Best of British Birds

The last weekend of October saw George and Alan travelling to Worcestershire for a Natures Images holiday - 3 days in 3 hides photographing the ‘Best of British Birds’. Well, that was what we had planned, but the birds had other ideas.

On the first day we were photographing Kestrels, but every time a Kestrel approached the perch it was mobbed by corvids - mostly Magpies, sometimes Jackdaws, sometimes Crows, and sometimes all three! So whilst we could see a Kestrel, the opportunities to photograph it at close range were few and far between.

The second day was spent photographing a Little Owl - but again we were thwarted. It appeared the owl had been well fed already and he didn’t make an appearance until mid-afternoon. And that was it - one short period to get a photograph of this beautiful bird.

By day three we were wondering if the gods were conspiring against us. The hurricane that was coming in that night had already produced blustery conditions for our final day photographing one of our most iconic birds - the Kingfisher. But how wrong we were. We had 8 visits in 7 hours. The lighting was mixed, but we were thrilled.

Here are a selection of our images from the weekend.

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I WON!

Samsung Memory Competition in conjunction with Advanced Photographer and Denbies Wine Estate

Qualified for the first round by submitting my best landscape image. Then invited up to a dawn shoot-out at Denbies Wine Estate today with 4 other photographers. Arrived 06.30am to fog and an unknown location... not recommended.

Fortunately the fog did clear momentarily and I was in a good position to take this image of the gently backlit vines. The sun disappeared, then the fog came in again and that was it!

We then had to hand over our memory cards to Will Cheung, from Advanced Photographer, to load onto his computer; then select our 3 best for the judges to deliberate. NB: we were not allowed to do any computer work on them... nerve wracking, but quite refreshing!

And my image here WON! So I have a nice big bag of Samsung Memory goodies and Denbies Wine, plus a night for two with dinner at Denbies Farmhouse... woop woop!

David Morton.

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Brecon Beacons trip report by Nick

Last weekend the group ventured to the Brecon Beacons which provided great opportunities for both landscape and macro photography.

The heavy rain and thunderstorms the night before we arrived meant that the waterfalls were in full flow and provided some interesting movement to our long exposure shots. The water level was so high, we even managed to see Salmon leaping upstream - although it was very difficult to predict where they would appear out of the water! Other subjects could be found along the paths including moss covered branches, ferns and fungi in many shapes and sizes and while some of us concentrated on these, others were happy to wade into the water to find alternative compositions. Some gardening also had to be done to remove fallen branches and one waterfall even had an iron railing - which had been carefully positioned by some kind soul to spoil any shot – in front of it.

In all, we were very lucky with the weather and had a very enjoyable trip to a beautiful part of the country! Hopefully our images will do it justice…

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Medal winners!

Both George and David had medal winning images in the Shrewsbury Open Photographic Exhibition for 2013. George had a Gold medal for his image ‘Hokkaido Dawn’ pictured here, and David had a PAGB Silver Selector’s medal for his image ‘Red-Footed Falcons Mating’ - see previous blog post for the image. Each also had a PAGB Ribbon for another of their accepted images. Well done both!

Hokkaido Dawn

David wins a photography competition

David took first place in the Society of Nature and Wildlife Photographers ‘Essence of Nature’ Photography Competition with his image “Red-Footed Falcons Mating”. The image was one of many taken on a photographic holiday to Hungary in May.

David has won 12 months membership to The Society of Nature and Wildlife Photographers (SINWP). Phil Jones, The Societies CEO says, “This image has captured the theme in its entirety. The photograph has a very strong narrative as the decisive moment and it has been excellently captured.”

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