Friday, 27 May 2011

Hello again, hope everyone has been out and about enjoying the sun if you've had some! This will be my last update for a while as I head out to Romania on Sunday June 5th for two weeks to work on the Transylvanian Wildlife Project, it goes without saying that I am very excited and looking forward to meeting the rest of the team and getting stuck into photographing and studying the ecosystem out there. I will try to post a quick update from the field but no promises! I will however provide a detailed account when I get home hopefull with some wonderful images.

But for now back to what's been happening here in Somerset. I have had another day out on the levels with the macro lens and a great deal of success. Not only was it wonderful to be down there in the peace and quiet with all the wildlife around in the sunshine, but to see so many damselflies and dragonflies was fanatstic. So I have a couple of images from the day out on Wednesday, the first is of a damselfly. This image is a little more artistis and took some skill in capturing due to the strong winds blowing the grass in and out of focus, but I have gone for a shallow depth of field to give the impression of this little critter coming out of the green towards you, hope you like him!

The second image is off something that is rarely seen let alone photographed, look away now if you are scared of spiders! This image shows two mating soldier beetles with a crab spider biting the female beetle. By moving myself I managed to get the spider face on so you can see its face and all its eyes, and if you look carefully you can see the black heart marking on the back of the soldier beetles.

I've not only been busy with the bugs, I have also been photographing, as well as playing in, the Bath touch rugby summer league. I actually did a lot of sports photography when I was at school so it is really nice to have the opportunity to do it again now, even if it is just for fun! I've included the link to the summer league album, I will be updating it on a regular basis with images form the league and cup competitions, hope you enjoy browsing through them: Touch Rugby.

Well, time for me to go and get things organised and ready for the trip to Romania. Have a great bank holiday weekend and I will be back online soon. In the meantime you can keep up to date with images through my flickr account Flickr or why not pop over to my brand spanking new Facebook page: Facebook.

Monday, 16 May 2011

One of my Favourite subjects

Before things get too hectic with planning and packing for Romania, less than 3 weeks now, I decided to take myself off for the day to spend some time with and photograph one of my favourite subjects........swans down at Abbotsbury in Dorset. At this time of year the cygnets are hatching out and once they have dried off there really isn't much cutier baby birds, all fluffy and not quite able to walk! Despite the wind I had a truely wonderful day and with the freedom to be as creative as I like I came home with some shots that I have fallen in love with, not to mention feeling privileged to be able to see newly hatched cygnets still wet. Here is the first image, two cygnets snuggled up close to mum, these are only a day old at most.  

The second photo is a little more arty. A few years back I tried an infra-red black and white 35mm film on a trip to New Zealand and fell in love with it and the real magical feel that it gave to images. This film is now very hard to come by with most things being digital and I have long investigated a way to optain the same effect. Well..... with a new computer and new software I can now achieve the same effect. So the second photo is again of a cygnet, in black and white and processed to look like it was taken with 35mm infra-red black and white film, it gives a really soft, fluffy and dreamy appearance to the image.

This was the first time I had ever visited Abbotsbury and would definately recommend it, one thing to bear in mind is that all the swans are wild, it is a sanctuary not a captive environment, we should feel very humbled by the fact that these swans feel safe and comfortable enough to nest in such close proximity to humans and allow us to share these moments.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Macro Work on the Somerset Levels

Following on from my first photograph of a damselfy a couple of weeks ago, I have spent a growing amount of time concentrating on photographing the other insects and bugs that are around on the Somerset Levels, in particular at Westhay Moor Reserve. With damselflies, spiders and various other invertebrates everywhere it was hard to choose where to start, but as I was surrounded by damselflies this seemed a good place to begin! Although I have taken a few identification shots, it is the more artistic and different shots that I was aiming for, including ones to try to illustrate the characters of the insects in question. This first image is one of my favourites from the day and did result in me being stung by nettles in more places than you can imagine, but I hope you will agree that it was well worth it! This damselfly had just finished eating an unidentified insect and the way that it was cleaning itself really appealed to me, it looks like it may have been a very tasty bug!

For a slightly different angle, this is a different damselfly that had just caught the insect that it is making quick work of and illustrates the hunter in the grass side of these small and beautiful creatures (unless you are on the menu!).

Something a little different now, it is not only insects that I have been working with, the warm days and cold nights that we have been having have produced some wonderful dew drops, I found this dandelion seed head complete with dew drops, I decided to go for a slightly softer focus approach to create a very peaceful image of a well known plant that we perhaps take for granted.

If you are interested in seeing a few more shots from my days on the levels so far, you can check them out on my website or flickr page Somerset Levels Flickr Set, I will be spending more time down there over the coming weeks along with a special day out with a subject that I love, but you'll have to wait for that one, not giving too much away!!

Away from the photography side of work, I am currently working on 2 separate talks, one is a general talk about what I do and the projects I have and am currently working on with plenty of photos and videos aimed at a wide range of groups and the second is more technical talk that goes into more depth about how particular images were achieved and the settings used to obtain certain effects which will be geared towards those more a very keen interest in photography. If you are interested in either of the talks please drop me an email and I will send you more details. Email: Talk Information

Until next time, enjoy the sun and keep fingers crossed for some rain!