A beautiful, regal male kingfisher perched in the sunshine. A 25% crop to show all the detail close up for those who view my work on mobile or tablet. This was taken during my hide days a while back, last spring. The morning was cold and wet, the river had swelled slightly due to recent rains reducing the likelihood of a bird arriving as the extra water makes it harder for them to fish. However, a double stroke of luck was to come, as the high pitched call sounded and the sun pierced the clouds for a few minutes, or even seconds. The male landed, surveyed the water below, and was gone before I could switch camera’s. A lovely encounter with one of Britain’s most iconic species.
I love kingfishers, they are one of my favourite bird species and I have been lucky enough to have spent countless hours in their presence. Some encounters are fleeting, as they assess the below lake for any signs of fish, some can last hours. Below is the former, but a lovely sight nonetheless.
Some more of my Kingfisher works can be found by clicking here
Beautiful feathers of a Phalacrocorax aristotelis
I dislike rules in art, one such ‘rule’ is that the subject must be looking into the frame. Perhaps we risk creating formulaic compositions with such mindsets and philosophies…
Canon 1DX, 400mm f2.8, iso 100, 1/350th sec.
A freezing cold morning at Bradgate Park. Taken with the 1dx and the 400mm f2.8.
In order to photograph tigers well in the wild, I have been attending zoo’s from time to time to practice, as well as hopefully capture the spirit and essence of the cats.
I often leave my images for as long as possible before deciding what to process and show the world. The idea being you lose any emotional attachment to your work, and therefore can be more critical and balanced in what you decide to process.
However, today was one of those days where the best images were obvious:
Long may they burn bright.
A little owl lands at dusk. 1DX, 400mm f2.8, 1/60th sec.
I do like to shoot back-lit to gain a particular look and feel…
A beautiful winters evening, with the sun setting behind my local fox family. There was just the right amount of shade and highlights for me to bring out the lovely halo of fur created, by the sun and under exposing by a stop and a half. Images however are not about f stops, and exposure, they are about what you intend to do with these settings and the intent here was to create a warm feeling and show the shyness any mystery of one of the UK’s most loved mammals.
An ice cold but beautifully lit morning at Richmond Park, London.
A beautiful snowy winter day at Bradgate park. The only option here was to hand hold the Canon 800mm f5.6 with the 1dx attached, as the Stag, doe and calf were together for only a few seconds…
Tadoba Tiger Reserve, April, 2016. We arrived at the waterhole early afternoon knowing a tigress and her cubs were fast asleep in the bamboo thickets. It would have been a pointless exercise trying to photograph the here. I decided it would be best to position our jeep according to where she would likely come to drink. The calculation paid off and we were rewarded with a lovely sighting of the resident tigress and her three cubs.
Contact me here if you would like to join me in India to photograph an icon of nature.
Very late in the day, the sun had already set and darkness had taken a grip in the jungle. This turn of events coincides with tiger activity increasing and we were rewarded for our patience.
After witnessing the three cubs drinking together, I thought to myself “things can’t get any better than this” but they did….
The scar-faced male returned to the water, to be met by a cub… his cub.
It was a rare and tender moment in the jungles of central India. A male tiger showing affection toward his cub.
Moments later, the female known as Sharmeelee (the shy one) appeared, and also head rubbed the male. It was amazing to witness her with the male, as she is rarely seen out in the open. Perhaps she felt safer as the was around.
Finally another cub appeared and completed the family ritual with a head rub greet…
And the crowning moment, the family portrait. A male, female and cub in the wild.
The three cubs…
Wild tigers are scarce. With only around 4k left in the wild, opportunities to see them in their jungle home are hard to come by. Combine this fact with tigers occupying huge territories (males up to 100 sq km), their crepuscular behaviour, supreme camouflage, stealthy movement and shy nature, one can appreciate why they can be so hard to find.
Fortunately, in some reserves, individuals habits have become known, and to a degree, they have become accustomed to our presence. Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, India, is one such place, where tigers can be seen relatively easily. These unique individuals offer us a rare insight into normally secret lives.
The 12th April 2016 was a day to remember. We had been working the core zone of the reserve for much of our time, but my guide knew of a location where a legendary male known as Scarface frequents an artificial waterhole. It was here where we sat and baked in the 40 degree sun for hours before he graced us with his presence.
All jeeps were facing the waterhole, expecting him to appear from within the jungle. Surprising us all, he walked across the road to the left of us, without making a sound. Visitors were so shocked to see such a large male, so close that hardly any photos were taken. I think everyone was taken aback. He moved through the thickets of bamboo towards the water.
He eventually reached the pool, reversed and sat in the cool water and pierced us all with his eyes.
According to locals, the majority of his dis-figuration was caused via a confrontation with a Gaur (Indian Bison), perhaps as well as fights with other males to protect his territory. We can’t be sure, and those scares surely tell of more encounters that were not seen. He is believed to be one of the largest male tigers in India, perhaps weighing between 200 and 250kg.
Having such a large and powerful male around offers protection to the females in the areas he occupies and defends. A little later in the evening, once Scarface had left, we were fortunate to have seen a beautiful emerald eyed tigress named Sharmeele (translates to the shy one) appearing at the same waterhole.
She carefully moved through the bamboo thickets and sat down for a much needed drink.
As she sat and lapped up the water, my guide stated that as she looked quite relaxed, there was a chance we might see her three little cubs…
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…