I have been working on a project for a few weeks now where I have been trying to capture one of my favorite birds,the beautiful ‘Whooper Swan’.This shy bird is the biggest of our swans and on the north-west coast there is in places a high population of these birds.with its long,flat forehead and yellow bill its a beautiful bird. I have been spending as much time as possible watching these birds,where they go,where they fly to and feed,the way the sun sets hoping to capture them in an almost ‘Watercolour’ painting effect inspired by my friend and wildlife artist Ian Griffiths (Griff) who paints wildlife for a living and has some amazing work,click his name and see his beautiful work
I watched for some time how they made their approach into their roost and tried where possible to get level with them so I could give the impression I was level and flying alongside them.One of the key things I tell people is the need to get to know your subject and how they move, how/where they live, all key factors to getting that all important photograph.Mother Nature gives clues to us and I show people how to read these and get close without impacting on their lives and in turn making for better ‘Wildlife Photography’
They where so beautiful to watch and for such a large bird where very graceful when flying and landing.I also heard their loud trumpeting call ‘Whoop-Whoop-Whoop’ hence there name ‘Whooper Swan’ I hope you enjoy some of the images I took and this time of year they live on large lakes,marshes,rivers,estuaries and fields so look out for these beautiful Swans when out out and about
WildPhotos 2009is a UK-based conservation charity working to promote conservation through wildlife imagery and media and yesterday I traveled to The Royal Geographical Society in London to spend the day listening to the many great wildlife photographers who give up their time for this great cause.They take you through their present work,share their knowledge and offer insights into ‘Life In The Field’
I was very impressed by all the work and met up with some photographers I’ve met over time.The day started at 9.30am and went until 6.00pm with lunch included, and it was brilliant and would recommend anyone who has a interest in the natural world to go next year. My two favorite shows where by‘Britta Jaschinski’ and ‘Vincent Munier’.
Britta photography’s wildlife in an unconventional way using black and white to convey their beauty.The images that made the most impact for me where the haunting images of animals in confined spaces resulting in here book called Zoo breathtaking images.Vincent Munier’spresentation was nothing short of breathtaking where he showed a series of some of his finest work with a beautiful soundtrack of operatic music.
I love his distinctive style of photography,so simple and breathtaking to view.He told me that he regards photography as a way of remaining close to nature and his images as having great power to move people,his approach,and manner is inspiring and for me he is the best wildlife photographer around. Click on his name and it will take you to his sight and just enjoy.
I had a brillant time and I wish everyone I met all the best and I hope thatWildPhotosgoes from strength to strength.
Went to Bradgate Park today in Leicestershire to photograph Red Deer during their rut and I was amazed at how close you can get to these beautiful animals.
The park is owned by the National Trust, the habitat is mainly open grassland but there is rocky/rugged outcrops scattered across the park.There is a small stream to your right as you go through the gate and my tip is to follow this until you come to a stone bridge on your right, cross the bridge and this is the best place for ‘backlit’ shots of the deer in this field as the sun comes up in front of you.A 300mm lens and above will be fine as they are quite approachable.
The deer rut takes place in October and in the early morning light it is often possible to backlight the stags roaring in the field I mentioned.You will need to arrive while it is still dark to get into position on time.The car park will be closed then but there is limited parking on the road,walk into the park and through the gates then follow the stream and good luck.
My photograph taken of a female Barn Owl with prey flying over farmland in Norfolk at dawn made it to the final 50 in the ‘Countryfile Photographic Competition 2009’, chosen from nearly 33,000 entries.Joe Brand had picked my image out on the programme on BBC1 as one she liked saying ‘I liked this,a barn owl flying home with food’
The image was taken in the first rays of sunlight and I got into place at around 4.00am and waited, then this female dived for something to my front and I followed her in my camera’s viewfinder as she flew straight towards me with this vole she had caught.With the poor light it was hard to get any shutter speed to freeze the action and out of many this one was the best with this beautiful pink,morning light as the sun came up in the left of this photo.
A moment I will treasure forever and never forget as Barn Owl’s are one of my favorite birds and to have seen this was great.
My “Dippers Of The Dale” article I wrote and supplied the images to in October’s issue of Birdwatching Magazine has had a great response from it’s readers and colleagues and friends of mine.The Dipper has been a bird that has captivated me since I was a small boy and Lathkill Dale NNR in the Peak District is a beautiful place and one of the best place’s in the country to see these amazing ‘Masters of the river’ as I call them
A sample of the response’s can be seen below in an email sent to the Editor Of Birdwatching Magazine;
Dear Editor-Bird Watching Magazine, I wish to congratulate Craig Jones on his article(October 2009 Edition-Birdwatching Magazine)on the continuing bad behaviour of some dog walkers in Lathkill Dale in the Peak District.Reading his article I was powerfully reminded of witnessing dogs encouraged to enter the water by their owners whilst walking in Lathkill Dale earlier this year.As a keen birdwatcher,I wrote to the Peak District National Park Authorityand to Natural england and received helpful letters from them both.
The rules talk about the requirement to keep a dog under ‘close control’ but as Craig indicates in his article,this is clearly not sufficient.The Natural England correspondent wrote that is was their view that a requirement to keep all dogs on leads would not tackle the persistent offenders.I am afraid that dog proof fencing of the waters is now required as Craig seem’s to suggest.In any case,I would like to encourage visitors to the Dales to report incidents of poorly controlled effort to promote stricter protection for the Dipper and the other wildlife.
Dr D Brawn
The situation is affecting a lot of visitor’s to this area and many other places around the country where freshwater meets Dogs and Dippers/Wildlife and the more the issue is raised the more people will know and maybe something will change.I would like to thank Matt Merritt/Features Editor for allowing me to highlight this issue in such a great manner in your magazine and hopefully I can keep your readers up to date with developments to see if anything has changed there.
I hope to educate others to change our approach on how we view wildlife so we can conserve the beauty around us and protect the Dipper,to allow future generations to enjoy the same charismatic behaviour that sparked my love for this bird.
My Image ‘Family Life’ in the ‘Habitat’ category was commended and short-listed from thousands of entries and forms part of the BWPA Exhibition touring the country over the next ten months.
The image is a photographic account of life for a family of Shag’s on the rocky stacks/cliffs of Staple Island, one of the many islands that make up the Farnes.Shags are part of the Cormorant family and their name ‘Shag’ refers to their prominet crest on the front of their heads.
In this photograph I wanted to capture the adult to the left and the mother with the chicks to the right, the mainland can be seen in the distance, and also the shag’s nest of rotting seaweed and twigs held together by the birds own guano can be seen on the right.I got covered in guano obtaining this photograph, by lying in it for sometime to obtain this ‘POV’. They are a beautiful bird with their dark, glossy green plumage and have a ‘Prehistoric’ look about them
I had a lovely evening at the private viewing at Hoopers Gallery,London on the 23rd of September and it was an honour to have one of my images shortlisted and chosen by the judges, I met some very nice people also at the awards,brilliant and inspiring images on show in a lovely gallery.
To see where the Exhibition will be please click on the following link BWPA
I wish the BWPA all the sucess in the future and thanks for a great night.