Squirrel in the Woods

There is no denying that Squirrels are one of my favourite woodland creatures. Living so close to several woodland habitats provides me with many opportunities to watch & photograph these amazing creatures in their natural environment.

At some point I would love the opportunity to be able to photograph Red Squirrels. Although Red Squirrels are the native species here in the UK, there are only estimated to a population of approx 140,000 compared to an estimate of 2.5 million Grey Squirrels. It’s sad to think that in England alone the Wildlife Trust believes that Red Squirrels could become extinct within the next 10 years.

Nature For Everyone

#NatureForEveryone

Anyone who follows my photography knows that it is highly inspired by nature. So when I came across the Wildlife and Countryside Link‘s campaign for #NatureForEveryone, it caught my eye. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as an outdoorsy person, I do love getting close to nature. My first memories of properly connecting with nature was also when I first started dabbling in photography. I would head out with my camera to capture sunsets, this then evolved in to exploring local farmland and natural habitats. Today I love connecting with natural world around us.

I feel very privileged to live somewhere that is surrounded by so many green spaces, not everyone is so lucky. As our urban landscapes expand we need to find ways to balance these landscapes with nature. Campaigns like #NatureForEveryone are so important for our well being and the well being of our planet.

Enduring the COVID pandemic of the last 24 months has highlighted the importance of being able to get out and explore our green spaces and to connect with nature. It has certainly helped my sanity as well as being a constant source of photographic inspiration.

As well as enjoying exploring green spaces such as nature reserves, forests, beaches, and parks. I have tried to do our bit for nature by turning our garden in to our own green space getaway. Our love for nature has also made its way in to our house in the form of many house plants.

Nesting Ducks

My first photo post of 2022, although I have to admit this one from my archives taken during last Summer. I’ve not had the opportunity to venture out with my camera yet this year, and the cold Winter weather is doing nothing to encourage me.

With Spring just around the corner, I’m hopeful this will bring me lots of photographic inspiration, like these nesting Mallards that I was lucky enough to photograph during last Summer. As I have mentioned before I’m not a fan of Winter or the colder weather that it inevitably brings. So I’m looking forward to getting back to exploring some of my favourite woods, parks, and nature reserves as well as possibly some new locations as the weather hopefully warms up.

In the coming weeks hopefully I will be inspired and have some new nature and wildlife photography to share with you…watch this space.

In Review: 2021

2021 was a tough year for us all, what with the continued pandemic and accompanying lockdowns & ever changing restrictions. Personally, I feel that 2021 was just an extension of 2020. Thankfully, we saw less lockdowns in 2021 compared to 2020 as we all tried get back into “normal” routines. Although a part of me misses the extra spare time that the lockdowns gave us. For me, the time to connect with nature more, as well as more time spent with my wife so we could do activities together. I’m sure I spent more time out with my camera during the lockdowns of 2020 (making the most of any outdoor exercise time we had, to go on photo walks).

As some routines returned to a variant of pre-COVID “normal” last year (such as work commitments) I tried to get out with my camera as much as possible in my free time. But I definitely struggled with motivation this time around (especially during the colder months). Days off spent not wanting to leave the comfort of our house. I can’t imagine how anyone who lives alone has coped with the last 2 years.

My Favourite Shots of 2021

I am grateful that we managed travel a little further afield (within the UK) when restrictions eased. Allowing me some opportunities to go exploring with my camera & capture some great photographs during last Spring/Summer. Some of which I have showcased below.

Photo Posts of 2021:

I managed to find some motivation/time to write a few blog posts last year (not as many compared to 2020), to share a collection of the photos that I captured during the year. Below are just a few of the posts of my favourite photo expeditions of last year. The writing part of my blog/website does not come easy to me, I try to write something (hopefully semi-interesting) with each of my photo posts so that I’m not just photo-blogging.

Hopefully in 2022 I will be able to venture out more with my camera and be more motivated. The last 2 years I have focused on nature & wildlife photography. I keep toying with the idea of working on other projects/subjects as well, I shall see where the year takes me.

Signet & Swan

Swan’s are one of the most magnificent & elegant water birds (in my opinion). Signets are equally as beautiful in their own fluffy way. Their soft grey down makes them look like little grey clouds floating on the water.

I managed to capture a few shots of this Swan & Signet, sadly not swimming together. The Signets are clearly a little older and more independent, so quite happy adventuring further away from their parents.

Bush Hen

I spotted this little fellow (which I believe is a Bush Hen) wading through some Lilly pads. He seemed to be a little lost as he was constantly calling out to I assume his mother and other siblings who were further out on the pond. It Looked as though he went adventuring on his own (little rascal) then lost sight of his family group. Thankfully while I watched and photographed him he finally found his way back to the others.

Ponds and lakes seem to be my go to for nature & wildlife photography this year. Probably because I don’t have to venture too far to find these types of habitats. I’m quite lucky that live near a few nature reserves, forests, and parks. So I’m surrounded by many different habits to inspire my photography, I just need to find the motivation to venture out more with my camera when I have free time.

White Perkin

Since the weather has turned colder I have been less motivated to venture out with my camera of late. So I have dug in to my archives for this collection that was taken earlier this year while visiting one our favourite nature reserves. Just as well when I do venture out with my camera I tend to take way too many photos, so always have plenty to fill my photo collections.

I believe this white duck to be a White Perkin, which is a breed of domestic duck. If they are domesticated then no one told this duck, as he may be a long way from home. He seemed to be the only duck of his breed on the lake, surround by mostly Mallards, Swans, and Geese. His white plumage definitely made him stand out against the Mallards, but was almost like he was trying to blend in with the resident swans.

When I photograph wildlife I rarely go out looking for a particular subject (story of most of my photography to be honest), I let the subject find me. Although I had ventured to the nature reserve and I figured that I would probably spend some time around the lakes, I usually let what is around me inspire me.

Common Darter

This is only my second attempt at photographing dragonflies and it’s by no means my best photography. I find them quite tricky little characters to focus on as they rarely stay still long enough to capture their detail in full focus. I happened by this dragonfly purely by chance while exploring a local nature reserve in Nottinghamshire a few weeks back, I believe this to be a Common Darter Dragonfly. After my last attempt of photographing a Damselfly, when I spotted this one I wanted a second attempt at photographing these incredible insects, hoping I could capture it in more detail that my previous attempt.

I have been inspired for a little while now by photographer Mike Powell and his amazing photographs of dragonflies. The attention to detail in his photographs of these flighty little characters is superb. I could only wish that my shots were half as good as his.

Next Summer I need to plan to seek out dragonflies in the hope that I can get more practice as photographing them and capturing them in all their glorious detail.

Female Mallard

When we think of ducks, we usually think of Mallards, and then it is usually the male of the species that first comes to mind with their bright green heads. Even if you type ducks in to Google the first picture that comes up is that of a male Mallard. Although their plumage is a little more understated than that of their male counterparts the female of the species are just as beautiful.

This female seemed quite oblivious to all the other ducks & geese on the lake. She looked quite content on her little rock that was nestled just below the surface of the water. Almost as though she was posing, so it would have been rude not to photograph her.

Common Guillemot

When we visit Scotland to see family & friends we try to make time to explore more of the country of my birthplace. I have to admit I have probably explored more of the North-East of Scotland in the 10 years since I have moved away than I ever did when lived there.

Earlier this year we took the opportunity to explore RSPB Fowlsheugh (Crawton, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire), which we had been informed was an excellent location for seeing nesting seabirds such as Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, and Puffins. It’s estimated that Fowlsheugh is home to more than 130,000 breeding seabirds during Spring and Summer. So with cameras packed and off we went exploring along the cliffs and coastal path.

One of the many seabirds that I was lucky enough photograph on this visit was the Common Guillemot aka Common Murre. We were being careful and respectful of the wildlife by sticking to the paths along the cliff tops. The views over the North Sea and of the seabirds are breathtaking. I would highly recommend visiting.

Swan & Goose

A visit to Rother Valley Country Park is one of our go to places to take in nature, while also getting in some exercise walking around the lakes.

On this occasion it was the swans that captured my attention. The overcast sky reflecting off the water, highlighting the contrast swan’s white plumage against the darkness of the water is what particularly caught my eye. There is never a shortage of water birds on the lake, so it didn’t take long for the resident geese to get in on action and try to steal the show.

The Bumblebee & Ragwort

Our garden continues to be a source of photographic inspiration. The Ragwort that we planted last year has flourished the last few months, attracting various pollinators (bees, butterflies, and hoverflies).

The last few days I have managed to capture some great shots of hoverflies with my iPhone 12 Pro, but somehow I always feel like I’m cheating using my phone camera. So this time thought I should use my trusty DSLR. I didn’t spot any hoverflies on this occasion, but there were plenty of Bumblebees enjoying our Ragwort.