Friday 26 October 2012

Geostories: Meet Your Neighbours

National Geographic's Geostories is a new publishing platform for multimedia stories that are linked to a physical geographic place (or places). Clay Bolt has put together a very nice Meet Your Neighbours Geostory which provides a selection of images, each linked to the specific place that they were taken and each with a bit of background information about the image and the location.

Clicking the image above will take you directly to the Geostory. You'll find one of my images at number 11 in the slideshow.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Jigsaw, Mug or T-Shirt Anyone?!

I've got to hand it to my stock agency, FLPA, they're certainly good at proactively finding different opportunities to sell and market images. Evidence of this is provided by their tie-ins with The Garden CollectionAge Fotostock and Arkive, to name but three. But the point was really brought home to me when I, somehow, stumbled across one of my images for sale as a jigsaw on the US Amazon site!

A bit more digging indicated that FLPA has yet another tie-in with Media Storehouse and, through them, it is possible to buy jigsawsmugs and t-shirts of many of my images (not to mention keyrings and  fridge magnets)! I'm not sure how popular these are - I doubt there's a massive market for insect themed accessories and gifts and no doubt furrier or more feathered subjects sell better - but I certainly can't fault FLPA for trying!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

The winning images in this year's WPOTY competition have been announced and, as ever, they are generally very impressive.

While I do like the overall winning image by Paul Nicklen, I personally much prefer his image in the 'Behaviour: Birds' category, as shown below:

'Frozen Moment' by Paul Nicklen

For me this image has everything. I love the frozen water drops, the light, the composition. A real 'wow' image in my opinion and certainly my favourite of all of the winning and commended images in this year's competition.

However, while many of the images in this year's competition are impressive, I do have a couple of reservations.

First, there are relatively few images with the 'wow' factor such as the one above. We are increasingly exposed to high quality wildlife images and TV footage on a daily basis and so perhaps it is just becoming more and more difficult to produce such images. But, to me, many of the images have a familiar feel to them. Even the overall winning image here bears more than a passing resemblance to Matt Doggett's winning image in this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards. They are both excellent images but I suppose it's increasingly difficult to produce images that are truly unique. However, one reason that the images all feel fairly familiar is that they feature a relatively small number of species. Which brings me to my second point...

Of the 70+ winning and commended images in the adult categories of this year's competition, only one features an insect or other invertebrate. Is it any wonder that the images all feel slightly familiar when they are dominated by the usual mix of polar bears, penguins and big cats?

I find the neglect of insects and inverts difficult to understand.The judges are looking for original and unique images and so I would have thought that insects and their behaviour lend themselves to this far more than polar bears and penguins. Indeed, even the preamble to the 'Behaviour: Cold-Blooded Animals' category (which would obviously include insects and invertebrates) states that "This category offers plenty of scope for interesting photos because cold-blooded animals comprise the majority of animals on Earth and their behaviour is often little known".

Perhaps the judges would argue that they were presented with few highly quality macro images, but again this is difficult to understand given the vast number of such images that can be found on forums and elsewhere, combined with the good numbers of images that have featured in the competition in previous years. Indeed, I do normally rely on this competition to feature a few truly inspirational macro images each year (Bence Mate's winner from 2010 being a great example) and so it's very disappointing to see so few this year.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes I did enter the competition this year but obviously with no success.  :-D

Wednesday 10 October 2012


I always enjoy photographing grasshoppers, not least because I find their faces to be very expressive. One of my photographic goals this summer was therefore to take a grasshopper portrait for the Meet Your Neighbours project.

I find grasshoppers reasonably easy to photograph as long as the weather is fairly cool and/or it is early in the morning or late in the evening. Some grasshoppers will simply jump away as soon as you approach but, if you're careful and move slowly, others will be surprisingly confiding. After a few unsuccessful attempts with uncooperative grasshoppers, the individual below posed nicely for me for a few frames (as ever, I then let it go about its business).

These images are of Common Green Grasshoppers (Omocestus viridulus):


Thursday 4 October 2012

More Dew-Covered Common Darter Images

Following on from this post, here are a couple more images of a heavily dew-covered Common Darter dragonfly, this time taken with my Sigma 150mm lens.


I don't normally like square-cropped images but on this occasion the shape of the subject seemed to suit it: