Wildlife Diary: Burley Bursting with Life

Blackcap singing on branch

 

3/4/2017
It was the last couple of hours I had free before I had to head to London, and I knew exactly where I spending them. This was the last chance I'd get this year to photograph the toads gathering and mating up on Ilkley Moor.

 

I had already made two previous trips but the conditions were poor. I was hoping that this time it might be third time lucky and the conditions might just be right... for the next couple of hours at least. As I dreamed of the award winning photos awaiting me up on Ilkley Moor, I jumped in the car and turned the key in the ignition... Nothing. I tried turning the key again... and again... and again. The car was not going to start and I did not have enough time to walk.

 

Frustrated and annoyed I accepted defeat but by now I really needed to unravel the rage that was gripping me. At this moment, there was only one place that could release me from my monsters. The river. Continue reading Wildlife Diary: Burley Bursting with Life

Stuck in the Middle of Middleham Moor

Horse jump, fence Middleham Moor I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "there's worse places to be stuck than on Middleham Moor..."
A train stuck between two stations after someone's nicked the copper from the railway line?
Stuck in the city, waiting for the night bus among a crowd of strangers who've evidently had a better night than you?
Or stuck in the ninth circle of hell, also known as the M25?!

 

Yes, there are indeed hundreds of worse places to be stuck but getting stuck; like getting lost, can sometimes be a good thing. Continue reading Stuck in the Middle of Middleham Moor

Good Photos from Bad Weather

Dramatic landscape with strong light and shadows Walking up a hill in driving wind, rain, sleet and snow might not be everyone's idea of a fun morning but I actually find it quite exhilarating!

 

On this occasion, the motivation behind my "mad dogs and Englishmen" behaviour is to make a Youtube video demonstrating how bad weather can produce cracking photos.

 

The result is a fantastic example of just how quickly the British weather can change...

 

Here's some of the photos from the morning...

 

Photo Book of the Month: Laura El-Tantawy’s Post Script

Post-Script photo book by Laura El-Tantawy "Standing in the Shadow of the Pyramids,
The beginning meets the end.
Here I choose to my bury my most valued possession,
In a place I once called home." - Laura El-Tantawy

 

I came across Laura El-Tantawy's work at last year's Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery. Although El-Tantawy didn't win the prize, for me, her work was the most engaging, topical and compelling of all the other shortlisted works... By a country mile.  Continue reading Photo Book of the Month: Laura El-Tantawy’s Post Script

Photo Book of the Month: Tessa Bunney’s Järvenjää/Lakeice

Lakeice, Tessa Bunney - Photo Book of the Month   Play the word association game with me and if you say Bradford, I'll say Impressions Gallery. I can't visit the city centre without a trip to this special photography gallery.   So when we recently traveled to Bradford registry to record the birth of our newborn boy, of course I dragged the family to check out the gallery's latest exhibition (Kurt Tong's 'The Queen, The Chairman and I'). After checking out the exhibition I took the customary browse around the book shop. Continue reading Photo Book of the Month: Tessa Bunney’s Järvenjää/Lakeice

A Sweet But All Too Short Affair With Royalty

Kingfisher caught mid-flight wings open Despite being a keen naturalist from an early age, I've always tried to avoid wildlife photography. I found the idea of it too time consuming, too expensive, too niche and too competitive. Over the years however, slowly but surely I've found my camera pointing more and more at the natural world.

 

When I finally succumbed to the idea and began to actively seek wildlife to photograph, I promised myself that the one species I wouldn't pursue with my lens was the Kingfisher. I felt that this was a bird that had already been photographed from every possible angle and it would be impossible to find a new way of photographing it. Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, racing through village with my camera, hoping to catch a glimpse, anticipating that exhilarating flash of royal blue! Continue reading A Sweet But All Too Short Affair With Royalty

Head Above the Clouds on Ilkley Moor

Cloud inversion settled over the Lower Wharedale Valley

 

It's a dark, foggy Monday morning. The kind of morning that makes everything feel like a drag, even, no especially, getting out of bed.

 

Despite the dull, dank start to the day and a touch of man flu, I force myself up and out of the house. Commuters have already begun their autonomous walk to the train station. As I drive passed these shadowy figures, draped in murky cloud, I start praying that my hunch is correct. Continue reading Head Above the Clouds on Ilkley Moor

David Bowie of the Bird World… Coming to a Town near You!

 

I'm standing in Ilkley Town centre on a Saturday afternoon. I have the train station to one side of me and the bus station on the other and I'm carrying a rather large and conspicuous lens around my neck. This is not the kind of situation I envisaged when I began my love affair with wildlife photography.

It seems at the age of thirty five I have finally relinquished any notion of being cool and have plummeted to the lowly ranks of looking like a train and/or bus spotter. But there’s something these passers by, with their quizzical, puzzled and slightly pitying expressions don’t know. They don't realise that the berry laden trees which divide the bus and train station are a prime location for spotting the David Bowie of the Bird World… The Waxwing!

Continue reading David Bowie of the Bird World… Coming to a Town near You!