honest.
My client and I had a chat about what we had just witnessed before heading back to our hotel and breakfast. What I had seen though troubled me all day, I took those images to bed with me as I had a few hours of sleep before a quick lunch and then out for our afternoon safari. I went in the other jeep because i rotate myself through both jeeps so all clients have time with me and learn from my experience there as I have had over a hundred plus safaris now in Ranthambhore and I’m still learning about this amazing place I feel.
We were in one of my favourite zones for that afternoons drive, zone Three with its impressive lake and old fort building that litter that part of the national park. It wasn’t long before we heard alarm calls and we saw a male Tiger just sleeping in the tall grass. We made a decision to stay there and just wait for our moment because sooner or later the Tiger will have to move. The without warning he stood up, had a bit of a stretch then disappeared into the tall grass and we didn’t see him again.
We played cat and mouse most of the afternoon really hearing alarm calls and waiting for signs there were Tigers around. It was nice though to sit in a shaded area and watch the place unfold before your eyes. The morning though and those images kept coming to mind as I thought about Machali and if she was ok. I just couldn’t get what i saw out of my mind. Then an alarm call, the place seemed to just got mad and there was news that T19 and her four cubs were around the lake.We waited as often nature can and does tell you whats going on as long as you just read the singals. At that time another big male in the distance headed over the small walkway crossing onto the small island the Tigers often use to sleep out the heat of the day.
Salim our guide then got word where the cubs were and so off we went hanging onto the jeep for dear life, dust flying everywhere intense heat raining down on us as we drove to where they were. Once we arrived there were many other jeeps, all watching a small little island in the distance. The cubs hadn’t been seen alot and here we were engine turned off watching a small peace of land to our front.
Then I heard cameras going off from the other jeeps and we all looked to our front, at this point both of my jeeps were together so all my clients would see these cubs should they show. Then in the far distance, one, two, three and four cubs left their mum- T19 and played a few feet away. They were so far away that the images were not great and this one is the best of a bad bunch as they were so far away.
You can just about see them but fingers crossed we head back tomorrow and they might still be there. Its been an incredible few days so far for all my clients in Ranthambhore. Amazing sightings of wild Bengal Tigers and some special moments already. We have lots of time and days left in front of us so fingers crossed we have more great luck and more great sightings. Im off to bed now as its late here in India and another early start beckons shorlty. I hope you have enjoyed my posts so far and the future ones, all the best from Ranthambhore, India.
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.
Being among nature is a place I belong and feel most at easy at so its been great to get back out with my camera recently to start photographing the beautiful wildlife on the lead up to spring, the favorite time of year for me. With the issues with rain and flooding over the last several weeks it has delayed some of the projects I have planned for this year. The rain though, fingers crossed seems to have given us the worst and as many communities are still underwater around the UK my sympathies go to them.
Wildlife hasn’t had a great time either with vast areas of the countryside underwater where many animals have suffered like illustrated with the images above of a Short-eared Owl trying to hunt but for miles around all the fields with flooded, quite a sad and upsetting thing for me to see as I really felt for this owl while I recently watched him to to hunt.
I have started working on my Great Crested Grebes project, a bird I love, their elegant pose, their beautiful markings and stunning plumage makes them one of the most handsome water dwelling birds in the UK in my eyes. They are the largest of the European Grebes and during the spring and summer they are such a striking bird, with their spectacular head, ruff and spiky head tuffs when they greet each other or display during courtship.
Last year I photographed these birds at the same site but was unable to go back at the start of the breeding season due to commitments, so this year I’m hoping to capture them as they build their bond between each other and go through their amazing courtship dance where they dive for weed, surfacing with this in their bills and offer it to one another while sharply turning their heads back and forth.
In between the pouring rain there have been breaks in the weather and I have spent alot time there now, the lives of these amazing birds played out before me on each visit. They show real love and care for each other, when one goes out of sight the other calls in an attempt to locate its mate, such a strong bond which is so lovely to witness.
I am using a hide on the shore to photograph this pair of Grebes, just on the water’s edge and not in the water as this disturbs the birds and other species of animals around too much. Getting there before the sun comes up, with the dawn chorus as my companion, each bird jockeying for their own patch, staking their clam to that bit of land.
The are many species of birds there too, all starting to defend their patch so to speak, most are vocal from before dawn onward and there seems lots of fighting and warning off others in readiness to find a lady and breed. I love to watch and capture animal behavior and by doing so you learn so much more about your subject over time. I managed to capture a full frontal of the male Goldeneye here, if luck is on your side and if you get the head face on they can have a real evil look to them as in the image below.
Canada Geese calling and fighting break the mornings silence many times during my recent visits there, I only wished these images had sound.It’s such an amazing time of day and one you greatly benefit from for being among its beauty and peace. The water levels are still high here so im hoping everything settles down and things can return to normal as soon as possible for people and wildlife really.
I really am hoping to spend as much time at this site over the next several weeks before I leave for Sumatra for two weeks where I will be working and shadowing the amazing work of SOCP – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, headed up by Dr Ian Singleton, but more news on the very soon.
In the meantime I have some 2015 dates for my photo tours now up on my website click here to view them. My One to Ones now in their fifth year are as popular as ever so if you’d like to learn more about everything from fieldcraft, to subject knowledge to your own photography then click here to see the places I visit with clients.
I will update my blog with more images from this site in due coarse, I wish you all well with the weather and the forthcoming season of Spring, many thanks.