Monthly Archives: September 2011

British Wildlife Photography Awards

I’m pleased to say that this morning it has been announced that I have won the BWPA 2011 Video category with a short film I made earlier this year when sepending most of the Spring with a local family of Great Crested Grebes.  You may reacall from a prior blog post just what it cost in terms of lenses too!

I owe a great deal of thanks to friend and fellow photographer Paul Bunyard who really got my head round the capablilities of SLRs when it comes to video and also got me started with the otherwise daunting process of editing all the various clips that the several weeks I spent with these birds generated, the hardest part of which was getting it all down to the one minute running time requirement of the competition!

Paul and I co-run weekends teaching how to get the most out of your SLR from a video perspective (there’s much more to it than simply turning to the video setting) as well as the editing side of things too and you can find details of our next one here:

http://www.natures-images.co.uk/pages/holidays/video-training-weekends.php

I was also really pleased to achieve a Highly Commended for the Watching the Roost image in the Living Landscape category and for my local town canals Swimming Cygnet shot to be chosen for inclusion in the book of this years competition as well.

I’ve never been one that enjoys blowing thier own trumpet generally but on days like this it’s always nice to know that your work is both recognised as well as appreciated.

In Search of Sand

So just where does a person who spends their working life photographing wildlife go for their summer holidays?  This year it was only one of the S’s that are on so many others lists and it was in search of sand, and where better for that than the deserts of southern Africa.

Sand here comes in many shapes, forms and sizes and it’s a landscape photographers dream when the light is working in your favour.

Abandoned mining settlements like Kolmanskop are a reminder too of it’s power – here it’s taken over the houses in a matter of decades.

In a way that I was drawn to the patterns the wind made in the windblown ridges of snow in Yellowstone earlier in the year, I found myself constantly drawn to the visual record of a landscape permanently on the move.

It also comes in a wide variety of colours too, and in the Sossusvlei area of southern Namibia the textbook rich reds take over from the more sandy colours to be found further south.

This is a much photographed corner of the continent for sure and I guess that’s what made it feel more like a holiday than work as I know there will be little commercial return on images taken here: it made an early morning session with the trees at Dead Vlei, an afternoon seeking the wonderful contrasts that low light gives on such enormous dunes and the appreciation that the subtle light of dusk brings to completely change the atmosphere of the place nothing more than the pure pleasure being in such an extraordinary place should be.

But I can’t keep away from wildlife wherever I go and as stunning (and unusual) as it was to see Sossus Vlei itself full of water, it was the presence of Avocets in these desert oases that drew my attention and time – waders in the desert: who’d have planned for that?

With the iconic Gemsbok or Oryx also on hand to ofer the classic picture postcard type shot this sandy break was one that this wildlife photographer couldn’t help but enjoy.

For now it’s back to work though and after a monster catch up (this trip was nearly 4 weeks and covered lots more besides as I hope to touch on in further posts) a week in Norway with Musk Ox and Sea-Eagles beckons: it’s a tough life for some!