This blog may have a few new visitors over the coming weeks from a project I am about to start for Samsung. I will announce what that is later this week, but thought I would share some of my favourite photos that I took last year.
For those that are new to looking at this blog, these also reflect quite nicely what my blog is all about. These are perhaps not always what I consider my best photos, but are my favourites. Ones I particularly like for one reason or another. Whether it is because I consider it a good photo, or it reminds me of something that happened, or it shows something that many people rarely if ever see... but due to my position and benefits, I get to see it and so like to share.
So, in no particular order, above is one of a Common Dormouse. Not so common in the UK anymore. I rarely get to photograph these beautiful animals, due to their nature and lifestyle... we don't like to disturb the animals unless we have too. But one afternoon last summer this one was up while we were chaining around her hazel. I took the opportunity to take a few snaps while the keepers were sorting out her home, then we put her back. About twenty minutes of her time as a model, and this was my favourite. Looking through the hazel at the camera.
With this, and the others below, if you search for the animal in the bar below you will see the other photos from each shoot.
A classic example of favourite photo. Is it a good photo? To most of you, probably no, but I love it! It shows the connection I have with one of our pine martens, Clyde. I like the expression on his face, and the fact you know it is me because of my tatty ol' crocs. :-)
Those that are new here will soon realise I am quite laid back with my photography. I am an animal person and head keeper first, very much a photographer second. But I do love photography and taking pictures, and it is a great way for me to spend time with the animals I care for. Any photos I get out of that time with them is a bonus, and often I will sit in an enclosure with my camera and never pick it up... just sit there and watch the animals and have fun.
I enjoy using the light with my photographs too. And often here people complain about bad light, bad weather, any excuse to forgive their photos... Don't get me wrong, of course there are many conditions which are difficult for photography... and some that I don't go out in or try, but in many cases you can use these conditions to get something different. I was talking to someone one afternoon last summer with the sun high in the sky, and they were saying how it is pointless and you couldn't get any decent photo in that light with the harsh shadows. I was trying to explain the above, so took this photo with a high negative exposure and using the shadows to hide half the face.
Many won't like it, and that is fine, but I really do and it has become one of my most popular photos of last year.
|Barn Owl in the Evening|
Taking the lighting to the extreme, this is one of our barn owls on the reserve in the evening light. It is nice to get some backlit photos of them, and again just messing around I tried to lower the exposure even more to emphasise the golden light. Not sure on this one, sometimes I look at it and like it other times I don't.
|Snowy Owl Feathers|
I am working on another little, well big actually, side project which probably won't be in a position to announce for a year or so!.. But it has led me to take more "detail" photographs such as feather detail etc. This one above doesn't really show that, but shows some of the patterns you can create with the feather or fur of an animal.
|Tawny Owl Grooming|
Florence, probably our scruffiest owl, getting ready for a photo shoot. Different behaviour, however simple, is what I love most about an animal.
Another example of a "bad" photographic day. It was dark and raining. ISO was set high, aperture low, but again I was happy with this result. Any good blown up for a billboard? No, but for small prints and web use it is fine. Yes there is more noise than a lot of people would like... but I would rather have a noisy image that is sharp than no image at all. This one has actually been used a lot for the centres advertising.
One of my favourites. A wildcat walking out of the darkness, possibly symbolising them coming back from the brink of extinction? Time will tell...
Another classic example of what I share on this blog. The photo above is not great at all, but what it shows is incredible. Two of our adders mating. Very rare to see this. Only happens every other year, and usually they go in to cover, as they did this time after a few minutes. But this year they were out in the open for a while, and I was lucky enough that a member of the Centre came and found me to let me know.
I like to share photos of things rarely seen, as I am lucky and privileged to see it myself, I want you to see it to.
Above is a bit of a work in progress. I really like it, and it shows one of my benefits. I can of course go in with animals that no one else can, for various reasons... bit obvious with this one I think :-)
I am still trying for that really good snarl and swipe picture, that doesn't show the animal is in an enclosure, but I just don't know if it is possible.
With captive photography you should never tell people it was taken in the wild, but you should still try and make it look as if it could have been. That's what I think anyway... unless you are telling a story.
One of my recent images. A couple of months ago I had a small obsession with the wildcats, and their eyes in particular. Took several images and the above was my favourite.
I love the adders, especially while they are "dancing" in the spring. I wouldn't really classify any of my dancing shots as my best/favourite last year unfortunately, but I did like a few of my portrait shots I took while experimenting with a macro lens.
The above was my favourite of those, deliberately low aperture to just get those amazing red eyes in focus.
|Otter on Ice|
One of the very last shots I took last year of the otters on ice. I was trying to get Emmy here to run to me on the ice with the reeds in the background. Didn't work to well, I got one I liked, but the others were not good.
I did get this one though in the same shoot. Closer to me with out the reeds, but i still liked it. Currently have it as my wallpaper on the Mac.
|Tawny Owl over Bluebells|
Bluebell season of course, and I had to include this photo. My biggest award this year. Ironically not my favourite photo of 2014, far from it, but possibly my most popular and seen so thought I should include it.
Thanks for looking, and more to come this year :-)