Wednesday 31 December 2014

Top 10 Images of 2014

It's new year's eve and since I'm not down the pub it's probably as good a time as any to briefly summarise my photographic year.

I've had a number of images and articles published this year but there are a few that stand out to me for various reasons. I'm always pleased to see my images published in BBC Wildlife magazine and so  I was particularly proud to have 2 of my images published as double page spreads (here and here). I also had a short article and one or two other images published in BBC Wildlife. I enjoyed writing a couple of articles for Wild Planet Photo Magazine including a review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera (more on this below). I was also pleased to have one of my images included in the national Wildlife Trusts 2015 calendar, a charity I'm always keen to support. Other images and articles appeared in the press, photography magazines and books.

I entered two wildlife photography competitions this year (the British Wildlife Photography Awards and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year) but despite having images shortlisted in both competitions I failed to make it amongst the prize winners. There's always next year....

In terms of the images I have taken this year, I would never have predicted that so many would have been taken by a camera that is not a DSLR. But having tested the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (a mirrorless 'compact system camera' rather than a DSLR) for Wild Planet Photo magazine I realised what a capable and enjoyable camera it is for macro portraits (see here for my review of this camera). As a result, once the test camera was returned I decided to purchase one and I ended up taking a significant proportion of this year's images with it.

I have taken a variety of styles of close-up images this year including traditional macro portraits, high magnification images and wide angle 'macro' images. However, I confess to having taken very few Meet Your Neighbours 'outdoor studio' images, for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. Maybe that will change next year.

In recent years I have listed my 10 favourite images taken each year (see 2013, 2012 and 2011) so without further ado here are my favourites for 2014. A caveat that I like to make each year is that my reasons for choosing these images are varied and highly subjective. As a result, this is not intended to be a list of the images that I think other people will like most...


I had never previously seen a 22 Spot Ladybird in my garden and so I was particularly pleased to find this mating pair back in June.

I have a bit of a thing for Marbled White butterflies and so I enjoyed taking this habitat image of one in golden early morning light.

A common butterfly that I have always struggled to photograph is the Orange Tip. I was therefore pleased to photograph this one on Cuckoo Flower.

I know this one isn't everyone's cup of tea but it's a mating ball of toads with one female and 3 males. I like how peaceful they look even though mating balls like this can often result in the death of the female.

Another butterfly I enjoy photographing is the Green Hairstreak. Here's a very green image of one.

The Scorpion Fly is a notoriously difficult insect to photograph as they rarely sit still for more than a second or two. I was therefore pleased when this male specimen posed for me for just long enough to take this image.

This dragonfly in flight is not a very original image but it was my first attempt at photographing these in flight for several years.

I really enjoy showing subjects within their environment and like the light and woodland setting of this group of fungi.

Another Marbled White image...

A habitat image of a mating pair of blue-tailed damselflies.

number 11 in my top 10 images (!), a small jumping spider on a dandelion, just because I like the composition.

and finally a Fly Agaric in habitat. These are one of our most photogenic fungi species and I was pleased to capture this specimen in nice light and showing its Birch habitat.

So there you have it. I couldn't decide on 10 images and so these are actually my 12 favourite images of the year. I'm already looking forward to 2015...

I'd like to wish all readers of this blog a very happy new year!

Friday 5 December 2014

Marbled White Butterflies Part 2

Summer already seems like a distant memory so the second part of my two-part Marbled White post is long overdue. Back in October I posted part 1 here.

As I mentioned in part 1, in July I made 2 visits to Ryton Woods Meadows to photograph the Marbled White butterflies. The first visit provided lovely early morning light but the temperature rose so quickly that the butterflies were unapproachable by around 6:45 AM. The second visit was on a much cooler, grey day which resulted in more co-operative butterflies but less attractive light.

The following are probably the best images from the session.


and finally, another image from the first, sunny, session that I don't think I'd processed when I posted part 1. It's a Burnet Moth next to the cocoon from which it had just emerged.