Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Jay and the Tree Rat

Here is a selection of images put to ambient sound I recorded on the same day...
This is the first remote shutter work I have attempted that you can see in the squirrel clip. Due to the conditions shutter speeds were low at about 1/30th of a second. I didn't intend putting them together like this but due to the motion blur in the shots none were stand alone usable images. Put together they are at least entertaining. I could really have done with a flash which would have done the trick I think to freeze the squirrel.
So the squirrel clip is just for fun. I like my woodland shots as the sound fits better with the images I feel. A jay is the unusual sound you can hear repeating itself in the clip.

video video

Apologies for the top clip being a little small. If you noticed the two people in the last image well done, no need to book an opticians appointment just yet. I'm still working on formatting issues. Hope you enjoy them anyway.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Into the woods

Perhaps I like the concept more than the final image but here is my favourite image from a recent photographic wander. I like how the child seems dwarfed by the location in the image. I will post soon with a 'meatier' post than one image, of other images from the same day. I feel the need for my blog to be shape shifted a little and pushed in one direction. I've posted on many and varied topics, its starting to feel like a Jack of all trades scenario. What the hell is he posting on next!! Some might say. I have a few ideas of a direction, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Why aren't there more sound recordists?

Wildlife photography has taken off in popularity like a rocket in recent years. Film making, not so much. Perhaps in the not to distant future it might go the same way photography has done. There is however one past time I have barely heard mentioned. Sound recording is a bit like a drummer in a band, typically underrated, playing second fiddle, the guy at the back. Chris Watson, for those who haven't heard of him, has in my mind begun to change these tides slightly. Still, I am aware of no one myself, who I know, that practices the art of wildlife sound recording.
Many beginning film makers acknowledge that good quality sound is important but somehow sound remains an after thought because after all, that's what the music track is for right?? problem solved.
I have to say, the last time I saw a blog with an audio post only was never. This is not to say that nobody does. Spring/Autumnwatch have been sent a few I believe, how many were mobile phone recordings I wonder. I will admit good information material on sound recording is small compared with the reams of online tuition available for photographers but it is there for everyone to find. I find sound vivid and intriguing. I wish more people would go out and explore the sound of nature. Take your children, give them a set of headphones, tell them to listen quietly and with a bit of luck they'll go quiet as a mouse, intently listening (ok allot of luck). Seriously, so many people are missing a trick or two. Sound can be a window into imagination. Don't all rush out at once and come back with sounds of running water or the quacking of ducks, call those your dry runs or background ambience and file them away somewhere. Offer something different or a classic. Well these are things that I am working on anyway.

video
video

I've been unable to find how to post audio clips onto blogger, they only have the option of images or video upload. So for now good old windows movie maker will have to do for this post until I get something sorted. The images are a bit random, and old work of mine but its just a way around posting audio.
Starlings were roosting in a really nice dense sheet of ivy trailing up a wall on the front of a house. We need more ivy too in our urban areas by the way. Some generations have been taught to cut ivy from the base which is a shame as it offers loads of late pollen and supports many insects, plus cutting it won't stop it for long anyway.
The starlings were the main audio the second is less serious. The dog was fine, honest. Its owner kept telling it to be quiet, it would stop, take a few paces and carry on squeaking. I've never heard a dog make that noise before.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Fade to fog


I did a little filming in some fog. Honestly not as daft as it seems. The sun coloured the sky through the mist half an hour before dusk. Very atmospheric. By the time I hurried back to get my kit and returned again I'd lost some of that light. I did the best I could anyway. Fog falls in the same category as snow in my opinion when it comes down to great photographic weather.
The first shot in this post is from my walk to a wood close to where I live. Another autumnal feel lady's and gentlemen on a fine evening.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Bursts and blasts of autumn colour




The old zoom-slow shutter trick
Isolating a few trees by using a shallow depth of field

During October I found a large fallen beach tree that hosted such a range of different fungi it was ridiculous. I had really intended going back sooner than today with my camera. I went back today anyway to check if any were still present. This autumn has been particularly mild and not all fungus end their cycle by the end of October however I found nothing much bar bracket fungus on my re-visit. Autumn colours are at their peak at the moment however so I didn't want to miss out on trying to capture the autumn spectacle. Can you think of a more vibrant time to try out some slow shutter shots too. This beach wood was looking brilliant and the sight and sound of dippers singing on the river running through the wood, magic.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Spot on

I visited Leighton Moss at the beginning of this week to capture more film for my final video project. A blinding couple of days as I happened to spot some cracking little birds too.
-a Greenshank from the first hide I entered
-Clear views of 2 marsh harriers
-Gadwall from the next hide
-Male and female Bearded tits 'gritting' from trays put out for them. Excellent
-a handful of Marsh tits around the reserve. Some really close views
-a Nuthatch
-2 Snipe close to the hide, surprisingly exposed, very nice
-Peregrine that dived a few waders but was unsuccessful
-Song Thrush, the first I've seen for quite a while which is a little worrying, population counts aren't looking as sharp as they used to
-First flocks of Fieldfare for this winter

Objective A and objective B of footage I was after capturing both unfortunately hit the dirt. The wind kicked up during the evening I was to try filming the starling roost so blowing the starlings away with it and shots of Bearded tits, objective B, would have basically been a bird on a tray, riveting stuff or what...

No images I'm afraid but I've been meaning to post this image at some point...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

These shadows

Each year I come back renewed, empowered for a time. New knowledge, new skills, new outlooks. These days I wear a different shadow. I freely admit where I am going I still do not know. One more year of uni is all that remains. I await the final curtain. One last breath in the cold night air. Exhilarated. Alive...unknown. The end goal is not a whim...we have a responsibility to influence, this chance I will take.


These images were taken during a visit to a farm in search of barn owls during my summer.

Friday, 24 June 2011

More from the Parc

My last post on Red Squirrels were produced with the Nikon + Sigma combo I relied on using at the time. This is the first using the 7d and apart from the obvious jump up in the quality of gear I can also see the development of the way I think and find images. I am quietly pleased with some of the results anyway...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Enough education for one year...here comes the summer!!

Allot has happened since my last post. I have been on the much planned and awaited Scotland expedition to Ardnamurchan, famously known for being the most westerly point on the British mainland. It was absolutely brilliant, completely worth the wait of a year in the planning and the footage we as group managed to film I personally feel very pleased with and certainly made a good wildlife documentary once it had all been edited together. Highlights included otters, mink, sea eagles, pine marten and many more besides. The blog we kept during our stay http://www.expeditionardnamurchan.blogspot.com/ for those that never followed our posts live as it were remains a great record of our experiences.
Assignments flowed in fast after we had returned and everyone was feeling the pressure by the end of it. I have been presenting, recording, writing, filming and editing my way through this past month nonstop. One of those times when it feels like there's never enough hours in a day, until now at least. All my assignments are finished, done and dusted, another year over. The change in tempo from 70mph sleep is for wimps now finish this assignment speed suddenly breaking into a 5mph amble you have no assignments left is a little strange. But now I am a man with time on my hands, what to do...what to do? I'll find something...

Drigg dunes, West Cumbrian coast, a fall on your feet film location.

As part of a final media assignment we were given the brief to create a 10minute documentary. With the idea of coastal sites in mind I first found myself at North Walney as the South end was not served by public transport. A good day for Wind surfers it seemed with so many out on the waves it was beginning to look like a kite festival out there. The site was perfect to illustrate my film ideas. Skylark, stone chat, meadow pipits and a great view of a male linnet showing off its crimson chest. Two family's of Canada geese both with six or so goslings in formation also provided welcome film subjects.

Drigg dunes however was the star location. Kept fairly undisturbed by its remoteness well for England in any case, its sands and habitats were much more defined and cinematic shall we say. Northern dune tiger beetle populations looked to be very good over all the sandy areas of the site. I also found better areas of flowering plants that attracted various species of blues butterfly's. The site supported better numbers of skylark with their song filling the air regularly. I can see this site growing on me as it's such a fine location.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Gambian experience

Let me begin by saying I'm fairly disappointed in myself when I consider for what was 2 weeks worth of my visit having only come away with one or two images I am pleased with simply because I didn't take as many images as I should have for one reason or another. However on a better note please enjoy the following images I have managed to produce and despite my lack of photographic material the learning experience of the Gambia was as amazing and rich as its wildlife.


'Decaying worlds'

'Two Beach Scavegers'

'The mighty travelers'

'Green vervet monkey'

'Spotted hyena-Animal orphanage'

'The Vulture tree'

'Shadowed hunter'

'African grey hornbill in protected forest'

'Curiosity and contemplation'

'Twisted tree'

'One tree to rule them all'



'Mangrove reflections'

'Forest flower'




'Caution- Do not feed the monkeys'

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Animal portraits- Visit to the Zoo

A very good day yesterday at the North Lakes Animal Park with our group and the first years.
My favourite image of them all (above) I really like the simplicity and catch light in the eyes.
Detail and texture, its all about the skin for rinos so I wanted to ilustrate the earthyness, the cracks and skin tones.

I was very lucky to get this shot (above) they were moving around allot and the youngster was rarely in good view with the mother constantly keeping him so close.

I got low to the ground to accentuate the blurred background. It may look stuffed but they are real little characters.
A heavy crop for another nice portrait above.


These extravagant peacocks were busy displaying all day which was great.
These two storks were busy nest building and courtship laugh bonding. I didn't quite get good images of the display gesturing but I think this image has a good strong composition.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Snow drops...again...








All taken with a 35mm lens. I used a mixture of f3.2 for very shallow depths of field and f8 in the cases where I wanted to imply more form to the background. Being able to come away from a shoot with many different types of shot as a kind of portfolio is very useful and I think considering I just stopped to take some picture I'm quite happy with what I came away with.