The Lady of the Lakes and Friends

Suffolk, UK in late 2017 was thriving with Kingfisher activity. Combine this with a beautiful habitat, and presence of other charismatic species, a day or two was all that was needed for a nice set of images…

 Her majesty overseeing her kingdom. Canon 5D Mk iii, 300mm f2.8.

Her majesty overseeing her kingdom. Canon 5D Mk iii, 300mm f2.8.

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 On one of the days, a gentle mist helped isolate the kingfisher from a competing background. 1dx, 800mm f5.6.

On one of the days, a gentle mist helped isolate the kingfisher from a competing background. 1dx, 800mm f5.6.

 Canon 5D Mk iii, 70-200 f2.8. An uncharacteristic shot from myself with a lot of depth of field. Can you spot her?

Canon 5D Mk iii, 70-200 f2.8. An uncharacteristic shot from myself with a lot of depth of field. Can you spot her?

 A moment in light. 1DX, 800mm f5.6.

A moment in light. 1DX, 800mm f5.6.

 You never know who you may bump in to…. 1DX, 400mm f2.8

You never know who you may bump in to…. 1DX, 400mm f2.8

 A gentle hover with a little motion intended in the wings, 1DX 800mm f5.6

A gentle hover with a little motion intended in the wings, 1DX 800mm f5.6

 A first sighting of a wild grass snake in the UK, 1DX 800mm f5.8

A first sighting of a wild grass snake in the UK, 1DX 800mm f5.8

 The traditional fish eating shot… 1DX, 800mm f5.6

The traditional fish eating shot… 1DX, 800mm f5.6

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 A model bird, thank you.

A model bird, thank you.

Tiger cubs @ZSL

A good month has passed since my last shoot with the cubs at ZSLW. They are now a lot more active and a real challenge to photograph.

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Usual gear, 1dx, 400mm f2.8 etc.

Training for Tadoba...

My trip to Tadoba Tiger reserve is fast approaching, and I need to get back in tune with photographing the big cats. I opted for a visit to ZSL Whipsnade, as the tigress has recently given birth to four beautiful cubs....

 The mother carries her cub to a shaded area. 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

The mother carries her cub to a shaded area. 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

  Flehmen  response from the tigress. 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

Flehmen response from the tigress. 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

 Calling for mum, 800mm f5.6, 1dx.

Calling for mum, 800mm f5.6, 1dx.

 A simple portrait, using some lens flare 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

A simple portrait, using some lens flare 400mm f2.8, 1dx.

 Wondering when it will be finally time to switch to meat from boring milk... 800mm f5.6.

Wondering when it will be finally time to switch to meat from boring milk... 800mm f5.6.

 Feeding and grooming

Feeding and grooming

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Global Tiger Day 2018

Ten years ago, I had the privilege of seeing my first wild tiger, deep in the core of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, India. It didn’t come easy. We had days of no sightings, and only hints of their presence. After a lot of fruitless searching, we got the call and at around eleven am, boarded the elephant. The tigers were resting well away from any roads. The ride through the jungle was filmed by my friend, and I have recently found the VHS after a decade. Recalling my own memories, and watching the newly recovered footage… the forest was surreal. Truly beautiful, pristine and untouched. We moved through a gushing river with crystal clear water, through thick Sal growth and into a ravine deep in the jungle where we stopped. I recall looking into the distance, seeking my first glimpse, but in fact, just below us was a large sub-adult wild tiger. It is no exaggeration to say the animal radiated a presence, spirit, and at the same time a vulnerability, that I have seldom seen in front of my lens. So after bagging my shots, I put the camera down for five minutes and did a 360. The idea at the time was rather than remembering a close-up of a wild tiger through a viewfinder, it would be a far stronger memory seeing it with my own eyes, and I am so glad I did.

It was such a powerful experience, that it led me to photograph them constantly ever since. Whether that was at my local zoo, or back in India. More so than a photographic subject, I grew to understand her wider role in the natural world that includes us. Tigers are an umbrella species, and even humans, for all our innovation and technology, are still a part of this system.

To put it simply, if we can protect umbrella species, such as the tiger, we also protect the forests, the other jungle species and underground water reserves at the same time. Ultimately, our own long term survival. This very reason draws me back every year, and has given me a purpose and drive that is partially fulfilled by photography, but more so by helping to resurrect this declining cat. I have used my camera to capture the tiger aesthetically and created calendars and prints to raise money for their protection; I took storytelling images to educate and empower audiences, and now will embark on a long term project to further this purpose.

So this tiger day, ten years later I implore everyone to help support this iconic and vibrant species, whether that be through raising awareness through your own photography and blogs, or generating funds for charities. We only have one chance to preserve the tiger, let’s not hesitate to take it.

Please click here to see how you can help.

 My original shot of the sub adult tiger at a School near Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

My original shot of the sub adult tiger at a School near Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

 Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

 Wild male tiger at Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Wild male tiger at Tadoba Tiger Reserve

The magic, beauty and spirit of the Farnes

I decided to skip Skomer Island and try the Farnes this year. A weekend was finally made available, so after a 3am start, and epic four hour journey, I was greeted with severe swell and cancelled boat trips. However, I endured and managed a few hours on both Inner Farne and Staple Island the following day. This is a glimpse into what I saw:

 With this photograph, I've decided to leave it faithful to the raw file. The 400mm f2.8 giving me the space, isolation, dreamy look to my image that I, well... dream of I guess. 

With this photograph, I've decided to leave it faithful to the raw file. The 400mm f2.8 giving me the space, isolation, dreamy look to my image that I, well... dream of I guess. 

 These are two friends I made whilst the sea was unleashing its rage on the Islands. A little bit of bribery and a fisheye helped me to create this down at the harbour.

These are two friends I made whilst the sea was unleashing its rage on the Islands. A little bit of bribery and a fisheye helped me to create this down at the harbour.

 A low angle shot of a Tern

A low angle shot of a Tern

  The cliff edges can be quite a harsh place to raise the next generation and I hoped to capture a photograph that gave a sense of this. There will be a blog dedicated to this species at some point.

 The cliff edges can be quite a harsh place to raise the next generation and I hoped to capture a photograph that gave a sense of this. There will be a blog dedicated to this species at some point.

 Taken using at 800mm to compress space and highlight the populous colonies.

Taken using at 800mm to compress space and highlight the populous colonies.

 We should all strive to wait for the right light and a moment of serendipity before creating.

We should all strive to wait for the right light and a moment of serendipity before creating.

 And lastly, why not try something different. For me, learning landscape photography has been like discovering photography all over again. Perhaps that is the way we can all keep growing, and most importantly, enjoying this gift and passion for photography we all share. 

And lastly, why not try something different. For me, learning landscape photography has been like discovering photography all over again. Perhaps that is the way we can all keep growing, and most importantly, enjoying this gift and passion for photography we all share.