Tag Archives: wildlife photography

Adventures in Assam

Those of you who follow my work will know I am always way behind with my processing so it should come as no surprise that this collection of images and associated ramblings come from over 18 months ago back in late 2015.  If you also follow my work you’ll probably recall my mentioning a number of childhood years spent in India and so this collection have a special resonance for me although the region of Assam, in the extreme north-east of the country was not one I had ever visited before but wanted to check out as part of a trip I was planing on running for Natures Images and which is now scheduled for January next year, full details of which can be found here.

Assam is a corner of India that has a very different feel, in part climatically, definitely culturally and also geographically as well. It was the home and indeed origin of english breakfast tea back in the day, but is now renowned for a more premium and select leaf and the plantations are prominent and very photogenic especially first thing in the morning.

The presence of a leaf picker helps on that front too.

The region runs along the banks and essentially parallel to the mighty Brahmaputra river and is bisected by a typically crazy road to travel along from the regional capital of Guwahati.  This bisects its way through fields, tea plantations and woodland and the latter, even close to the road itself, is home to many species unique to this corner of the country with primates such as Hoolock Gibbon and Golden Langur.

I have vowed during the course of my work overseas these days to try to give a greater sense of where I have been rather than simply the wildlife to be found there and fortunately the main attractions of Assam, in the form of the magnificent marshland reserve that is Kaziranga National park, offers plenty of opportunity to do this, with both verdant woodland/jungle, simply stunning light to work with at either end of the day, and the sheer vastness of the Brahmaputra river itself when I was able to get close to it provided plenty of opportunity to do this.

But as impressive as the place itself is, Kaziranga is all about wildlife and a couple of species in particular the main one of these being the one-horned rhino. For reasons that are all to familiar in this part of the world (and elsewhere too to be fair) these magnificent pachyderms have fallen dramatically in numbers and current estimates are only just in excess of 3000 in total now.  The fact that around 70% of these live here in Kaziranga not only underlines the importance of the place but also the huge risk this additionally places on them. The park itself is simply vast and predominantly covered by a large covering of tall wetland grasses which offer a perfect hiding place for rhinos as well as food for them to graze on.

Once they step out into a more open environment though, the one horn aside, their very different characteristics become immediately obvious – long folds of skin and almost wart-like bumps all over really do give a truly dinosaur-like impression, reminding me of they toy Triceratops I used to play with as a kid!

Rhino’s are a surprisingly difficult animal to photograph as they often don’t do that much other than stand and feed and as a result they tend to rely heavily on the environment and lighting to create the sort of opportunity you look for as a photographer.  Fortunately the environment at Kaziranga offers both close up encounters as well as distant ones, and the lighting can be sublime as I’ve said already: lob in some judicious use of monochrome processing too and the chance to do more comes if you’re patient enough.

The sheer number of rhinos to be seen on a typical game drive almost always ran into double figures and there was always a chance of becoming a bit blasé about seeing them so it was to remind myself what a treat it was and just how special this place really is.  Mind you it offered much more besides too: it is supposed to be the national park with the greatest density of tiger anywhere in India but the habitat is such that spotting one is sheer luck and although we were aware of people who had had such glimpses during our time there it didn’t happen for us.  We did though have a number of encounters with the rhinos fellow thick-skinned mammal in the form of asian elephant.

All too often elephant seen in this country are working elephant with all that entails but here in Kaziranga a healthy population of wild living animals exists: I distinctly remember watching a BBC documentary showing them crossing the main road that runs through the park when the river was in full flood and they needed to move to the higher ground.  At the time of year I was there though this was far from necessary for them and so we regularly came across them either enjoying the water of a wetland area or feeding on the lush vegetation in the forest.

They are significantly smaller that their African relatives but when one comes wandering unannounced out of the vegetation towards your vehicle sporting a mynah bird for headgear they seem big enough though!

Ultimately Kaziranga is all about rhino conservation though and for me the magical light that Assam can offer.  Coming across a mother and calf one evening was somewhat apt and as for the sunsets, well I’ll let my closing pictures tell their own tale.


There’s more than one star in Texas

If you talk about Texas with most people here in the UK there are a number of things that will probably come to mind initially: cowboys, George Bush, oil, Dallas, JR…. the list goes on in terms of iconic ingredients that make up the story of this, the 2nd largest state in the US both in terms of size and population, but also at times probably the most controversial too. It’s known as the lone star state, part of the deep rooted sense of independence that it still nourishes but when I visited around this time last year there were several stars to be found as far as I was concerned.

One of the many enjoyable parts of my work is the chance to visit new places both for their own sake but also as a rec. for a potential future trip that I might be running, and so it was that hot on the heels of 2 weeks in the wintery conditions of Yellowstone I found myself in the t-shirt surroundings of south Texas, a combination that always makes packing a challenge and arriving at McAllen airport in lined snow boots look just a little out of place.

I was meeting local photographer and guide Ruth Hoyt for a few days introduction to the bird photography ranches that have quietly mushroomed in this corner of the country as the draw of strikingly colourful birds, unique as far as the US is concerned, are to be found. None more so probably than the Green winged Jay.

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Green Jay

You can just see the intelligence in that look can’t you? Vivid green wings and an almost superhero like blue and black mask to its face just add to its overall impact.

The reason these unique species are here is simply one of geography: being situated in the far south-west corner of the country and right on the Mexican border of the Rio Grande river sees a number of central American species drifting up and clipping this corner of the country alone.

As you might expect in the big state many species are on the large size – the golden fronted woodpecker (highly spotted black and white wings and bold yellow and red patches on a buff coloured head) simply dwarfs our largest here.

Golden fronted Woodpecker

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There are some bizarre named ones too – Pyrrhuloxia for instance is as complex a non-Latin bird name I know anywhere but it’s certainly a striking species.


Some are clearly named after just how they look – the iconic male Cardinal is clearly based on the appearance of the Roman Catholic robes associated with that position, although the female is frankly just as spectacular in my view.

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Cardinal female

Some are named after their behaviour too – the long-billed thrasher does exactly that to the grass and shrubs in search of insects to feed on.

Long billed Thrasher

Given that we are in a state of the south it was also apt to come across mockingbirds quite regularly too.

Northern Mockingbird


But at a personal level it was the raptors that really drew me in. This is the wild habitat in which to find harris hawk – a common sight at falconry centres across the UK but here surviving in the dry shrub grasslands that these vast ranches now consist of.

Harris Hawk

Vultures here (often referred to locally as buzzards which can be very confusing) are of the new-world varieties and therefore very different to those in Europe and Africa: there are Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures to be seen with the same prevalence as Common Buzzards are now to be found at home in the UK, although they are maybe not quite as pleasing on the eye.

Turkey Vulture

Then there is the caracara. This is known locally as the Mexican eagle, and is a species I have photographed in southern and Central America before, but it is truly at home in these vast empty ranches surviving on snakes, rabbits, hares and ground dwelling birds such as the highly prevalent northern bobwhite quail (a favourite of the hunting fraternity here in the same way as pheasants at home). They are as uniquely impressive a bird as you can imagine and a real experience to see up close, whether the brightly coloured adults or the more muted but equally distinctive juveniles.

Northern Caracara

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Northern Caracara on ground


The quail themselves were equally as impressive, scuttling around at breakneck speed, scrambling in the dirt for insects and seed and it was nice to see a game bird in its natural habitat in comparison with the plethora of pheasants we have at home.

Northern Bobwhite male

Northern Bobwhite scraping ground

The other really enjoyable feature of photographing here is the chance to work on some real old-school style bird photography.  Ruth and I had seen the fabulous looking Black-crested Titmouse around at one of the blinds but failed to get an image we were happy with: they are even speedier than long-tailed tits here at home.  So we focussed on finding a really nice complimentary perch and trying to encourage the bird to use it for a good couple of hours one evening and after lots of oohs, aahs and near misses the final results were well worth the enjoyable time spent.

Black crested Titmouse

So Texas may be a state of controversy and opinion that doesn’t always fit easily with all, but there are pockets of it starting to see that it’s natural resources are worth cherishing, conserving and presenting to a different audience who simply wants to appreciate them in their environment. They and the amazing array of birds that they have on their ranch properties are to be applauded and appreciated as well, and I have indeed pulled a return trip together for next Spring, full details of which can be found here:

Natures Images: South Texas Birdlife

This is truly a mecca for bird photographers – great species, great places to work with them and what a bird that Caracara is! Hope you might be able to join me with the many avian stars of Texas next year.

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Kings of the Beach

Well that seems to be another summer that’s gone.  It’s been a really busy one and I’ve been away for most of it but a return to home and the office for a few weeks not only offers the opportunity to catch up with the mountains of administration that all walks of life necessitate, but also some time to try to get stuck into a mountainous backlog of processing.

It seems apt to be looking at some stuff from the tail end of last year since it’s the season that lies immediately ahead once again, and the 3 weeks in question spent in the Falkland Islands were among the highlights of the last year as a whole:  they are an archipelago deeply rooted in the memories of my generation for sure.

Part of the anticipation of the trip was that I have always held a belief, as a long time bird enthusiast and of seabirds in particular, that to spend some time photographing what I called a proper penguin (king or emperor – the immediately identifiable ones I guess) and time in a large albatross colony were a rite of passage that I needed to go through.  Emperors still await (that would/will hopefully be my dream trip) but the Falklands promised both these opportunities and in putting the itinerary together for the group I had travelling with me I had ensured we had a good amount of time to really focus on these south Atlantic specialists.

The king penguin has made a really steady increase in numbers here and although focussed almost exclusively in one location, Volunteer Point, numbers are now in the order of 1000 breeding pairs.  This is nothing compared to the monster colonies of South Georgia but is still very impressive and I was really excited all the way through the 3 hour drive from Stanley for the first of four days to be spent there in the course of the trip.  The last 2 hours of his were spent navigating the bogs that make up the majority of the islands it seems and I was very grateful to the 4WD and expert driving of Nobby who was looking after us for these journeys.  It wasn’t the best of weather but I was like a teenager with a new toy as we settled on the beach after arriving, back into the wind and rain and my very first king penguin in front of me at last!Blog 1

Pretty soon there were a pair, one in the sea and small groups gathering on the shore too and things were well and truly underway.

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It was clear that the time here was going to be all I had hoped for and more.  I have always believed that when putting trips together it is better to spend a really good amount of time at the best locations rather than try to go everywhere and end up undergoing things at the places that are working best.  All it needs is a bad or disappointing day and that could be it as nowhere works perfectly all the time.  This proved to be a good call here as over the course of the four full days spent at Volunteer there were not only a myriad of different opportunities as a consequence, the time needed anywhere to really get under the surface of the place and how it works behaviour and timing-wise, but it also allowed time for the weather conditions to change and offer variety in terms of lighting too, and although the bright overcast light worked well there were different images to be gleaned when the sun came out.

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It almost looks tropical with that sea colour!

The breeding cycle of the King Penguin is almost unique in that they take over a year to raise their young and as a result are only able to breed in 2 out of each 3 years.  This means that at almost any time of the year you will find birds in an array of stages of the breeding cycle in the colony and so there were groups of breeding adults but also sub-adults coming into their second year, fully fledged and just preparing to head out to sea for the first time and for pretty much the next 10 -12 months.  It meant that the beach was a busy place of birds coming in and going out but also gathering to socialise.

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At times it looked like they were almost on some sort of military parade and some of the grouping really did take on an array of anthropomorphic characteristics well worthy of caption competitions.

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They were also very curious indeed as Sue found out!

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A few hundred metres inland from the white sands of the beach was the main colony and here there were an array of different stages of the breeding cycle to be discovered with some already standing on freshly laid eggs, some late youngsters from the previous year, one year olds who hadn’t quite got the courage to leave the creche area yet and some adults in their “between breeding” spell undergoing a full moult; a process that takes around a month during which time they basically stay ashore in the colony full time.

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These ranked masses provided a whole new context from an image perspective and I was really glad on the last day when the wind changed direction and they faced the right way for these large group shots: they reminded me of the warriors guarding the emperors tomb in ancient China. Mind you I don’t think he would have wanted any guards looking as scruffy and unkempt as those mid-moult did.

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The youngsters were equally lacking in the general cuteness stakes at this time of year and even when put side by side with an adult which confirmed the similarities in terms of conformation it was hard to imagine that in just a few weeks time they too would moult and turn into their prettier elder relatives.

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Given his shape it was equally hard to believe that this particular one had had too much of a hard time in the juveniles creche while its parents were at sea fishing for it in the winter that had not long finished.

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Those mid -moult and transition to adulthood looked the most peculiar and at times they would pounce on an unsuspecting adult in a quest for food too, one that was turned down as they were on their own now.

Blog 14aBlog 15Mind you there were occasional spats between adults too. One minute they would be standing there seemingly at peace in their interaction then one would stand up on its toes to show off its height and slap the other.  It was very comical to watch but only occasionally did a more aggressive beak prod take place and the surprise of the victim was clear to see.

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Mind you it wasn’t long before they had kissed and made up.

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Whenever I spend any time with any large, numerate and extremely approachable subject I am always keen to pull together a number of more intimate portraits as well as behavioural and environmental images and the combination of settings and therefore backgrounds gave additional opportunities to do this.

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In the last of these he was catching a quick 40 winks and I loved the way he did so with his feet in the air and his tail spread on the ground to stop him falling over.

The weather in the Falklands is capable of changing very quickly and it’s also a place where the wind blows almost incessantly too.  As a consequence there was plenty of time spent sheltering in the hut on the beach when the downpours were just too much, but they never lasted too long as the wind always seemed to blow them through quickly enough and on a couple of occasions when the rain stopped and the sun came out the resulting storm light was simply breathtaking and a great chance to use the Lee Grad filters I had been kindly given by them to try out before the trip.  These are some of my favourite images of the total trip, the combination of light, blowing sand and a stunning subject was quite breathtaking and I hope they do the moments justice.

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When this light coincided with low tide there were also a few fleeting reflections on the beach to be found too.

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My time at Volunteer Point well and truly lived up to all my expectations and it’s a place I am equally as excited to be looking to revisit towards the end of next year when I will be running a trip there for Natures Images once again.

I hope to cover the second rite of photographic passage here in another blog in the next week or so but in the meantime the final word for this one has to be with the undoubted king of this particular beach.

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Marvellous monochrome

I’m a touch embarrassed how long it is since I last posted some fresh material here on a blog but my feet don’t seem to have time to touch the ground at the moment. Regular followers of my work on my Facebook  page will know though that I have been travelling quite extensively in recent months with a good proportion of it being in Africa in the past year or so (and plenty more to come in the next too), a relatively new continent for me to focus on photographically to this current extent.

It is a region that is dear to many as one where wildlife spectacle, scale, accessibility and opportunity abound and after a number of visits to south, west and east now I have to confess that it is beginning to truly cast its spell on me too.

One aspect of the many images that I have seen and enjoyed from the so-called dark continent is the role of monochrome in the mix.  Maybe it’s a throw back to the first images from here that I gazed at as a child as they were pretty much all black and white in their nature, but I have always felt that it seems to work as a presentation better here than many other areas and it is something clearly recognised by the fine art exponents of the wildlife photography world who have focussed their work here such as Nick Brandt and David Lloyd amongst others. It was something I was keen to explore, especially what it was that seemed to make it work so well here during my travels and it provides the focus for this otherwise disparate collection.

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There are of course some species such as Zebra that are naturally black and white in their markings and so stripping the colour out of this simple scene has really emphasised them.

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The use of a polarising filter to really capture the drama of both setting and sky of the Maasai Mara here is another classic and obvious scenario in which the simplicity that monochrome allows can work very effectively too.

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Sticking with the markings though and selecting a small section of them such as this giraffe to really show the details, and in this particular instance adding a slight colour tint as well, is an approach that I knew worked well thanks to the work of others but as happy as I was to work on these approaches I wanted to develop more of a personal checklist – when should I specifically be thinking black and white?

One of the answers is where texture of the subject is a key characteristic.  Skin, especially when it is hard, leathery and wrinkled really does seem to work well – the removal of colour from these images of Elephant and Black Rhino respectively, especially the final close-up really does emphasise their texture and all its characteristics.

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The same might also be said when it comes to looking for texture in the landscape too: this general scene of grassland filled with game in the Maasai Mara benefits hugely from the simple contrasts between grass and wildlife.

Mara game

One of the many challenges of photographing here is the very short periods of golden light at the beginning and end of the day. It means that much photography is inevitably done in the shoulder periods just after or beforehand when the light might normally be considered to be getting too harsh.  Sometimes though this can work in your favour when it comes to thinking in a monochrome way – this backlit Zebra would have have had a very washed out feel if left as a colour image for instance and I simply wouldn’t have even pointed my camera at it. Recognising that the contrasts would work well in monochrome meant it was well worth pressing the shutter.

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The same applies to these running Wildebeest. Albeit that I have deliberately slowed the shutter speed down to create the sense of speed, blur and movement they were shot almost straight into the sun and the background is completely blown as far as exposure is concerned: far less of an issue when you turn it to the white element of a black and white image!

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Sticking with Wildebeest, when you are fortunate enough to witness the drama of a river crossing the chances are that it too will not be in the perfect light conditions; it’s not as if it happens to order after all.  Add a lot of dust into the scene along with the fact that shooting at this time of day can also play havoc getting a nice white balance to your images and the simplicity of monochrome becomes a really good option and one that allows you to be drawn into the action and not distracted by less than perfect colour.

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Of course all these scenarios can work equally well in colour when the conditions are right and absolutely nothing beats golden perfect light, but realistically it simply doesn’t occur all the time so developing an eye that thinks texture and contrast rather than colour alone is a great way to begin to see things here.

In the past I have always had a simple guideline when it comes to monochrome – if it adds something to an image (i.e. it looks better than the colour version) then that is reason enough to present it in its more simple form. Working in Africa has really fine tuned that thinking for me and with the marvellous big cats to be found there more than anything.

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These two male lions couldn’t be more contrasting by dint of the fact that one is clearly pretty handsome and the other has what is best described as a face more full of character. By presenting them both in monochrome their characters, as best that can be gleaned by looks alone, can instantly be compared: in colour the light, setting and the fact that the first is even more striking because of his golden locks would make this less obvious.  As someone who has always been particularly drawn to the portrait side of photographing wildlife, especially mammals, this really appeals as it can make for a more engaging image and one full of personality.  Lion cubs simply have all of this in abundance.

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One other facet that working on portraits like this in monochrome brings across is the role of the background.  In colour the more uniform and smooth the better, and in terms of tones it is always a major factor in where you want to be photographing your subject from so that the colours compliment or contrast the main subject accordingly. In monochrome this is less critical: it becomes about shades and tones, either conventional in their smoothness such as this Cheetah and in the following example of a Leopard, actually having some texture in the grass provides some additional depth to the image that would have proved a distraction if the image had been presented in colour.

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So as much as anything Africa is bringing a fresh ingredient to my observational eye now – thinking monochrome like I used to decades ago when I first started the hobby that has become my cherished profession. And when all the elements of texture, personality, contrast and light all come together it remains as powerful a presentation as it always has.

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Winter in the land of the rising sun (part 2)

It might seem odd posting another winter focussed blog as summer only just seems to be giving way to autumn here, but it’s a reflection of just how far behind I remain processing wise!

My trip to Japan earlier this year though was one of many highlights so far so I am keen to do it justice in terms of coverage here: it proved to be so much more than just a photographic trip, more a cultural immersion and with it some real reminders as to just how keeping things simple and calm can really pay off photographically.


Cranes have long been among my favourite families of birds having enjoyed many days listening to their almost incessant calling and marvelled at their behaviours in both Europe and North America, so the chance to spend time with the Red-Crowned Crane (not unique to Japan but very much an icon of the country depicted as it is on their national airline logo for starters) was something I was very much looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint.


This is a bird that is a well-established symbol of long life and prosperity here and up until the 18th century when the feudal system was actually wiped out across the country, it was common practice for peasants to place gifts of food (generally fish) in fields where the birds would gather: the birds were a protected species as well.



With the societal change came changes in agriculture and land use too, which placed habitat pressure on them as well as a removal of protection and they became an easy target in response to demand for their plumage; by the beginning of the 20th century they were almost extinct. Much conservation effort followed once it became clear how threatened they were and from a low of around 60 birds a small but stable population of around 1000 birds has been re-established on the northern island of Hokkaido, and that traditional practice of feeding is very much in evidence at a number of sites including the Akan Crane Centre.



These days it is more a question of corn in the morning but there remains an almost ceremonial placing of a small number of fish on the snow every afternoon as well, although this tends to act as the time for Eagles and Kites to drop in rather than being of much benefit to the Cranes themselves!


It’s a popular place for people to visit so the areas overlooking the fields are busy with general tourists as well as photographers, and it’s always great to see so many people drawn to watch even just one tiny part of nature here – it certainly means that the chances of these magnificent birds continuing to remain here have to be high.

And magnificent doesn’t do them justice really as, like Cranes the world over, they will always put on their own kind of show.  Whether it be their awkward looking landing techniques, their extreme sense of excitement at meeting up with friends and family, their sheer elegance or their overtly apparent shows of bonding and commitment, there is much to be gleaned from several hours watching them interact.




Throw in varying weather conditions (from sunshine through early morning mists, several degrees below freezing and then falling snow) over the course of several days and as always the semblance of a portfolio can be built too.





These are birds that have been depicted in all forms of Japanese art since the 5th century and a combination of their grace, the incredible cleanliness of a winter setting and quite possibly an increasing amount of time becoming absorbed personally into the respectful and tranquil aspects of Japanese culture drew me towards really simple compositions as well as the occasional experimentation with monochrome which I am increasingly enjoying these days too.







A stunning bird, beautiful conditions and a real lesson in the benefits of a more measured and simplistic outlook photographically: it’s been a real treat to relive it again with this recent processing too!



Working with northern light

For many here in the northern hemisphere, the summer is a challenging time photographically. With the sun almost directly overhead throughout these longest days of the year it becomes necessary to adjust the body clock significantly – early starts and late finishes to work with the best the light has to offer become the norm in a search to avoid harshness.

Head further north and the sun barely sets (if ever once you get deep inside the arctic circle) and then that magical light lasts for much longer and it becomes necessary to switch the body clock around completely and work through the night while resting in the day.

After a brief hint of this (known locally as the ‘simmer din’) when in the Shetlands in late June, I headed to northern Finland earlier this month to work with some of their resident predators, among the hardest mammals to find in Europe. While it is wrong to call wolves, wolverine or bears strictly nocturnal the fact is that the night-time hours are when they are at their most active, especially at this time of the year when it still offers enough light for them.


Blog-2Wind the clock back just a few years and both these images would have been unthinkable in terms of their clarity.  They are both shot on ISO 3200 and in the case of the wolf image (photographed at approaching 1am) it still only generated a shutter speed of 1/80 of a second!  The wonder of modern digital SLR’s really does allow good quality images to be produced even in these twilight hours.

In days gone by these sorts of low level light conditions would have meant experimenting with slow shutter speeds in a search for creativity, and this is an approach that I have to say I do still enjoy accepting that these images of a wolf gliding through the boreal forest or wolverine scampering along a log are not everyones cup of tea.



The Wolverine captured in the rich warm light of earlier in the evening is probably much more to peoples taste but the motion blurred effect still appeals to me more.


When given the chance though, on the very last evening of the Natures Images trip I was running, to work in a site I know well and throughout the evening given a much earlier arrival time of the bears there that night, the chance to really experiment with the late evening and night-time light was one that I really enjoyed.

First of all there was the classic rich warm almost red glow to the light that comes in the last half an hour before it finally sets.


The low light also gives a opportunity to play with under-exposure to emphasise the highlights it creates as well.


When the sun has literally just set there often remains a hint of residual pink on the elements at the top of a scene as well, such as these trees.


When a couple of young bears came around the side of the hide then the opportunity for even more classic back-lighting and silhouettes was presented.



Once the sun had finally set and the Finnish equivalent of the aforementioned simmer dim took over, it was back to the 3200 ISO as subtle whips of night-time mist curled around the edges of the pool.


An amazing night, a highlight of the summer so far, and a reminder that when it comes down to it in this game it is always all about light – and, of course, just how you work with it.

A Happy Half Dozen

Although I didn’t realise it at the time I think I had some withdrawal symptoms last summer.  It was the first summer in over a dozen years that has not involved at least one days visit to a Puffin colony.  I had made a trip to one in the early Spring to find them in a snowy setting  but the summer itself was bereft of their company although they were never far from my mind as the last stages of The Secret Lives of Puffins book came to fruition.

Well I am just back from nearly 2 weeks in the Shetlands and one of my favourite colonies on Fair Isle, and I have well and truly had my Puffin fix once again and although time is brief as I head off once again tomorrow to the boreal swamps and forests of Finland, I have just had time to process a happy half dozen of my favourite images from the time I spent there.


I am not short of images of these charismatic birds, and their characteristics are forever to be found on all the social media sharing sites at this time of the year so it is hard to find “different” images of them for sure, but one aspect I have been consciously looking to work on this year is rather than the uniform defocussed background long lenses bring is rather to look for one where different tones and the resultant shapes can compliment the subject such as the image above and below.


As for the rest of the images in this necessarily brief post – well they are what they are and hopefully reflective of some of the further approaches I try to adopt to working with the well photographed: they also helped make sure that the withdrawal symptoms are no more!!