Saturday, 14 December 2013

Wild Somerset Photographer of the Year

I am very honoured and happy to announce that I have been named Wild Somerset Photographer of the Year 2013. This means a more than I can say to me as Somerset is not only my home but an incredible county for nature and wildlife with so much diversity which changes with the seasons. With over 3000 entries in it's first year it really shows the love and popularity of people getting out with their cameras in Somerset to capture wildlife and landscapes all around them and I would like to extend a huge congratulations to all the winners, highly commended and runners up for their wonderful images. 

So here is my winning image, my Somerset Otter which is the one image above all others that reminds me of why I dedicate my life to what I do and why I love it so much. 

I have also been awarded a Highly Commended for my "The Weevil And The Fern" image that was taken at Westhay Moor, another really special image to me and one that has really kick started not only a real love of bugs but also challenges to find new ways to photograph them to make people think differently about them. 

I will be on BBC Radio Somerset this Tuesday (17th December) at 1pm along with some of the other winners and highly commended photographers from the competition talking about our images. You will be able to listen on 95.5FM and 1566MW, online and on your mobile. Really looking forward to meeting the other photographers and having chance to chat about all things wild Somerset. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

News and Autumn Colours


It's been a while as things have been crazy busy over the last few weeks with the webinar, which was a great success and for anyone that wasn't able to join us I will post the link to the recorded version as soon as it is available for anyone that did join us thank you so much for making it fun and asking lots of great questions and I must say a huge thank you to Dave and Giorgio from the School of Xcellence for a great webinar.

I have just announced the first two dates for my Creative Nature workshops which will take place in April in Somerset, I will be covering many different aspects of getting creative with your subject and awakening your more creative side. The workshops will take place on Saturday 26th April and Sunday 27th April (both days are exactly the same) and the day costs just £80 per person with a maximum of 6 people per day. This price includes a full days tuition plus lunch, teas, coffees and biscuits. For more details or to book your place here's the link, I'm hoping to announce the dates for autumn soon.

In other news the Christmas craft market season has started! Unfortunately due to other commitments the dates are limited this year, but as some of you know I do these markets with my mum and we combine our talents to create some truly unique gifts made with love perfect for that special someone many of which are only available through the craft markets. So here are the dates for the remaining markets this year:

Friday 29th November
Lady's Pamper Night, High Littleton Church Hall, 
High Littleton, BS39 6HF, 8pm - 11pm

Saturday 30th November
Warminster Civic Centre, BA12 8LB
Warminster, 10am — 5pm

Saturday 7th December
Bath Guildhall, BA1 5AW
Bath 10am - 4pm

Sunday 8th December
Salisbury Guildhall, SP1 1JH
Salisbury, 10am — 4pm

I now have just a handful of 2014 Borneo calendars left in stock and once they're gone they're gone, I will be taking them to the craft markets but they will also remain available through the shop on my website as are the last remaining packs of Christmas Cards featuring dormice. I do have a few small and large gifts sets available through my shop as well. 

I have also added three brand new canvas sets to my shop, these are sets of three full wrap high quality 10 x 10 inch canvases featuring either British wildlife in sepia, poppies or frogs from Borneo. Each set is made to order and costs just £130 which includes courier service and I will have the British wildlife and poppy sets at the craft markets, so here they are:

I'm looking to add more sets in the coming months along with different sizes, as soon as these are available I will let you know. There are going to be some big changes over the coming months with a complete re-vamp of this blog and website and the way that prints will be available. I'm working on this now and hoping to launch it all in the New Year with other exciting news for 2014. 

Everything is still going very well in Transylvania with the research, footage is coming in thick and fast and I am busy going through it all and putting together another article for my Explorers Journal. You can keep up to date my clicking on the link to the left of this page. So that's about it for news at the moment, I have started a brand new project which will be kept under wraps for now but what I will say is that it is based right here in Somerset! 

Despite being crazy busy, I have managed a couple of outings with my camera to capture some wonderful autumn colours, so I will leave you with just a couple of images to wet your appetite and will post more very soon including fungi and the odd bird. Whatever you get up to in the coming weeks, have fun, stay safe and hope to see you at one of the craft markets.  

Liquid Gold - A lone leaf drifting along among the golden reflections 
Green to Rusty - the changing colours of the leaves
The Mighty Oak - Taken through the branches and leaves of an ancient oak tree
The Colours of Autumn - Acer tree with beautiful red colours to encompass autumn
Artistic Autumn - variety of colours in just one tree
The Colour Gold - Sun lighting up the beautiful golden yellow colours of the leaves

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Christmas Craft Fairs


Things have been just a little crazy here recently with gearing up for the Christmas craft markets and preparing to completely re-work my whole website and preparing for a re-launch in the New Year along with brand new workshops. First of all, below if the list of events for this year where you will be able to buy some fantastic handmade items and original photographs, all these events are a collaboration between me and mum so there is a great mixture of items, don't forget many are one offs so once they are gone that's it and they start this Saturday. During this time you will also be able to buy many of the gift sets and card collections through my website although there will be some items that will only be available at the craft markets. 

Saturday 2nd November
Warminster Civic Centre, BA12 8LB
Warminster, 10:30am - 1pm

Saturday 16th November
Doulting Village Hall, BA4 4PL
Doulting 10am - 4pm

Friday 29th November
Lady's Pamper Night, High Littleton Church Hall, 
High Littleton, BS39 6JD, 8pm onwards

Saturday 30th November
Warminster Civic Centre, BA12 8LB
Warminster, 10am — 4pm

Saturday 7th December
Bath Guildhall, BA1 5AW
Bath 10am - 4pm

Sunday 8th December
Salisbury Guildhall, SP1 1JH
Salisbury, 10am — 4pm

Just before I move onto news of changes, I am running another webinar for the Manfrotto School of Xcellence on Thursday 14th November at 4pm (GMT) all about creative nature, I will be covering light, composition, monochrome and also taking photos at night all the time following the theme of creative images. If you would like to register for this webinar here is the link: 

So, away from the craft markets there have been many changes that have been discussed and the ball is now rolling on these. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have decided (after much discussion) to completely re-vamp my website with a brand new design and layout, only my artistic and creative images will be on show and alongside this I will be launching a brand new series of workshops for 2014 based around creative nature photography. Fear not you will still be able to see many more of what I call my standard images through my Flickr and Facebook pages. More details on these and brand new talks later in the year when they are finalised along with some other very exciting news so stay tuned! All these changes will include my blog as I will be making everything come into line with each other in terms of design, but the web address will remain the same. 

I am also very honoured to announce that I have been awarded as a nominee in the professional category for wildlife in the Black and White Spider awards with my image of an Atlantic Grey Seal titled "The Yawn" and here it is:

Aside from all the exciting changes, I have managed a couple of adventures out and about with my camera to capture Autumn and I will share some of these images with you in the next post.................

Friday, 30 August 2013

Frogs, just frogs

Hello! Things have been a little hectic since my return from Romania a few weeks ago with getting stuff together for a fund-raising weekend and working on getting all the new stock together ready the autumn and Christmas craft markets. But I haven't forgotten about my promise of a post dedicated to frogs and here it is at last! All these images were taken in the pond in my parents garden so it just proves that you can create a wonderful wildlife habitat and don't need to go far for some wonderful images.For a long time I have wanted to photograph common frogs in duck weed, just one of those things I wanted to do and there certainly was a very thick blanket of the stuff on the pond. I had popped over to help clean up the pond and cut back the plants that had got wildly out of control and ended up spending a large amount of time photographing the froggies! Here are just a few of my favourite images from that afternoon/day working on the pond, I have to say they really are charismatic little creatures all slightly different in appearance and slightly different in attitude it would seem with oncoming closer and closer to the lens! Without further ado here they are both in colour and in black and white, enjoy! 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the images as much as I enjoyed taking them. I'm happy to say that we did complete the work we needed to on the pond that day although we are still working on some aspects to make it more wildlife friendly. Aside from the good population of frogs, there is at least one toad although a little camera shy, some newts and for the first time in years a dragonfly has been spotted! I feel I will be spending some time in over the next year investigating the pond and also the rest of the garden, you would be surprised how many of my images are taken so close to home! 

Time to go and get everything ready for the first craft market of the season, if you are in the area we will be at the Guildhall in Shaftesbury from 10am - 4pm with some of the new stock, including the brand new card collections and small gift sets. If you have not read it yet, my next journal entry is up and running just click on the Nat Geo link to the side of this post, it's all about arthropods and why there is so much diversity and abundance in Transylvania. 

I am now taking bookings for talks in 2014, so if you are a member of club that you think will be interested please do get in touch, I tailor every talk to the interests of the group I am talking too, so whether it's nature locally or from far flung places, I have something for everyone! 

Whatever you are up to, have a great weekend. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Hedgehogs & Fawns

As promised here is the post dedicated to baby hedgehogs and deer fawns. Following my return from my last trip to Romania I went to pay the lovely people down at Secret World another visit to photograph the deer fawns for them and while I was there we took some shots of some baby hedgehogs that had come in the night before. I really cannot emphasize enough the vital work they carry out at Secret World, rescuing and taking in orphaned and injured wildlife, nursing them back to health when they can and then releasing them back to their nature habitat, the wild. I feel very privileged to be able to help them out by providing them with high quality and sometimes very different images to use in their publicity and fund raising. So, here goes with an overload of cuteness, and remember if you wish to purchase any of these images a donation from every sale will go to Secret World to help feed and care for the animals, just drop me a message.

There is going to be a big Winter Wonderland fundraising auction and ball on Saturday 2nd November at the Webbington Hotel to raise money for Secret World, hosted by BBC Presenter Tom Heap with both silent and main auctions. It promises to be a fantastic night of food, entertainment and great company and I will be there so how about booking your ticket now and joining us for the night, tickets are just £38!

So please come and join us and by having a great evening you will be helping these little guys and all their friends!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Orchids & Insects

Well hello, I am now writing this post from Transylvania where it is currently raining but it is very much needed here as I'm sure it is at home. I have been here nearly a week now and I can say it has been interesting, the water has been intermittent at best but there's always a way to cope and always fun finding those ways! Field trips have been frequent and we now have camera traps in the field collecting vital night time data for us, but to read more about that you will need to head over to my National Geographic Journal where I will post an entry very soon. For now though, this post is dedicated to orchids (something until now I have never photographed in the UK) and a few insects I found whilst looking for the orchids, so here goes......

First up is the beautiful bee orchid, the only one left in flower by the time I was able to get to photograph them, but what a beautiful orchid it is and I really went to town on this one, using a star burst filter and also monochrome for a more artistic image. 

Next up we have a variety of marsh orchids on all shapes, sizes and colours! 

And finally, to close the post a few of the wonderful buggies I found whilst photographing the orchids

And one of my favourite bugs of the moment, although they are a challenge to photograph especially on hot days, the humble grasshopper! 

So that's all from me for this post, time to edit some videos for my Explorers Journal and start preparing another entry, but don't forget there are still plenty more images to come including fawns, hedgehogs and froggies! 

Just before I leave you, here is a sneak preview of the new packs cards that will be available real soon from craft markets and through my website. Each pack contains 6 cards and envelopes, either one of each design (Borneo Wildlife, British Wildlife, British Flower) or two of each design (Poppies, Orang-utans). 

and the 2014 calendar which is available now to pre-order through my website, this year the calendar is all about Borneo and is available to pre-order only, it will not be available to buy through craft markets, but you have until 31st October to place your order! To order your calendar click here: Order 2014 Calendar

Ok, until next time, happy snapping and keep safe! 

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Hello! I have to say I am loving this great weather we're having here in the South West at the moment I've been out most days with my camera exploring new areas and new subjects reigniting my creative side and popped down to visit my friends at Secret World. I certainly have a lot of images to go through now ready to share with you, so I've decided on several short, image rich posts dedicated to the different subjects and outings I've so far managed to get in. Now I know it might seem a little early to be thinking of Christmas especially given the weather, but that it what we have been doing. Mum and I are busy getting stock ordered and made ready for the Autumn and Christmas run of craft markets which include some brand new small gift sets, a new range of cards and a Borneo 2014 calendar (will be pre-order only details to follow shortly).

First up are poppies, something that I have been wanting to photograph for a long time but always seem to miss the flowering but with everything being a little bit later this year has worked in my favour. I jumped in my car and headed just over the border into Wiltshire to a small field of poppies in lovely afternoon light armed with just a couple of lenses and a bottle of water. Up until now I have never photographed poppies so didn't really know where to start so jumped in and took a few general images to begin with.

From there I went for some more artistic images of a single poppy flowers and unopened flower heads and even used back lighting to highlight the tiny hairs on the stems. So here are some of my favourites from my afternoon with these iconic British flowers, I hope you like them, they have all been taken with a Canon 7D with a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens by far my favourite combination. If you are interested in more technical details just drop me a message and I'd be happy to share. 


I have to admit flowers have not been a major subject of mine until now but having the chance to go to town on just one subject at the time I am really enjoying the challenge and will definitely be visiting this location again next year and for the first time ever these will be offered as a pack of 6 cards including envelopes with 2 of each of the following 3 images priced at £5 per pack from craft markets (list is now available on my website) or through the shop on my website priced at £8 or £10 depending on where you would like them posted, will be available in about a months time:

This is not the only new card selection available, there will also be British wildlife, British flowers, Borneo and orang-utans more details to follow in a future post, currently busy processing the images ready to send off to the printers for proofing. 

So this is it for poppies, still to come are orchids, insects, deer fawns and hedgehogs and full details of all the new card packs available and the 2014 calendar. It is also time for me to head back out to Transylvania for another 2 weeks in the field, don't forget to follow my stories from the field on my National Geographic Explorers journal, just posted a new article about a visit to a bear sanctuary. 

Stories from the Field

That's it for now, next post in a few days, time to start packing! 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Apple Blossom, White bluebells & 1st trip to Romania

After the wedding and honeymoon there have been a few quiet days to unpack, ease back into life gently, ok not the last part! Chris was back to work straight away as was I preparing for my first trip to Romania to head up the research but more about that a little later. 

I had a couple of weeks at home to get some photography in and I made the most of the bumper crop of apple blossom this year. I don't think I have ever see it so vibrant and smelly so strongly in my life and there was a lot of it too! Not one to miss an opportunity off I went with camera and macro lens in hand ready to get creative and here are just a few of the images (there will be more uploaded to my website in the coming weeks):


I do hope that we get the right weather and a good crop of apple this year there is nothing quite like picking an apple straight from the tree and eating it there and then! But it was not just the apple blossom that caught my eye, we have some stunning white bluebells in the garden as well and these (had we had a spring like 2012 were going to be a additional to my wedding bouquet). Not to worry, I now had a great opportunity to spend several days photographing these beautiful flowers. I have been trying to let my creative juices flow more with my photography as this is what I really enjoy and on this occasion I don't think I took a standard image, so here are just a few of my white bluebells:


 And my personal favourite which I have called "wedding bells"

I had a lot of fun getting creative with these flowers and love the results, as always you can see all the technical details for these images on my website where you can also purchase them in various forms. Unfortunately for now although I am busy taking photographs (when it's not raining) I cannot share them directly with you, but I can share the link to my National Geographic Explorers Journal on which I am posting photos from the National Geographic funded research in Transylvania, Romania. We are a team of four conducting the research and you can meet three members of the team along with an introduction to the work we are doing and also the area in my first post. I will be posting fairly regularly and this is the only way to keep up to date and see some of the incredible images being produced, so here is the link:

I am currently in Romania and will be returning home on 19th June to continue with my work and also working on the identification work for the project. Hopefully I will have more images and news from my work soon. Until then, enjoy the sunshine I hear the UK is getting at the moment!