Archives for category: Animals

Birds

 

Taken from the window of our friends’ house. Their chickens were amusing but cheeky too. They had recently destroyed an outdoor buffet spread by running across the table stealing food and trashing the rest; and you had to be vigilant when eating your dinner in case something disappeared from the plate.

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frog2

 

Oh no, this isn’t going well. I was trying to pull together a set of coastal images to send to a magazine. I started by revisiting some early DSLR pics and just keep finding lots of other images that I had forgotten about. So many lovely pics of my boys and plenty of other stuff too. Like a baby frog sitting on my brother-in-law’s hand.

horse

Wouldn’t you just love to do this?!

crows-1

 

They didn’t look that murderous from way up on the hill above Benarty Wood in Fife. There seems to be no definitive reason for calling a group of crows a murder, but plenty of associations with the darker side of mythology such as Morrigan, the Irish ‘goddess’ of war, death and sovereignty.

dalmatian-1

I was out on the seafront at Lee-on-Solent this Christmas, down visiting the folks. The boys were in the skate park and I had one eye out for any sign of a photo that might some my way on such a dreich day. I wasn’t holding out much hope but then a spotty dog trotted past a lady with a spotty headscarf. I had seen it coming so managed a few snaps.

Image

A gaggle has to contain at least 5 geese, so I read. This was taken in France in the summer on a donkey farm in the Vendée. It is a bit pictorial for me but I do like it because I had a photo of mine critiqued by a highly regarded portrait photographer last year – which also happened to be a photo from France – and his comment was that I should experiment more with breaking up horizons and horizontals which I think I’ve done here. It seems to work. I know what he means. It’s just trying to achieve that when you on the trot with kids, the rain is coming down in lines, etc., isn’t that easy! I think it is one of those things that you have to work at until it becomes more instinctive.

 

The lone figure in a landscape is a recurring motif in my work. I have spent time wondering what, if any, theme I could find in my photographs. I rarely set out thinking ‘I must photograph lone figures in landscapes’. It is less conscious than that. Rather I find that over time and many, many photographs, messages do begin to emerge; I have to think them through afterwards and not before. And there is probably some truth that your images – perhaps the ones that you are most satisfied with – reflect how you see things in the world, there being a bit of me on the page too.

I was out walking the dog today and took him to some woods at the start of which there used to be a large farm. It’s been there since I can remember but today there was nothing. The whole place – house, outbuildings – had been demolished. Nada. Spooky really, that such a busy place was reduced to nothing so quickly. The birds, young blackbirds I think, didn’t seem to mind me too much, occasionally flying away and then returning.

We were out at Lake Vyrnwy a couple of weeks ago and went for a cycle ride around the lake. It is such a beautiful place and the forest road that circumnavigates it is amazing, especially with the sunlight breaking through the trees. Just before we left the cafe my boys went into the bird hide. They came running back out to get me to come and have a look at a half-red/half-grey squirrel that was feeding. Sure enough it really was 50/50 on the colour front. But what really caught my eye was the reflection of them looking at it through the window. It is a nice photo memento of the summer as a few weeks before we were camping in France – at Les Ecureuils (trans. ‘the squirrels’) 🙂

Maison de L’Ane, Beauvoir Sur Mer, France, 2012

I have some across a few poems about donkeys over the years and, being my favourite animal, I try to visit sanctuaries and farms when I can. This one in the Vendee was lovely with an interesting museum too. The American poet Richard Wilbur wrote one, as did GK Chesterton which ended:

“Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet”

They are hard to photograph well – true of most things I suppose –  but I think I got a something here.  I was going to phrase it ‘essence of donkey’ but that really doesn’t sound right does it (although the donkey milk soaps from the farm shop are fab).