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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.