It's the weekend and it's warm, some would argue hot. It feels too soon to call it a Summer's day, but a little late to call it Spring. One thing beyond doubt is that this weekend is the hottest of the year so far.
Just like flying ant day, the sun has stirred the sleepy inhabitants of South West London's suburbs into a frenzy of activity. They come in their hundreds and thousands as they descend upon the carefully managed and tightly bordered Royal Parks of Richmond and Kingston. They come to feast on the sun's rays and breathe in the ancient green air.
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.
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
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!
September was hot. The hottest September since 1911 in fact. October has been pretty hot too but in the last week or so we've started to see those warm South Westerly breezes give way to the chillier North Easterlies. This development has sparked a change in more than just our wardrobe! Continue reading Winds of Change
A couple weeks CB and I along with a couple of good friends attended the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards at the Mall Galleries. It was a fab night and a stunning exhibition. To have a photo hung alongside such amazing images was a genuine honour and I was completely thrilled to receive a highly commended in the 'behaviour' category of the awards.
Continue reading Toads, caught in a web of lust
Bats, owls, deer, kingfisher and hedgehogs are just a few of the awesome wildlife that can be seen regularly (ish) around Burley in Wharfedale. I'd wager that the dog walkers of Burley probably get more sightings than most.
Last year while walking our dog Alfie around the village, he discovered a very young hedgehog stranded in the local car park. It was clearly injured and distressed. We ran back to the house and grabbed the gardening gloves along with a large box and took the little fella straight to Ashlands Veterinary Centre. They took him in, referred him to a hedgehog carer and that was that. I left the vets feeling I had done the right thing and had experienced an extraordinary wildlife encounter. What I didn't expect, was to have a similar situation just a year later! Continue reading Walking Photographer aka “The Nature Dude”
At this time of the year Ilkley Moor is absolutely teeming with life. Walking it during Spring can be a giddying experience, as there are tons of natural spectacles to be observed in every direction! Continue reading Toad City on the Moor