Welcome to the new year!

Here's what I've been up to for the last month.

This issue:

1) Technical blogs

2) One of my photos gets in the national press

3) Greetings cards for sale

4) Pet photography

5) Photography outings

Technical blogs

Despite the holidays, I've not been idle. I have written two blogs on subjects close to my heart.

Instagram and Lightroom

One of them was on how to export photos from the photo processing software Lightroom, to Instagram if you are using a Mac computer.

For those not in the know, there is no plugin for Lightroom to enable it to export photos to Instagram. Essentially the only way to get photos into Instagram is to do so on your smartphone.

But there is a bit of a 'hacky' way to do it from your desktop Mac, and I detailed that process in this blog. (But only read if you have an interest in this otherwise it's a bit dry.)

Better kit doesn't (always) mean better pictures

Following an article by professional wildlife photographer, Tom Mason, back in early December, I was inspired to write a follow up piece giving my views.

In his article, Tom gives voice to the issue where people blame their kit for the poor quality of their photographs. I added my thoughts to this and the blog can be found here (with a link to Tom's original article).

On a personal 'feeling quite chuffed' note, a link to this blog was re-tweeted by Gerry Van Der Walt of 'Wild Eye' South Africa (who do photo safaris among other things and is a top wildlife photographer). I was so chuffed I took a screenshot of his Twitter feed showing my post, for prosperity. 

I've chatted to him via Twitter and hope to meet with him when he comes to the UK in March this year.

Sometimes it's small things like this that validate what you are posting on the internet, and saying is of value.

You can check out some of Gerry's podcasts and vlogs on YouTube here.

One of my photos in the press

Yes, one of my photos made it into 4 national newspapers. A mixed bag of papers really: The Times, The Telegraph,  The Star, and The Express.

It was my 'Waving Badger' photo which was taken back in 2017 at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey.

Being published in the press came about after I was given the details of a press agency down in Southampton, called Solent News Agency.

I contacted them and introduced myself, telling them a bit about what I do. I went with the angle that seeing as they are based in Southampton, and I spend a lot of time in the New Forest photographing deer there, could they do anything with my deer photos.

Well, after I contacted them I noticed from my website tracking that pretty much every photo on my website was being looked at.

Some time later they came back and said they'd like to use the badger photo.

A journalist was then in touch with me, asked some stuff about the photo which I provided, and went away. Three days later I get an email from the agency telling me that the photo had been picked up by the 4 papers above. I was humbled and elated.

I'm hoping this will be the first of many such occurrences. I now have a contact at this press agency so can contact them directly should I get any photos I feel would be of interest to them.

Out of interest, the original 'Toby' shot can be found on my site here.

  • Solent News & Photo Agency

Cards for sale

I'm happy to announce that my greetings card range is now available from The Sheep Shed Gallery at Weyhill, near Andover .

This will be the first retail outlet to stock my cards, so I'm keen to see how it goes.

They've announced this via their Instagram account and other social media channels, so here's hoping this will generate some sales.

Cards are £3.00 each and come with plain white envelope, and are sealed in a clear plastic sleeve. Cards are also blank inside for your own message.

Pet photography

It's no secret that I do pet photography, and this month I have been busy promoting that line of my business. To this end I have had copies of a newly designed flyer printed.

I've been contacting pet related services (vets, boarding kennels, pet groomers, dog walkers etc.) around the local area to introduce myself and let them have copies of the flyer and my business cards.

Fingers crossed for some trade off of the back of this.

If you think you you know someone/any organisation who might be interested in taking some flyers, let me know. Thanks. 

Photography outings

I've been down to the New Forest a couple of times since Christmas, this time looking for red deer. I've tried usual haunts, and a couple of new locations.

I know they are about in the areas I head to as I've been told they are there, and seen photos of said deer in those locations. I've even seen hoof prints in the mud to show that deer have passed through these locations.

But I've not seen them with my own eyes.

Fallow deer I can find every time (sometimes they find me), but the reds remain elusive.

Recently I headed down to a new location, and given the winter parking restrictions in the forest, I had to park some way away and walk to said location. In all it was a round trip of about 5 miles.

Now walking that distance isn't anything to write home about, but walking it carrying camera gear can be a good way to burn calories and build muscle mass.

The forest experience

  • Lots of prints in the mud, but no sign of any deer.

  • A 5 mile trek. Being a wildlife photographer keeps you fit.

  • One of the amazing views in the forest I saw during my trek.

  • The view I had while having lunch. Wonderful!

So having got to the location in question, I stopped to take in the view and have lunch. Sat by a small stream, the cold wind blowing (wearing many layers I was quite warm despite the icy cold wind), and not another person in sight, this was perfect. It really is a way to feel truly 'alive', and I love it. Post lunch I headed further along this area of heath, and walked closer to the tree line. Here I saw some fallow deer in the distance, and took a few photos but they were quite some way back in amongst the trees, so the shots yielded nothing exciting.

Fallow does spotted deep in the woods, with one cheekily peering around a tree.

I then decided to head back to the car, and walked back out onto the heath. As I got to the edge I just stood and took in the view.

Lost in my own thoughts for a while, my attention was caught by the fallow deer I had just been photographing galloping across the heath to my left. Something must have startled them pretty badly as they were moving at pace. I lifted the camera and took a few shots. Sadly they were too far away to get any decent photos.

This coupled with the fact the vegetation they were running across was quite tall, so the photos I did get do not truly show the deer in full flight as their legs are obscured for the most part by plants.

However out of the shots I took, one of them showing a white buck came out okay. You can just see one of the does ahead of him.  See below.

On the run

Once they had moved on from my view, I walked back they way I had come.

After some time I must have taken a wrong turn when passing through a set of gates. I thought I was on the right path, but this path seemed narrower than I remembered from earlier.

I looked to my right at an open field and couldn't believe my eyes: this field contained about 15 or so male fallow deer, a mixture of full adult bucks, and younger prickets. Wow! Slowly I made my way to the edge of the field, moving cautiously up to the wire fence which I popped the camera through, and snapped away.

After taking a few photos something became obvious to me: despite this scene being like manna from heaven to a wildlife photographer like me, there were so many deer here that separating them out to get a decently framed photograph was impossible. Also as the was a field, any photos of them would look like 'deer in a field', rather than 'deer in a natural forest setting'. And finally, every shot would have a fence in it somewhere, again detracting from the 'natural' setting I like in my photos. So was this 'wildlife photography' or 'photography of wildlife'? I think I'll be writing a blog about this in the not too distant future.

But that said, I couldn't help but lower the camera and just drink in being in the presence of so many magnificent animals. It was truly wonderful.

Most notable in the second shot below is the buck with only one antler, the other being lost I assume during the rutting season.

Boys club

Closer to home I've been visiting our local lakes, and have taken photographing one of the little egrets as a bit of a mini project.

To this end I've managed to get a couple of decent shots of this wonderful bird, who I always think should have been called a 'river angel' given its grace and appearance.

And that's it for another month. Thanks for reading and if there is anything here you'd like to discuss with me, use the Contact Me button.

All the best and take care.


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