Ive just returned from one of my favourite places in the UK, Norfolk. Having not been there for a few months it was good to reacquaint myself with some of the best places to view this wonderful countys wildlife. Outside of my one to ones I spent some time photographing my own work so the time flew by far too quickly. The weather was really kind, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets in stark contrast to the weather leading up to my visit.
Norfolk is the birth place of one of England’s greatest heroes, Admiral Lord Nelson, born in the village of Burnham Thorpe. He was destined for greatness from a young age, going on to lead our fabulous Royal Navy. The Vice Admiral, died on board HMS Victory on 21 October 1805, and was reportedly proud of his Norfolk roots and referred to them in a victory speech. Now Norfolk has returned the favour by calling itself “Nelson’s County” on new road signs. Norfolk is one of England’s most beautiful counties with its legendary big skies and vast beaches, it’s a paradise for wildlife 12 months of the year.
The dawn light is one thing I truly love, a sense of warmth and being alive fills me upon seeing the new dawn break, and there is no better time in the day for me. After the recent wet weather I got really lucky as she was being kind to me and my clients whilst on their one to one, where I cover the many places, going through help and advice within this amazing county.
Across natures calendar the breeding cycle is coming to an end and in most parts animals are feeding their last offspring. With only the slight high pitched begging call gracing the countryside as you walk around. Most wildlife now are resting, feeding and building up their own body weight in order to have enough strength to migrate to warm climites during the next 3 to 4 weeks. There are those that stay with us all year, where they now have more time, having reared their families. We also welcome our winter visitors very soon, with the small advance parties of waders, and geese having already arrived from their summer breeding grounds here in Norfolk.
While I was driving from the different sites I noticed that there were many poppies starting to bloom, showing their distinctive red colour among the blander colours of the countryside. This image below is as shot where a wall of trees was holding back the sun’s rays, with only a few rays penetrating through and falling onto this lone poppy growing at the roadside. It instinctively caught my eye, with the sun lighting up the colours and finer details of this beautiful flower, showing sometimes the simplest of images are all around us.
A large part of my time was spent looking for Barn Owls and to see how they’d all got on throughout the last few months. I visited several sites and the adult owls were showing well, hunting in the various forms of light I had, from beautiful sunlight to a little overcast on one of the several days I was there. When you are showing clients around a place you know so well its great when a chosen subject you’ve spoke about turns up and I am really glad to say the Barn Owls gave my clients the opportunity to witness them at work, quartering and hunting in pure silence.
Gliding effortless over the farmland, always scanning the ground below. Amazing birds that have captivated me from childhood with their sudden appearance, gaining eye contact with you for a split second then disappearing as quick as they arrived. They truly are the masters of this habitat, never failing to get your heart rate racing once they appear and go about the job they were so well equipped to do.
A pleasure to see and photograph after the two extreme cold spells they’ve endured in 2010 and 2011. I will be returning to Norfolk next week with one to ones as the Spring tides start in earnest again. These happen 2-3 times a month throughout the autumn and winter months. These spring tides are the biggest and best tides for witnessing the thousands of birds roosting on the mudflats, being pushed closer to shore. Sights and sounds of nature that are amazing and never forgotten so I’m really looking forward to these days and capturing a different take on this breathtaking event in nature.
I’ve been running one to ones on these days now for sometime, where we spend the morning watching this amazing spectacular in nature, then the rest of the day we photograph Barn owls, Waders and the winter migrants that slowly arrive on mass throughout the next month or so. I have a few places left also for this years Winter Waders in Norfolk, a full 3 day, 2 night photo trip showing you these and more wonderful sights during the winter months.
GDT / European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011
My photograph “Spring Tide” capturing thousands of waders taking off during a Norfolk spring tide made the final of this prestigious award. With several of my images making the quarter, semi-finals also. The image captures the movement of those birds by using a slow shutter speed, giving the image a real sense of movement. With nearly 1000 photographers from 39 countries, who entered almost 14,000 pictures into this GDT competition. My image made the final in the Bird category.
The European “eye” as I call it has always greatly inspired me and my own work, capturing more of the story behind the photograph and subject, showing the habitat and brilliant, simple compositions makes this competition one of my favourites, with some truly amazing images. Many thanks to my clients over the last several days, hope you enjoyed Norfolk, for more information on my one to ones or photo trips I run the please send me an email here .