Do What You Want… When You Want…How You Want..

In one of the talks that I give I discuss in a bit of detail my thoughts on how, as photographers, we can be trained to not be individual. We all need to know the rules and then know when to break them. For example the rule of thirds, and the exposure triangle.

So, when you do produce something, you would really like people to like it, but that’s not always going to happen, and then you have to grow a thick skin – because if you don’t, you are going to get upset, and, maybe, go on to produce work that hits the middle ground, where perhaps there will be nothing new or exciting. It’s safe, but boring. If we continue to produce work that everybody agrees with, then it won’t be as creative or imaginative as it could be.

I do think that photographers should produce exactly what they want to in their art work, and then they will know that what they have made is truly theirs. The world will just accept it, or it won’t.

I’ve said this before, but when I was working for clients, I had to produce work that was exactly what they wanted, and how they wanted it, in the time scale that they wanted. Since retirement, I’ve been able to contradict all those things, and I produce what I want, how I want, when I want.

If people don’t like what I (or you) do, then it has to be OK, because it’s really not necessary that they do. The artists responsibility here is to keep producing work that suits them and which allows them the freedom to breathe.

Image making should not be about winning a popularity contest, but rather it should be about being a personal creation.

Photographers love photography, which means we love the production of images, which in turn means we love art itself – and if we don’t love art, then we should. We should pursue the study of painting, sculpture, needlework and every other kind of art. Looking outwards from our specific hobby can only increase our awareness of light, shape and form.

We all have a variety of music that we love, films, and paintings, so why should photography be any different. Look for the ‘different’ and enjoy…..


We are still somewhat in lockdown – and it’s a good time to experiment with new ideas, and even genres.

As an aside, I did get the portable bird hide out again – sadly at the end of the lovely weather – and for the last few days it’s blown a gale, and poured down with rain. The benefit was that the wet earth brought out the ‘bugs’ for the starlings, and I got natural food rather than the dried mealworm I normally see them with.


So, as we work our way out of lockdown – do take care, enjoy your image-making, and stay safe……

It’s a Giveaway – Part three

When I started this idea three months ago, I had no idea of how successful it would be.  Images were requested within hours of each post going up.  I genuinely thought I’d not carry on for the three months I promised back in April.

However, here we are, it’s month three, and for the final time, I’m saying that I have 5 free prints to give away (max size A4), to the first 5 that ask for them.

Just go to my website by clicking HERE  and you can choose any image from the galleries available.

I’ve added a couple of new galleries, and there are some new images in the garden bird project.

If you already have one of my images – please don’t ask for another free one – they are reasonably priced, and if there is no price list, then please contact me for more information.

Images can be supplied as prints, or mounted, or mounted and framed.  Sizes, frames and prices on application.

Thank you for supporting this project – I might do it again in the future – but for the moment -this is it……..

Once again, thank you everyone for your support…..

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Garden Birds

This is just a short piece to talk about the setting up of a garden bird hide at my home.

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I had recently been to a hide out in the Lincolnshire Wolds, and having examined the set up there, decided that I’d have a go at home.  It’s taken a bit of sorting out, but the results are starting to come in.

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It took a while for the birds to decide that they ‘liked’ where I’d put the new feeder, and that they trusted the perches I was putting out for them.

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So far, I’ve had the usual suspects creeping in – Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Starlings – and the usual crop of Wood Pigeons.  Collard Dove is around but not had them on the table yet.  I’ve seen other finches and I’d love it for Woodpeckers to arrive.  Most years I get a cuckoo in the garden – and it would be amazing to get a shot of one of those.

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Fingers crossed.

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All images were taken with the Fuji X-T3 and the 100-400 lens.  The latter two with a 1.4 extender @f8

CPAGB Distinction Award

April 27th this year has been in my diary for a long time, as it was the day that my images were judged by a panel to see if I could be awarded the Certificate from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

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The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) is an organisation that co-ordinates specific activities for photographic clubs in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland. It does this through 15 geographical regions known as Federations.

It also offers other services such as Recorded Lectures to clubs and its own photographic Distinctions (known as awards for photographic merit) direct to qualifying club members.

The C award – is the first of three offered by the PAGB, and involves the entry of 10 images – each of which are judged to a maximum of 30 marks.  Each image has to achieve over 20 marks in order for a pass to be achieved.  So a minimum of 200 marks is needed.

My application was successful after many hours of work, and with assistance from a mentor.

Further Information and Reference
The PAGB www.thepagb.org.uk
L&CPU www.lcpuonline.org.uk
FIAP www.fiap.net 

Bird Photography

It’s been a while since I got out and sat in a bird hide – but finally I’ve been able to manage a half day – well actually not even a full half day – really just a few hours.

Bluetit-1Having said that – it was frustrating to travel down to my favourite hide, as the Christmas traffic was terrible.   Arriving though was a great relief, and the pools and hides were as fantastic as I remember them – it seems a long time, but in reality it’s only been about 2 months.  The birds were co-operative, and it was good to watch as well as photograph them.

I was most impressed by the Great Spotted Woodpecker, a youngster turned up a couple of times whilst I was there, and didn’t even immediately fly off when I came out of the hide.  He was full of confidence, and so handsome.

DSED8263There are around 140,000 breeding pairs of woodpeckers in the UK, though I don’t see them very often, and this one was a delight.

The cold of the day, and the knowledge that I had an appointment in the evening, and ‘work’ to do eventually made me leave, though reluctantly.  Hoping to return between Christmas and the New Year.  Already I can’t wait….

Martin Mere, and the Ruff

It’s been a while since I got out to shoot birds, and nothing else… this last weekend we made a trip out to Martin Mere – we’ve not been there for a long time, and it was good to meet up with some friends, including some I’d spoken to on Facebook, but never actually met.  Although the day was a bit overcast, the light was nice in the morning.
We spent a good part of the morning in the SwanLink hide, and the Ruff showed particularly well.

The ruff is a medium-sized wading bird. It has a long neck, a small head, a rather short slightly droopy bill and medium-long orange or reddish leg. In flight it shows a faint wing-stripe and oval white patches either side of the tail. It breeds in a very few lowland sites in eastern England, and it appears that numbers are dropping. It is a migrant but in the UK some birds are present all year round. Many young birds from Scandinavia visit the UK in late summer, then migrating on to Africa.

Overview – Information from RSPB

Latin name

Philomachus pugnax

Family

Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Best looked for on passage in spring and autumn in suitable habitat, particularly on the east and south coasts of the UK. Some birds overwinter, generally near the coast. Try some of the RSPB coastal wetland reserves, where there are lagoons, such as Titchwell, Norfolk.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Insects, larvae, frogs, small fish, seeds

Population

Europe UK breeding* UK wintering* UK passage*
37 males 800 birds

Back to Birding

It’s been a long while since my last post – we’ve had such a lot going on here, with some good and some bad stuff.  I’ve carried on working, but not done much photography for myself.  Last week though, a big effort was made, and I headed over to a bird hide, and sat there for a good few hours contemplating nature, the world, and chatting with friends.

It was a great morning to be out – soft light, loads of birds, and some splendid shots….

Loved this chap for the aggression he was showing… get out of my territory !  So small yet so feisty.

Good to see a Nutthatch make an appearance too

And a woodpecker….. all in all a great day out….

From Photographs to Paintings

Some two years ago – I met a lady called Diane Huxley.  I was out with the dog, and my camera, and we fell to talking, as you do.  She told me that she was a local artist, who painted animals – mostly pets, and was looking to paint more birds; but was having some small difficulty getting good images to paint from.

After some further talk, I said that I would send her some of my bird images for her to look at, which I did – and then – to my embarrassment, forgot all about it…..

Fast forward those 24 odd months, and she sent me an email to say that two pictures had been completed.  I’ve been trying to track down the original photo files, and have only found one (though I’ve not looked on my backup drives  yet to be honest)

Here’s the first, of a heron, taken at Reddish Vale Country Park


And below, is a copy of her painting of the same bird

I did also send her a photograph of a white tailed fish eagle, taken at our local bird of prey centre – and whilst I have photographed this particular bird on a number of occasions, I can’t quite track down the original file – I’ll post it when I can – but in the meantime here is her wonderful painting.

Diane has her own website – http://www.animal-portrait.co.uk/

The detail is amazing, and the paintings attest to her great talent.  Have a look at her site – she comes highly recommended.

More Welsh Wetness…

Quite apart from the glorious trip to Skomer a few weeks ago, the other parts of the week away were just as good.  A trip to the red kite feeding station yielded some excellent images – with the birds picking up not only from the bank but from the water too.

They are fast, and it took considerable time to get the birds exactly as I wanted them.  The day being overcast, but without rain did actually help, as the light was good – very bright, but beautifully diffused with the overhead cloud.

Sometimes the rain and the damp of England can be a blessing.

Hopefully more to follow.