Tuesday 30 July 2013

Red Deer Stag Painting

From time to time I receive emails from artists asking if they can base a painting on one of my images. I recently received such a request from a Dubai based artist by the name of Matt Ryder. He was keen to use one of my Red Deer Stag images (see below) as the basis for a painting he had in mind.

The result is below. It's entitled Wandering Storm and is acrylic on canvas measuring 72 inches x 60 inches. Clearly he's shown some artistic license but the stag itself is very similar to the original image and is very impressive in my opinion.


As well as being a wildlife artist, Matt Ryder is also a very talented caricaturist. His website is well worth a visit. I thought the caricatures of Kim Jong Un and Ian Brown, not 2 names that tend to appear in the same sentence, were particularly good.

Thursday 25 July 2013

A Face Only a Mother Could Love...

While I find all insects interesting it is undoubtedly true that some have more widespread appeal than others. Take the example of this interesting fly than I found recently in my garden. It's a Conopid Fly (Myopa tesselatipennis) and one that I've been keen to photograph for some time precisely because of its unusual looks. While its appearance may not be to everyone's tastes it is the more 'characterful' insects such as this that make for the most interesting macro images in my opinion. This individual had the added misfortune of being covered in some sort of dust.


Tuesday 23 July 2013

British Wildlife Photography Awards

I entered 4 images in this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards and although 3 were shortlisted and reached the last 300 sadly none are among the 100 or so prize winners. There are many thousands of entries and so I am pleased to have reached the last 300 but it's still disappointing to miss out on the prizes. But there's always next year!

I believe the winners will be announced in September.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Garden Bees

If you ask most people to imagine a bee they will think of a stripy yellow and black Bumble Bee or maybe, at a push, a honeybee. In reality there are a vast number of species of bee in the UK alone and they come in all different shapes and sizes. This spring and early summer I've photographed a few in the Meet Your Neighbours style so here's a selection.


This rather furry fellow is an Andrena bee, Andrena nigroaenea

This smaller bee is a Nomada bee, probably Nomada ruficornis

and here's a picture of it sleeping with its jaws locked onto a stalk from a Chive plant

This is a Red Mason Bee, Osmia rufa

here's another Andrena bee, Andrena Haemorrhoa

I've posted this one previously, but it's a pair of Tawny Mining Bees, Andrena fulva (female on right)

and finally an unknown Bumble bee of some sort, Bombus sp.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Camera Never Lies?

After last summer's terrible weather and a decidedly shaky start to this summer, I've realised it's not really practical to wait until conditions are perfect before going out with my camera. I could be waiting all summer. So whenever I have some free time and as long as it's not torrential rain or blowing a gale, I will see what I can find.

A few weeks ago I was becoming increasingly frustrated by my lack of photography and so decided to pop down to a local nature reserve. This was despite the fact that it was as dark as it is possible to be in daylight hours, it was very breezy and it was spitting with rain. More worryingly, it looked like the heavens might open at any moment. As luck would have it I found a nice Four Spotted Chaser perched in the cool conditions on some waterside foliage. It soon became clear that it wasn't going to fly off and so I had the challenge of trying to photograph it on its swaying perch with very little light to play with.

It was a frustrating experience. Not only was the perch swaying in the breeze but so was the dragonfly itself. I would just manoeuvre my tripod into position, line up my lens parallel to its body or wings and it would move, meaning I had to start again. Anyway, I persevered and with a combination of a Plamp, a reflector, an awful amount of patience, ISOs of 400 and 800 and quite a few out of focus images, I thought I'd done as well as I could possibly do in the conditions and headed off home.

Once I reviewed my images at home I realised that, despite the conditions, the light actually looked quite nice in some images. Looking at the images below, and the first one in particular, you would have no idea of the lack of light or of the annoying breeze! And they say the camera never lies!


I don't think I have ever had a macro photography session in such unsuitable conditions and so the moral of the story is that macro photography is possible in all (well, most) weathers. Sadly, I think I might have to get used to photographing in such conditions.