1. Twilight

    The Twilight project (for now at least) has come to an end as I now have other projects I wish to concentrate on. Its been one of the most challenging projects I have done to date from both a technical and artistic standpoint and, as a result, has been all the more enjoyable and worthwhile.

    Rather than post all the images singularly and having seen the effectiveness of Niall Benvie’s Panels and the work of Matthew Chase-Daniel, I have decided to produce a panel of my own which, I feel, gives a cohesion to the series.

    So why did I choose to undertake the project in the first place? Like many others, I’m forever striving to improve my photography and try out different techniques in the hope of producing something fresh and original, to draw the viewer in and look more closely as opposed to merely moving from one image to another. From what I could see, few images had been created during this period and that was all the motivation I needed! It, also, wasn’t weather dependent and subject matter lay all around and so if I’d spent the day at home processing images I could still pop out for a couple of hours to a nearby woodland and look for subjects there, thereby ensuring I remain productive.

    Ultimately, I want people to appreciate and care about our immediate environment and for photographers not to think you have to travel to far flung destinations to obtain rewarding images. My ethos has always been to work close to home and this project is a testament to that where all were taken less than 5 miles from where I live.

    Click on the image to see the panel in its entirety.

    twilight

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  2. Windflower

    If there is one flower that, to me, symbolises the onset of spring, it’s the wood anemone. Each year I find myself drawn to these delicate flowers that carpet our woodlands here in Kent. I have a favourite woodland that I like to visit where I have been assistant warden for almost 25 years. I take my lunch, sit on an old chestnut stump surrounded by anemones. I might even take a picture or two. My thoughts turn to a time many years ago when, as a boy with a camera, I first visited these old coppice woodlands with a good friend and mentor. He is no longer with us but he is as much a part of that woodland today as he was all those years ago.

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  3. Favourite images of 2013

    Well, another year has passed and it’s only when I look back at those images I have taken over the last 12 months that I realise it’s been quite a productive one! As always, the vast majority of my work is undertaken within 20 miles of my home, here, in north Kent and so, not surprisingly, 10 out of the 12 are “local”. These are my personal favourites (though in honesty I could have included more) and so I don’t expect everyone to like my choice but then that’s photography where, like any other art form, it’s purely subjective. Wouldn’t it be terribly boring if everyone liked the same images?! I hope 2014 will be equally productive and I can see no reason why not considering the various trips and projects that I have planned but, who knows, mother nature may have different ideas.

    Lesser redpoll I was sitting in my hide on the marshes where I had a feeding station when all of a sudden this little chap appeared and began feeding just 4m away! I tentatively took a few shots to gauge it's reaction whereby it flew off but then returned, immediately, and stayed for the next few minutes. They are incredibly quick and the willowherb seed-head it was feeding on was swaying a bit so I was more than happy that quite a few came out sharp. I sacrificed depth of field for speed to ensure I stopped any movement and to render the background completely out of focus. Nikon D300, 200-400, iso 800, 1/1600 sec. f5.6.

    Lesser redpoll
    I was sitting in my hide on the marshes where I had a feeding station when all of a sudden this little chap appeared and began feeding just 4m away! I tentatively took a few shots to gauge it’s reaction whereby it flew off but then returned, immediately, and stayed for the next few minutes. They are incredibly quick and the willowherb seed-head it was feeding on was swaying a bit so I was more than happy that quite a few came out sharp. I sacrificed depth of field for speed to ensure I stopped any movement and to render the background completely out of focus.
    Nikon D300, 200-400, iso 800, 1/1600 sec. f5.6.

    European bison walking in heavy snowfall. Bialowieza, Poland.  Taken while co-leading a tour to photograph Europe's largest land mammal. I took a number of "clear" images as it stood in the meadow and was looking for something different. And so I stepped into the forest and composed this image through branches, to give the impression of peering into the world of the bison.

    European bison walking in heavy snowfall. Bialowieza, Poland.
    Taken while co-leading a tour to photograph Europe’s largest land mammal. I took a number of “clear” images as it stood in the meadow and was looking for something different. And so I stepped into the forest and composed this image through branches, to give the impression of peering into the world of the bison.
    Nikon D300, 200-400mm @200mm, iso 400, 1/160th sec. f4.5.

    Wood anemone at twilight Taken to form part of continuing, self-assigned project shooting plants at twilight. That period between sunset and dusk that lasts for, approximately, 45 minutes. It presents many challenges, not least subject movement and focussing issues as well as having to view plant photography in a new way as few "conventional" compositions work in such conditions.

    Wood anemone at twilight
    Taken to form part of a continuing, self-assigned, project shooting plants at twilight. That period between sunset and dusk and dawn and sunrise that lasts for, approximately, 45 minutes. It presents many challenges, not least subject movement and focussing issues as well as having to view plant photography in an entirely new way as few “conventional” compositions work in such conditions.
    Nikon D300, 200mm Micro, iso 280, 1 sec. f4.

    Bluebell Having photographed bluebells many hundreds of times over the years, I was looking at producing more than just record shot and so as the sun rose and illuminated the background, I made a multiple exposure – one sharp and the other, out of focus.

    Bluebell
    Having photographed bluebells many hundreds of times over the years, I was looking at producing more than just a record shot and so as the sun rose and illuminated the background, I made a double exposure – one sharp and the other, out of focus.
    Nikon D300, 105mm Micro, iso 200, 1/15th sec. f4.

    Red campion Taken during a period of windy, sunny days, any flower photography I undertook was being carried out at dawn and sunset. This was captured as the sun set.

    Red campion at sunset

    Last rays of the day

    Last rays of the day

    Poppy field at sunrise

    Poppy field at sunrise

    Lizard orchid.  A tip-off from a warden friend of mine led me to this wonderful plant which had flowered for the first time in 20 years at this reserve. Situated just a few metres from a seldom used footpath and keen not to give away it’s location, I would leave the path 20 or so metres before-hand so as not to leave a “path” leading directly to it that might otherwise have drawn attention to certain members of the public! In addition I would shoot, only, at sunrise and sunset when no-one was around. Very covert! I had a window of just 10 minutes when the sun appeared between trees producing this golden light.  Nikon D300, 200-400 @ 360mm, iso 200, 1/200 sec. f5.

    Lizard orchid.
    A tip-off from a warden friend of mine led me to this wonderful plant which had flowered for the first time in 20 years at this reserve. Situated just a few metres from a seldom used footpath and keen not to give away it’s location, I would leave the path 20 or so metres before-hand so as not to leave a “path” leading directly to it that might otherwise have drawn attention to certain members of the public! In addition I would shoot, only, at sunrise and sunset when no-one was around. Very covert! I had a window of just 10 minutes when the sun appeared between trees producing this golden light.
    Nikon D300, 200-400 @ 360mm, iso 200, 1/200 sec. f5.

    Common darter dragonfly clinging to sea club-rush at sunrise. Nikon D300, 200mm Micro, iso 200, 1/250 sec. f8.

    Common darter dragonfly clinging to sea club-rush at sunrise.
    Nikon D300, 200mm Micro, iso 200, 1/250 sec. f8.

    Rabbit at sunset

    Rabbit at sunset

    Fishing boat at sunset, Dungeness.

    Fishing boat at sunset, Dungeness.

     

    Canoes and northern lights The image was made on the first night of the Northern Lights and Autumn Colours of Lapland photo-tour that I lead every year with photographer and guide, Antti Pietikäinen. It was the most incredible display that I have, personally, witnessed that lasted for close on 3 hours with curtains of green and violet moving and swirling in the night sky. As a result, it gave us the opportunity to move to different locations and shoot a variety of compositions. After a long day of travelling and shooting through the night, everyone went to bed exhausted but exhilarated. The best feeling a photographer can have – I think! This image went on to win The Telegraph’s Travel – The Big Picture photography competition. Nikon D600, 20mm f2.8, iso 3200, 20 secs. F2.8.

    Canoes and northern lights
    This image was made on the first night of the Northern Lights and Autumn Colours of Lapland photo-tour that I lead every year with photographer and guide, Antti Pietikäinen. It was the most incredible display that I have, personally, witnessed that lasted for close on 3 hours with curtains of green and violet moving and swirling in the night sky. As a result, it gave us the opportunity to move to different locations and shoot a variety of compositions. After a long day of travelling and shooting through the night, everyone went to bed exhausted but exhilarated. The best feeling a photographer can have – I think! This image went on to win The Telegraph’s Travel – The Big Picture photography competition.
    Nikon D600, 20mm f2.8, iso 3200, 20 secs. F2.8.

     

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