Monthly Archives: October 2010

Being a busy bee plus Wildphotos and WWT London Wetlands Centre

It has been a busy few weeks since my return from Nepal. I have been mainly office bound sorting out the Workshops and courses I want to run next year, plus catching up on some image processing. I’m still working on the edit of my Nepal photos as well. I also ran off to London for the Wildphotos event, which I first went to last year. It is an expensive but highly interesting couple of days meeting and greeting the greats and fellow peers of Wildlife photography. The lectures are both inspiring and demoralising at the same time. The images are fantastic but the stories behind some of them are situations way beyond my means. Sometimes you get the impression that there is a slightly closed shop to newcomers, but in reality there are so many photographers chasing so little resources, agencies and editors will stick to who they know and trust to deliver the goods – the eternal getting your foot in the door problem arises for the rest of us.

There seemed to be a few trends in the lectures this year. Most revolved around having long-term projects and trying to get the message across in as many ways as possible – stills, audio, books and video. These were being combined together or being promoted as separate entities in an overall package.

The second was termed Plan B, which became a euphemism for a wife or female partner to help out on location. The term was coined by Stefano Unterthiner, who left his location in Finland shooting Swans to come and judge the Wildlife Photographer of the Year entries, only to get a call from his wife that at the nest they had been watching the eggs were starting to hatch. “Plan B” had some quick photography lessons down the phone and stepped into the breach for a day till Stefano could get back to take over. Chris Packham announced that he is still looking for “Plan B”.

I popped into WWT London Wetlands Centre for one of my open days, and met up with and old school chum. We had a leisurely stroll around the centre and even though it seemed quite quiet with Coots, Moorhens and Herons aplenty, I was pleased with some of the images. It has also given me an idea of photographing more of these species as I tend to over look them in the rush for something different.

  

I’ve also remembered to enter some images into the WWT photographic competition this year. Normally I miss all the deadlines with competitions as I get distracted on something else!

WWT National Wetlands Centre Wales

I popped into WWT National Wetlands Centre Wales last week to see what was around. It was quiet except for the Millennium Wetlands side, where from the Sir Peter Scott hide there was a great view of a flock of various Waders such as Godwit, Green and Redshank. Occasionally the flock would lift as a raptor flew over, but most of the time they quietly roosted amongst the rocks. A little Grebe was feeding just in front of the hide and allowed a few different images to be made.

From the side of the hide you can get a view of one of the perches set up for the Kingfisher. Unfortunately I missed the image of the kingfisher, as I was helping out another photographer at the time. The Kingfisher didn’t return, but a small group of Gadwall duck were feeding and bathing nearby allowing  me to try out a few different images. I was drawn by the green water ad the ripples around the duck as it fed. The upright image seems to work better than the horizontal version, which I hadn’t expected.

To Nepal and back

It was time for a get away from it all break, and after my initial plans to go to Sri Lanka unravelled, I ended up in Nepal instead. No hardship there. I find that travel to new places helps clear my head of the ever present quest to document and photograph Gower, plus you always get some new experience along the way. When visiting a country for the first time I tend to use organised tours as I find these a good way of covering a lot of ground quite easily, even though they can limit the photographic opportunities. Once I have got an idea of a country, I will then return with my own custom itinerary, tailored to my needs.

By getting up at, or before dawn, I usually managed a few hours photography before my tour group had to gather. This gave me the advantage of being out and about before the other tourists and the street hawkers who were looking for them to sell their tourist memorabilia. The main issue I have with organised trips is the dilemma of what equipment to take. I usually take a reduced amount to what I would like to take. By reducing the amount of gear it sometimes also helps the photographic process. With less choice of lenses,  you find you just get on with photographing and working around any issues caused by having a limited choice.

I had no preconcieved ideas about Nepal before I went plus I purposely decided not to do any research before I set off and saved it for the long flight out, reading the guide book to pass the time. Although chaotic at times, especially on the roads, Nepal was a bit of a surprise as even though it is in the 20 poorest countries in the world, there is plenty of food and housing pretty much for all even with a population just over 30 million. What I noticed most that even in the countryside you never seemed to get away from humanity, and it didn’t have that wilderness feeling that I had expected. At night it was clear to see with the lights on in the houses how populated the countryside was as well as the main towns and cities. I didn’t go to the far west of the country, so it may be different there. I will need another trip to find out!