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Showing posts from 2015

PHOTOS OF THE YEAR 2015

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Here are my favourite shots from 2015. The photo I think everyone will like is the first - I posted it to the Flickr Y our Best Shot group and I'm hopi ng the Flickr curators select it for their blog this December . I like the Roe deer buck in the forest best. I had seen and missed him before and purposely revisited the forest to locate this si ngle Roe living in isolation. My favou rite experience was watching the sun rise in Dockey Wood, Bucking hamsh ire, having spent the entire night 'Foreign Legion' style out in the open. Interestingly, Fallow deer on the Ashridge Estate don't appear to be frightened of humans, unlike Fallow anywhere in Sussex, which tend to bolt immediately.  2015 turned out to be a year of amazing and sometimes strange coincidences; I randomly bumped into the parents of two school friends in the middle of nowhere. It had b een 25 years since we last spoke, but we remembered each other well. They also own a country estate and very kindl

STARLING BLURMURATIONS | BRIGHTON

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I reached a turning point at the end of last winter. I felt that my starling work was becoming stagnant. Too many efforts were an attempt to recreate my best sunset murmuration shots from 2011 - 2013 , many of wh ich are one-offs , when everything seem ed to come tog ether in a fra ction of a second. In many ways, blurmurations, taken using a slow shutter speed, are equally hard to pull off. Not every winter afternoon in Brighton produces ideal conditions for fast, action shots. O ften, the sun is obscured by mid and high level clouds, which result in a blown out solar disc. The best weather for high speed action is either sunny, clou dless conditions or sunshine and showers for a dramatic backdrop. Ideal conditions for blurmurations are either overcast skies and gale force winds or sunless skies, with patches of blue and magenta. I've thoroughly enjoyed my adventure into more unpredic table, experimental waters. I shall take a short br eak now , pour myself a wee dram and r

THE BIRD AND THE BYSTANDERS

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A crowd had gathered around a washed up Guillemot on Brighton beach. Frequent storms during winter 2014 weakened many sea birds, causing them to get stranded on beaches around the English coast. Many casualties were covered in oil. Rather than use their initiative and find a solution, the bystanders faffed about. Some filmed the bird on their smartphones; others talked at length about doing something, but then failed to act. Humans may think they have freewill, but it is well established that they behave in highly predictable ways, especially when in groups. It is common for people in a group or a crowd to ignore a str icken person or animal and carry on regardless . This phenomenon is called the diffusion of responsibility . It happens regardless of personality, culture or socio-economic status. We are all capable of walking past someone who has collapsed in the street. I decided to phone the RSPCA. In the meantime, a man stood by, idly allowing his son to threaten and throw

BRIGHTON & HOVE CALENDAR 2015 (and 2016)

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I'm pleased to say my photo of the starling murmurations features in this month's Brighton and Hove Calendar. O ne of my sunflower images will feature as t he main picture for June... in the Brighton & Hove Calendar 2016 . It is currently for sale in Churchill Square, Brighton at a stall near Zara. It is also available to buy online or at Brighton Photography, 52-53 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 2LN.

THIS IS AUTUMN

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Autumn is always a busy time for me. Not only does autumn produce a rich palette of colours, it is my last chance to enjoy the outdoors in comfortable temperatures and reasonable daylight hours, before the short, dreich days of winter. This year's locations include Friston Forest, a small woodland on the Sussex/Kent border and a private estate on the High Weald, which is adjacent to one of my favourite forests in Sussex. I enjoyed watching Fallow deer from afar, while they were taking part in the rut. The deep, belching groans from bucks could be heard from all parts of the estate. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any photos worthy of being shown. The estate is a hive of activity, as the owners are building a country house in the grounds. My week off coincided with half term and deer in the neighbouring forest were frightened off by incoherent sounds from dogs, children and adults who are several decades from reaching maturity. I like to photograph a particular woodland

MID SUMMER WILDLIFE

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I've become relatively good at spotting Roe deer out of the corner of my eye, even if the deer is hiding in thick undergrowth. When I saw this buck, I had to adjust my perspective slightly, as a fern was obscuring his face. The buck darted off shortly afterwards. I could hear his bark for several minutes. In a remarkable coincidence, later in the evening I bumped into the parents of two pals from primary school. They have bought an estate adjacent to a forest I regularly visit. I've been kindly given permission to enter their estate, whenever I like. The estate includes an 80 acre bluebell woodland, several large fields and good vantage points. Three herds of Fallow deer live on their estate and they gather every evening in the open. Previously a shooting estate, all such rights have been removed. I am therefore likely to see mature bucks with well developed antlers in a few years time. It was so nice to be reunited (in the middle of nowhere) with such kind people. I look for

ON SERENDIPITY

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There's a fabulously beautiful forest on the High Weald I like to visit throughout the year. Most forests in the area are restricted, but the owners have granted permissive access to the public. Every May, a small part of the forest is transformed by carpets of English bluebells into a fairytale landscape with a stream running through it. I've long wanted to photograph deer among bluebells, but I have yet to benefit. A couple of years ago, I crossed the stream to explore the other side of the bluebell wood, which is adjacent to a large field. Fallow deer graze there in evening.  A fallen mature beech tree blocked the path. Someone had placed a Fallow deer skull on the trunk. I noticed the antlers had been sawn off. I felt sad about the deer and the tree. It made me think about that old philosophical question or some version of it: "If a tree falls down and no-one is around, does it have any meaning?" Most British people no longer belong to any of the three gr

EARLY SUMMER IN SUSSEX

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The emerald green and vibrant yellow colours of June never cease to lift one's spirits high. Everything is on an upward trend; our moods, our general well-being, the amount of spare time we have, even after finishing work, we can go home, grab a bite to eat and spend the next few hours in the glorious countryside. I had been without my camera for three weeks in May, forgoing a beautiful month, while the Colchester Camera Repair Service replaced several components and re-soldered a broken switch. All my pent-up energy had to come out somehow. The week started with torrential rain and misery, but summer arrived on Wednesday and it looks set to continue into next week. Locations include the Sussex/Surrey border, the High Weald, Friston Forest and the South Downs.  There are two mother Roe this summer at my deer location. One has twins, the other has a single Kid. Unfortunately, the tall grass obscures them from view; only brief glimpses are possible at this time of year. By mid-su