>Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

>As 2010 comes to an end – it’s good to reflect on what we have achieved in the last 12 months – we’ve met a lot of people who have been brilliant to meet, and most clients, and colleagues alike have been a  pleasure to work with.  We’ve been on photo workshops for portraiture and wildlife and enjoyed them.  We’ve learned a lot from some amazing photographers – inspiring photography by Niall Benvie, Paul Harcourt Davies, Danny Green, and Peter Cairns to name but a a few.  Whilst at Oaktree, we don’t pretend to be full time wildlife photographers, we do like to try to achieve great images when we can.  We have the utmost admiration for those who genuinely try to inspire honesty in photography.

I did manage to shoot Grouse in the rather forbidding climate that has been our Winter this year – temperatures fell to around -15 on the top of the Snake Pass in Derbyshire.  Some good images of male Grouse were achieved in what can only be described as chilly conditions.

Red Grouse in Snow

I leave you with our best wishes for 2011 – and I look forward to meeting more of you during the next year.

>Competition Wins for Oaktree

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It came as a great surprise on Tuesday for both of us here at Oaktree to be placed first in our local camera club end of year photographic competition. The photographs judged are those that are placed in the top three for the previous 4 competitions held throughout the year. The competition this year was judged by the renowned photographer, Tremaine Cornish, a judge with theLancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union.

Diane Seddon came first in the advanced section with her image of “Phil” with the judge commenting that “the image conjured up all sorts of imaginings from run away to fugitive”.  Diane also came second in the same section with an image of Elgol in Scotland during poor weather.  She is now the proud owner of a silver trophy which will be kept by her for the next 12 months.

>Theatre Photography – Robinson Crusoe

>Oaktree was proud to be able to photograph the Christmas Panto at the Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent, earlier this month.  Starring Jonathan Wilkes, Jennifer Ellison, and Arthur Bostrom.  It was a fabulous production, technically brilliant, and a joy to photograph.  It’s not often you get to shoot a live show – it is more usually a dress rehearsal where people can be posed, and the lighting set to your liking.  This time it was a paying audience with a photo call included.  A challenge to get the lighting, but rewarding in itself.  Thanks to the cast and theatre, for allowing access.

>Sub Zero Temperatures

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As you sit snugly by the fire this winter, spare a thought for our feathered friends. Their survival skills are tested to the limit when winter tightens its grip and food becomes hard to find.

We may grumble about the temperature, but the cold is actually not a big problem for birds. They are equipped with several layers of fluffy, insulating down to trap heat, so you won’t see your local robins and blackbirds shivering!

During cold snaps, you will almost certainly notice more birds coming into your garden to seek sanctuary from the harsher environment in the countryside – particularly if you provide food on a regular basis. The variety of species may increase too and you may be lucky enough to attract unusual visitors such as blackcaps and bramblings.

Finding a regular source of high-energy food such as a garden feeding station is the equivalent of winning the lottery for wild birds and a well-stocked garden is a real lifesaver.
Birds will become dependent on the food you supply, so it is important to make sure your feeders are kept topped up to prevent them from having a wasted visit. Providing a fresh, ice-free supply of water is another cold weather essential – drinking and bathing is a vital part of the daily routine of birds.
You may well witness a flurry of bird activity first thing in the morning – as they replenish energy lost overnight – and last thing in the afternoon – to prepare for the long night ahead.

>The Grey Heron

>Setting out in very low temperatures says madness to some, and ‘photo opportunity’ to others.  Yesterday we ventured out in search of the grey heron. Though not a rare bird, it can be difficult to photograph well due to its colouring and habitat.

Success was ours however..

It is a large bird, standing 90–100 cm tall, with a 175–195 cm wingspan and a weight of 1–2 kg. Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons, and distinguishes them from storks and cranes, which extend their necks. The call is a loud croaking “fraaank”.

>Model Shoot at the Palace Hotel

>Just recently, Oaktree Photography was asked to shoot a number of models at the prestigious Palace Hotel in the centre of Manchester.  The images are to be used by the models, the makeup artists, and hopefully by the Palace themselves as part of their publicity material.  It was a long day, starting early, with make-up alone taking over three hours on just one of the models.

Clare – Palace Hotel Shoot

All the models on the day were from Purestorm, and both of the makeup artists were from both Model Mayhem, and Purestorm.

Stephanie

Many many thanks go to the staff and Management at the Palace Hotel for their co-operation on the day – we had a great shoot.

>Competition Success

>I have been chosen as a runner up in the ‘Wildlife Extra’ wildlife competition – in the section for ‘marine, reptiles and amphibians’.  Out of the many hundreds of entries, I was just pipped to the post by a shot of a seal at Donna Nook.

My image was that of a slow worm, surrounded by red ants, which I took in the Peak District National Park.

Hopefully next year, I’ll be a winner, rather than just a runner up !

Diane Seddon LRPS

>Welcome to the Oaktree Blog

>Welcome to the Oaktree Photography Blog.  We have started this section of our website so that we can update you with our activities and to let you know what sort of things we get up to when we are out and about with our cameras, and what sort of things we have achieved on a regular basis.

We also look forward to hearing from you.

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