Hi everybody. I have now decided to integrate my blogger account with my new website.
Please click the link below to visit the new site.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

My blog has moved - www.gjgphotography.co.uk

Hi everyone - just a quickie to let you know, if you didn't already, that I've moved my blog to my website.

All of my posts and history has been transferred and whilst this site will remain here until Google decide to close it, I won't be posting here anymore.

If you have a moment, please pop over to www.gjgphotography.co.uk and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

The site has taken a while to complete, but it's something I'd been meaning to do for an age and I'm now very happy with it.

Thanks for following me so far, and I hope you can find to time to follow me at my new location !

Many thanks
Graham Goddard ARPS
November 2011

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Something I never thought I'd do.......

Yesterday I decided to try and photograph something that I never really fancied doing before - the Autumn Deer Rut.

Anyone who has watched Autumn Watch for any period of time will have seen countless hours of coverage of Stags on the island of Rum, battling for control of the hinds - fascinating viewing, but not as fascinating after 4 straight years on the trot.

The forums are awash with images of deer at the moment, and that is what has put me off - until now.

Some of the images being produced are, I have to admit, super.

So, with that goal in mind I watched the weather all week and with Friday off of work, I got up at 4.30 and drove to Bradgate.

Now, that's a 3 hour drive for me, and looking out of the window as I type this, I wish I'd gone today. The reason - the light. Each morning has been spectacular this week - cold, crisp and we even had our first frost on Thursday.

Would that repeat itself on Friday for me - of course not.......

I have to say though, my first experience of the rut, at close quarters was memorable.
I arrived slightly late (after attending to and reporting to the police the aftermath of a road accident - another story), and made my way into the park.
Bradgate is huge, but I followed the roars from the Stags.

As I've said above, the light was poor - no golden glow for me I'm afraid, but watching this pair of Fallow Deer battling away more than made up for it.

Mid battle

They fought for a good 10 minutes, butting, charging and looking for weaknesses in each others defences until finally, one broke away and ran for the shelter of the stream.

He stood and allowed me to approach quite closely and take this shot as he got his breath and took a drink.

Knackered and in need of drink !

I then took a walk  to another section of the park where a mature Red had his hareem under close control. He's no bellowing here, just yawning.....

Red Deer yawning

Caring for one of his hinds

He then made his way over to one of the hinds to see if she was ready for mating - a gentle lick, but she didn't get up...

Other than having to walk quite a lot, it's not especially challenging work, so I'll have another go soon for some of those golden shots -I don't have much time before the rut will be over for another year though, so looking at the forecast, maybe I'll try tomorrow !

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Exciting news part II - my website

Well, after a few weeks of toying with various ideas and thoughts, I've finally built my website. My very good friend and website guru Karl created it for me, and it's exactly what I wanted. More stuff will be added over time!but do check it out if you have a moment. Thanks Graham

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Exciting news - Lloyds Art Group

I've been accepted and invited to join the Lloyd's Art Group who are a collective of artists including painters, printmakers, sculptors, photographic and mixed media artists who work in Lloyd’s of London or the London Insurance market or have an immediate connection to it.

I will be part of their exhibition which is taking place at Lloyds of London at the end of this month, and several of my pictures will be on display and for sale, which is a first for me.

Since joining the Group, I've been busy selecting, printing and framing images and it's great to see some of my work presented as it should be. 

My wife Jayne even liked one of my shots so much, she asked if I could frame it for her and hang it on the wall of our dining room. I must be getting something right !

This is the image she liked so much:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Something from the weekend.....

Last weekend I posted from the beach using my iphone for the pictures and email. 

Now I'm home I've had a chance to review my images and reflect on an amazing couple of days.

I ahve visited Snettisham many times over the past 4 years or so, and each time has been completely different. When I visited last month, the weather was a mixed bag, with mainly very strong winds and rough conditions. Other times its been bitterly cold.
This weekend is was hot - very hot.

I walked onto the beach on Friday (and for those who've never been, its a 1.5Km walk to the nearest hide) and the temps were up to 29 degrees on my car. I wasn't too fussed about getting pictures, I just made myself comfortable and lay in the sun, waiting for sunset.

When it came, it was stunning;
Geese landing and making thier way to roost

 The colours were fantastic and its a sight I won't forget for a long, long time.
As for people - well, I'd estimate 10 - 15 made it that evening to watch the sun go down over the wash.

After a pleasant night in my tent, I got up at 5am and made my way back.

With high temps forecast again, shorts and a tee-shirt were the order of the day. Slightly chilly at first, but it soon warmed up.

As the tides advanced, so did the birds.

Knot taking off as the tide rises

At times they literally filled the sky

Thousands of Oyster Catchers

The number of people that started to arrive after I did amazed me - to my left and to my right over 200 people made the trek, and I've never seen as many long lenses in one place !

Some of the estimated 200 people that made it for the spectacular

Photography wise, it was OK - evening tides are best at this location because of the light, but I just enjoyed being there in such glorious conditions.

A couple of funny things happened that morning.
First, I thought this chap was Bill Oddie for minute - until he got closer............

Bill Oddie ?

Then there was the guy who arrived carrying camera, back pack, tripod & bean bag. He was wearing full camo including what looked like insulated camo trousers, fleece, jacket liner, 3/4 length camo overcoat, gloves, hat and a neck scarf ! I've worn less when I've sat  out with Calum at the badger site in March.

I walked past the chap on the way back to the car at 10.30. It was 28 degrees at that point.......I wouldn't have wanted to sit next him on the drive home !

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Good morning....

I'm back on the beach this morning having got up at 5 and walked in.

After setting up for the sunrise I thought I might try for some silhouettes against the dawn sky.

Within 30 minutes, I wasn't alone.......

There was only 1 other car in the carpark when I arrived.

As I type this, it's 7.15 and I would say there's now another 100 or more people here.

Still, that gives the mossies plenty of other bodies to feed on.

Friday, 30 September 2011


Hi. Thought I'd try a photo/email blog today, so here goes.

I'm in North Norfolk for a couple of days and I have to say, I've never known anything like it. It's currently 5.10pm and I'm on a beach, in shorts and a teeshirt, wondering how red my sunburn is going to be tonight!

The car showed the temp at 30 degrees earlier, and tomorrow is Oct the 1st.

I've been here before at this time of year and enjoyed bitterly cold days and frosty mornings......this is like July, in Spain.

The next big tide is tomorrow morning, so I'll be up early to see the show.

The forecast is the same for tomorrow too, so it should herald a cracking sunrise.

One comment of the wildlife so far - I've not seen a single barn owl at any of my usual sites. I didn't see any at the end if august either. I hope that's because they've taken to feeding at night again rather than at dawn and dusk.......

Saturday, 17 September 2011

New photographer

A quickie today - while in Norfolk I met Wouter Pattyn, a freelance wildlife photographer from Belgium who regulary travels Europe looking for subjects.

If you've got a few moments, check out his website - www.naturalight.be

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Norfolk Tides

The August Bank Holiday this year coincided with the first of the 'Autumn/Winter' spring tides, so having checked the timings (and with permission from Jayne), I decided to set off with my tent and spend a couple of days in Norfolk to see if I could catch the wading bird spectaculars that occur there at these times.

From experience, these tides can vary greatly from the published times and a lot depends on wind direction, wind strength and low or high pressure etc.,.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I will make any excuse to get up to Norfolk, so come good weather or bad (which was the forecast on this occasion), I set off anyway and crossed my fingers.

On arrival mid afternoon I knew that the tides wouldn't be quite right for the evening,so I took a drive around some of the lanes and off of the beaten track.

I didn't see much to be honest, and I certainly didn't see any Barn Owls, which was what I was hoping for. Although sunny, it was extremely windy, and they don't tend to hunt in these conditions.

What I did find however was a distant hare, hiding in the stubble;

After a pretty restless night at the campsite (which was due to the worsening forecast meaning a lot of people packed and left for home during the night), I climbed out of my sleeping bag, popped on the head torch and set off for the reserve.

The RSPB reserve at Snettisham is quite isolated, and a pretty long walk from the car park - especially when you're carrying all the gear needed for an afternoon or morning of wader watching and photography. If you set off at first light for the walk in, by the time you get to the beach you will have missed the best light and the best of the action if the tide is very early.

The wind was now very strong and it was overcast as I arrived at the beach, and due to the wind etc., the tide was nearly in - a full hour early.

As the wind was so strong, the birds were streaming off the mud flats, and straight over the banks and into the lagoons. 

The light was poor, but from one of the hides I managed to get some slow shutter arty stuff as flocks of Knot arrived;

After an hour or so, with slightly improved light and a falling tide, I went and positioned myself on on the beach as thousands of these super birds started to return to the mud flats to feed;

Now, if you want those wonderful golden lit sunset shots, morning is not the time to visit this location.

The next tide was an evening one, so I crossed my fingers, and went back later in the day for another go, and it certainly looked promising for a while.

Like the morning, the tide was early again, but as the sun was getting lower in the sky it starting to show all the signs of being a spectacular sunset. 

Unfortunately, with such high winds still blowing, the cloud cover was moving very fast and eventually, some impressive clouds moved in to block the sun as it set.

I'll be back there for the next tides very soon.

Whilst writing this piece, I thought I'd add add something about some poor behaviour I witnessed.

These two chaps decided that they could stand inside of the fence, and that the RSPB rules didn't apply to them;

Right below where they are standing is one of the main lagoon roost sites. 

The birds fly in from the Wash, over the banks and then look to settle on the small sand bank in the lagoon. The bank is there to stop the sea from flooding the lagoon during storms and the fence is there to stop people 'skylining' their silhouette and spooking the resting birds. The chap on the left is actually laying on the bank and photographing. 

They stopped and climbed back when they saw me taking pictures of them.

There is a hide 30 yards to their right that would have got them closer - it's where the second picture above was taken !

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The quiet time

Its reached that time of the year when nature goes quiet for a few weeks. That well earned rest from the frantic courting, mating and breeding season that is the British spring and summer.

I returned from my hols with a head full of ideas, but knowing deep down, that I'd have to wait a few more weeks for things to get going again and for the Autumn to really kick in.

At the weekend, Calum and I decided to take a trip to see if the Dartfords that we shot earlier in the year were still about, or more importantly, still approachable.

In a word, the answer was no. After a pre-dawn start, we met and Calum drove to the location - the day looked promising and we certainly heard a lot of the birds calling while they were looking amongst the heather for their food.

The heather was a sea of colour - beautiful purple and mauve.

This was the best shot I managed after 3 hours and more by luck than judgement:

You can get a hint of the colours here, but not really what I was after.....

Later in the day we moved to another location to see what was happening there. I have to say that I was surprised to see that Swallows were still feeding just fledged young - again, this is about the best I could do of one of the parents, with the hungary young behind ......