The Rut of the Reds (Cervus elaphus)

Red deer are our largest mammal in the UK.  Stags weigh anything from 90 – 190kg with females 63 – 120kg. The number of branches on antlers increases with age. Up to 16 points in native animals – who can live typically 18 years.

DSED1606The breeding season, or rut, occurs from the end of September through to November.  Stags return to the hinds home range and compete for access to hinds by engaging in elaborate displays of dominance, including roaring, parallel walks and fighting.  Serious injury and death can result but fighting only occurs between stags of similar size that can not assess dominance by any of the other means.  The dominant stag then ensures exclusive mating with the hinds.

DSED6903Only stags over 5 years old tend to achieve mating despite being sexually mature much earlier (before their 2nd birthday in productive woodland populations).  In woodland populations hinds over a year old give birth to a single calf after an 8 month gestation, between mid-May to mid-July each year.

DSED1996Injuries do happen, and sometimes even death.

Red deer are active throughout the 24 hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness in populations experiencing frequent disturbance . Peak times of activity are at dawn and dusk.

DSED7496ARed deer are widespread throughout the UK, and can be found in many parks and in the wild.  Bradgate Park in Leicestershire, Lyme Park in Cheshire, Tatton Park, Dunham Massey, and the Lake District.   Also common in East Anglia, and the South West of England.  In Scotland in the Scottish Highlands, Dumfriesshire.

 

A Summer of Dragons

This week I was out walking with the dogs, and noticed a good number of Damsel and Dragonflies.  By Friday I had a bit of time, and decided to go hunting Dragons…. The majority I saw were Brown Hawkers…

Brown HawkerThe Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) is a large dragonfly about 73 millimetres (2.9 in) long. It is a distinctive species and is easily recognised, even in flight, by its brown body and bronze wings. At rest, blue spots on the second and third segments of the male’s abdomen can be noticed; these are absent in female.

It is widespread in England but commonest in the South East; local in Ireland and rare in Scotland. It is found on well-vegetated ponds, lakes and canals. It patrols a regular hunting territory around margins which is vigorously defended against intruders.

The flight time is mainly July to September. The nymph has stripes on the side of the thorax and distinct banding on the legs. (Text from Wikipedia)

Brown HawkerYou can get more information from the British Dragonfly Society
http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/

Photography and the Law – Shopping Centres

I was asked this week by a client to shoot some images of a shopping centre.  This was an outdoor (mostly) centre, privately owned, and managed by a separate management company based on the site.

In general, under the laws of the United Kingdom, you cannot prevent photography of private property from a public place, and in general you will need permission to take photographs on private land.  Landowners are permitted to impose any conditions they like upon entry to a property, such as forbidding or restricting photography.  The usual restrictions are in respect of photography for commercial purposes.

In this case, I had to seek permission to shoot the images.  I started on site, in the centre, with no idea where to go.  Seeing a couple of policemen having a chat, I decided to ask them where the management offices were.  One of them, kindly took me through to the management suite, hidden away behind all the shops, and the staff here referred me on to the landlords agents, who were based in Manchester.

The agents were great, and were just looking to ensure that the images taken did not show the centre in a bad light.. a phone call to confirm that all was well, and back to the centre to pick up a visitor pass.  Security were advised that I was on site, and that I was shooting with full permission… and we were away.  Shots done in a couple of hours and back to the office to process the images.


As photographers, we need to know where we stand in relation to copyright and trespass.  As a rule of thumb, provided you have permission (if on private property) or you are photographing a subject which is on public land, then there should be no restrictions.

Photographers are being challenged more and more by police, and security guards, as well as members of the public.  Although personally, I have never been approached, other than in a a friendly, conversational way, I do know of photographers who have been dealt with harshly – and told that they cannot take images.

There are some great resources on the web – one in particular UK Photographers Rights


Overall, I find that if you are polite, follow the rules, and are considerate of property belonging to others, there is generally not a problem.

Many thanks to GVA Manchester for their permission to shoot on behalf of Stockport Tourist Information.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences…..

Image Credits

From time to time, I’m asked for images, which are to be used for various purposes, such as a blog or calendar – typically these are not for profit, or charity organisations who want a nice image to use.  It usually is a short run of something, or an image for a website, which will be small – and then I’m offered a credit, or link back to my own gallery.  Sometimes I’ll do a trade for goods, or services – such as stationery, or being helped with my SEO (which I’m really bad at….)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes though, I’m asked for images that are to be used by people who will be making money in large quantities, and still want the image for free… usually I won’t have any truck with them.

Lately though, I’ve been asked on more than one occasion for images that I have taken commercially, for commercial use.

A good number of requests come via Flickr – running on the lines of “we think your images are wonderful, and we’d really like to use one on our blog/website/newsletter etc…. however we have a low/zero budget, but we will be prepared to credit you on our site/newsletter whatever…..  ”  Sometimes they even tell me what the print run will be with the image being used, but they still don’t have a budget for it.

Can someone please explain why it is, that these people do have a budget for production, publicity, advertising, printing etc.. but none to get the images in the first place.  So here’s the deal…. it actually costs money to get these pictures.  I have to buy the kit, learn how to use it, buy the computer, the software, the car (to get me to the locations), the fuel to put in it – and all the time it takes me to produce the image at the end… and for what?  A credit, that will simply ‘drive’ traffic through to my website…..

When was the last time you picked up a greetings card or calendar, and was curious enough about the author to look them up on Google, or wherever, and view the rest of their images…???  Some photographers might, but the general public…. I’m not so sure about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the deal is that every time an image is given away for a credit, the market for the legitimate photographer shrinks.  More and more companies are asking for images for free, because to an extent now, they know they can get away with it.  If they can’t get them off me for free, they’ll turn elsewhere… and everytime they get an image it reinforces their mentality.  Image credits don’t put bread on the table on a Friday night.

After all, when was the last time you got diesel for you car, and said, “Hey, I can’t pay you right now, I don’t have a budget for fuel,  but if anyone asks, I’ll tell them I got it from this great garage in Stockport,  just think of all the extra trade you’ll get”….  see what I mean…????

Back to Basics – Ducks and Coots

It’s been great to have a few days to myself  – although we did cover the opening of ‘Avenue Q’ down at the Lowry theatre this week, it’s otherwise been fairly quiet.  And with the weather being somewhat excellent, I headed off to the local wildlife park to see what was on.

First off – it’s obviously bath time, and the warm sunshine has got all the ducks up and moving around.

I’m a sucker for a duck, (especially with orange sauce!) and it’s actually harder to take good duck shots than a lot of photographers think.  I love this one.  He’s obviously having so much fun.

Plus, the Coots were knocking seven bells out of each other, as the fight for territory and females escalates into serious fighting.  Three Coots were fighting for some time, but eventually just seemed to stop, give up, and swim off like nothing had happened.

The more I watch, the more I realise just how brutal nature really is.  The bird on the left in the shot below, was eventually pushed completely under the water, and was stood on.  Briefly I wondered if it was going to drown, but up it popped and peace fell once more upon the pond.

Model Portraits and Portfolios

On Sunday this week, we ventured outdoors to complete a portrait shoot with the beautiful Luceh.  The weather was poor, grey and overcast – and which eventually descended into Britain’s most famous weather – drizzle.

We’d gone for the urban look, and on hunting down a backstreet, we came across the most absurd thing.  A toilet (brand new and complete with installation labels) had been discarded in a back alley.  The burning question then was …. “could we ignore it?”  the racing answer came back a a resounding NO !!!

Luceh was a star, and immediately agreed that it had to be used – all the other rubbish was already there, and we didn’t need to try and find extra props… it was all so surreal, and yet so much fun.

On a more serious note – we got some amazing images of her despite the cold grey day.

You can find the rest of the images by CLICKING HERE