London Wetlands Centre and Bridal Nails Update

25 April 11

Posted at 6:59

Well the blog is a mixed bag today. Most imporatant of all it contains some new images. Yesterday I ignored the physio and actually shot some photos. It was a lovely day, in the afternoon we visited the London Wetlands Centre  at Barnes.

I've never been there before and after the disappointment of BWC I went with an open mind. I knew we would end up at The Dukes Head  at Putney later, which is just about a mile along the Thames towpath and is a guaranteed good pint and nice food, so whatever the wetlands were like the day would end well. There was no need to worry though. The weather was fantastic and the Wetland Centre is a great place for nature photography. Nice to walk around and although it was a bank holiday it was not too crowded. I am pleased with my first action behind the shutter for over three weeks. I certainly do not profess to be a natural history specialist photographer but I think my efforts yesterday are passable as nice nature shots if nothing else.

Grey Heron

The first thing I shot was this Grey Heron. They are magnificint especially in flight. I could have done with some more light on his eye ideally.

Coot and Chick

I took a number of shots of a pair of coots feeding their four chicks. For some reason this chick did something out of order and this image catches the mother (or father) chasrising the nipper by pushing it a long at speed and finally dipping it under the water. All four chicks appeared to be on best behaviour after this incident. You can see where the saying 'bald as a coot' comes from looking at this chick! there is a another coot saying but I could get no photgraphic evidence for that one!

Froggy Would a Wooing Go

Next I have three images of frogs as they were particularly active yesterday. I call this one Froggy Would a Wooing Go - and he did!

Frog Calling

This one hasn't pulled yet but is making a lot of noise and huffing and puffing in the process of doing so. There were a lot of frogs in this area and the noise was really surprising and difficult to believe it was bang in the middle of SW London.

Marsh Frog

The last frog image is a marsh frog who appeared set for a long slow mating session - his partner completely submerged but one hopes enjoying every minute.

Hooded Crow

And just to prove not all the wildlife in the wetlands is water related this hooded crow (I think) landed in front of me and hung around long enough to have a portrait taken. Monday - update courtesey of Dennis Jackson  who reliably informs me that it's a Jackdaw. He's a top ornithologist - thanks Dennis!

The title of this blog is London Wetlands Centre and Bridal Nails Update. I've added the Bridal Nails bit as the competition results were announced last night. My friend, Catriona, works at The Nail Retreat  in St Ives (Cambs). Last year Cat entered a nail competition for which I took the photos. Well we didn't come last but felt we could do better. So last month we entered a Bridal Nail competition. The competition is for nails , design etc, not a photography competition but you have to submit photos so the way they are presented in the image does play a part. Shooting nails is not easy so it's a good learning curve for me. In this competition we were only allowed one submission. Below is the one we chose.

Bridal Nails

Well last night the results were announced and Cat came 17th out of 63 entrants. As Cat made the top twenty our photo will be in Scratch Magazine next month. We will now look forward to making the top ten in the next competition.

And to end I mentioned earlier The Dukes Head  Putney, well we did end up there and great fun it was too. Below is an image I shot there, another bird, well little more than a chick really, note the winter plumage growing out exposing the naturaly dark roots and also observe that she too appears about to make a mating call! Happy Easter.

Putney Chick


Le Renard

21 April 11

Posted at 8:42

The bad news is the physio banned me from using my camera when I had my session on Monday - got lectured on importance of the tendon healing and regenerating which takes time - so I took it on board. Result another short blog from my photo archives. This shot was taken in February at BWC Felcourt, the first and probably last time I will visit. Earlier this wee I became aware of Patrick Bentley and I was particularly taken by his monochrome wildlife images from Zambia - Patrick Bentley  his images are fantastic.

So I thought I'd process one of my latest nature images, albiet in Sussex, in mono. The result is below, must admit I like it...

Le Renard

I call the image Le Renard, unsure why I titled in in French but sounds so much better than The Fox!


Film Noir

18 April 11

Posted at 12:28

This will hopefully be the last blog for which I have to draw on archives. My elbow is getting on fine the consulatant said that I can use it again with care and with a brace on it to protect the new tendon. So as of tomorrow I'll be shooting again. In the mean time today I'm posting a selection of 'Film Noir' images I shot on a togs meet up last month in Brighton. The day was organised by one Dade Freeman  a top photographer and great guy. Somehow he got around 40 togs, 30 models, make up artists, costume providers and even a gang of mods, scooters and associated parephanalia. There were four 'shooting stations' set up along Madeira Drive on Brightons seafront. The idea was to recreate Brighton Rock through different decades. Having not seen the film did not prove to be a setback. I could not stay for the whole day (had a gig to shoot in London that evening) so I just spent some time on Film Noir and the Sixties. Below are some of my Film Noir images.



Unwanted Attention

Models Cristiano Langella and Claire Morrow





Model Sarah Nix


You can see many other images from the day from a whole variety of togs here 


Glastonbury Returns Sale

14 April 11

Posted at 10:11

This Sunday at 0900 sees the last chance for me to get a ticket for Glastonbury Festival (assuming my appeal to Emily Eavis for a photopass fails) when the returns go on sale. Glasto is a dream for photography and I really would like to build on last years experience when I plucked up courage to take all of my gear. The 24 hour lock up service there means you can store your expensive equipment safely and go off and party every now and then. So with the resale on my mind and with my right arm still not fit to hold a camera I have dug into the archives again and chosen a couple of images from Glastonbury last year.

Time for a Brew

The first depicts the pleasure of a nice cup of tea, probably sometime on the Sunday when after a few days without a nice cuppa the experience is on so pleasing.


..and after tea it's time for getting back down to what the festival is all about, music, colour and a little eccentricity. I do hope I am successful in grabbing a ticket on Sunday, if not it will be back to the drawing board. There's no longer the option of jumping the fence, especially with an arm in the condition of mine! Hope to be shooting again by next week.


Interest in a Vacant Property

08 April 11

Posted at 2:41

Despite only having the use of my left arm I was determined to take some photos yesterday. So slowly but surely I clumsily got my camera, with 500mm lens, on to a tripod and set it up in the garden focussed on an old tit box that seems to have caught the attention of some prospective tennents. I attached a remote control and plonked myself on a chair on the patio with a cool beer. Below is the result.

Interest in a Vacant Property

It was quite an effort to both move my gear back into the house and just do simple actions required with just the use of my left hand but I got there in the end.

The title and the subject are most appropriate as we've just put Jo and Paul's flat on the market. I say Jo and Paul's as they currently live there but I have quite a vested interest in the property sale. What better can I do with the time I currently have on my hands (or should I say hand!) than use my blog to promote the fantastic North London one bedroomed flat (with garden). So if you hanker after a really well positioned abode in the N19 end of Highgate (known locally as Archway due to the close proximity to the Northern Line station of the same name) or you know some one who does you should look no further. Particularly if you would like the benefit, indeed pleasure, of a home from where you can see the mighty Emirates Stadium but still have a 'rural' garden where you can attract scenes as pictured above you really should get yourself up to Taylor Gibbs and arrange a viewing.

Well this is supposed to be a photo blog not an estate agents so plug over (but do spread the word!). The photo will not win any natural history awards but it is the output of what otherwise would have been a totally boring and non productive day photographically. My right arm is improving a pace and I hope to be back in the swing of things by mid next week. 

I've will be ticking off another of my many amibitions tomorrow when I spend the day at the Grand National (courtsey of an Xmas present from Jo and Paul). Of course if we back a couple of winners the flat may be swiftly off the market - so if you have fallen in love with it get an offer in before the off about 4pm tomorrow.


The Great Court

05 April 11

Posted at 10:19

British Museum

Today's blog will be short and painful to do. I had an operation on my right elbow yesterday so am somewhat incapacitated for a couple of weeks. My keyboard skills are crap at the best of times but I'm now down to my left index finger. Worst thing for me is I cannot use my cameras !!(who sais "What's new" ?) So this and next few blogs will draw on the archives. This image is taken at the Great Court in the British Museum. I guess it's a much photographed place - it is impressive. I shot it as part of a series on circles and curves. I am really pleased with my effort. I think it works well in mono and I am pleased I have been able to retain detail in all of the potentially burnt out areas. Talking of burnt out, a general anesthetic and a surgeon digging about inside your elbow joint take a toll. So I'll give it a rest for now.