Christmas….

Cold damp morning with only geese for company…bliss for just a short while.

I hope you have a peaceful Christmas by whatever way measure you might which to apply.

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Slipping on Goose Sh*t…..

If you’ve ever spent anytime with Canada Geese (or any geese for that matter) the one thing they are very good at is converting grass into goose and and goose shit. Combine the later with a heavy down poor and you have the recipe for a really slippery surface which your’s truly nearly came a cropper on in a forlorn chase after a Little Grebe as the fast moving current swept it along the river bank.

Still it was a relief to actually be able to get out after the past few days of almost constant rain and dampness. Grey never looked so grey.

So tomorrow is Christmas and it will certainly be a strange one. Not the strangest one, mind you, I’ve had but then again I’ve worked a many Christmas Day so, unlike many people, for me Christmas Day is when it is rather than on any specific day.

So should you come to read this before Christmas I hope you have as good a celebration as you can under the circumstances and let us all hope that the New year brings the changes that we all hope for.

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The Night After the Day Before….

So we had 1 minute more daylight today – yippee! I’m really not sure when the winter solstice started but the night before (or is that the night of? really not sure.) the moon was out for a couple of hours and so I was able to capture it (not with my iPhone that is for certain.)

So for my troubles I got a bit of a cold the morning after which thankfully isn’t too bad – not that I have anywhere to go thanks to you know what so I’ve been able to sit at home and feel a bit sorry for myself and get on with the mountains of work I seem to keep creating for myself. It seems that I might start my vaccine regime until March so I guess I’m going to have a bit of time to try and catch up.

It never ceases to amaze me why some photos just seem to talk to me in a way that many other don’t. This last one is one of those images. I can’t explain but I can just look at this for hours.

Who needs rorschach?

P.S. As I write this the 21:15 DHL flight to Leipzig has just flown over so perhaps we’re not so cut off after all.

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Winter Solstice in Tier 3…

So many great plans for today. So many. Then they all fell away with a mixture of bad weather and a final realisation that the person who is leading the country is utterly inept, useless, dangerous…I could go on but I think you get the idea.

Perhaps it is because this is the shortest day and with nothing really to look forward to over the next couple of months the photographs I made to celebrate the day are well – these. If a picture is worth a thousand words then these are some of the most eloquent words I have written.

Don’t listen to it. Crows are all liars. I know a story about a crow….

Old Nan

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Park Life…

The older I get the more I seem to enjoy just sitting around watching the world go by and there is no better place to do that in than a city park. Of course the world I was watching was the feathered variety but who’s counting?

It has always been a bit of thing for me when watching undoubtedly incredible wildlife documentaries in that they always paint the world as some technicolor dreamland when everyday life, whilst nothing like as spectacular, is just as rewarding to capture and usually can be done from the comfort, in this case, of a park bench. Now I am not trying to compare myself to the best wildlife photographers because I will never be motivated to be anything like as good. Nonetheless I enjoy capturing the day to day and when you have bright winter’s day then things are just that much easier.

In these crazy crazy times we all need to take time to sit on a park bench and watch the world go by.

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Pragmatic Remainer….

One of the joys of being laid up for a few days with a bad cold (no it isn’t covid as I have. none of the symptoms – I just like I had a cold – there is a difference) is that I have had some time to take stock as to where I am in the world. It seems that those ever borrowing elves in market research have been doing the same and they have come up with a name for my tribe – the Pragmatic Remainer. I think that Brexit is nonsense but that ship has sailed and so we now have to make the best of the world we find ourselves in. I don’t want Britain nor the European Union (EU) to suffer but of course if we do leave with no deal then both sides will.

From this side of the Channel/North Sea/Irish Sea/Rellan Road it would seem that the EU is suffering from a huge amount of hubris in that there appears to be a view that Brexit will be more damaging to Britain than to the EU. On the one level this may prove to be the case but I suspect that Brexit has unleashed forces deep within the body politic of the EU that may well present themselves over the next 10 years or so in such a way that the EU of 2030 will be significantly different than the one envisaged today. The Poland/Hungary fault line is just the start.

None of us know what effect having an economically powerful country just off the shore of the EU will have but my feeling is that it isn’t going to go the way that many within the current EU political class think it will. This isn’t the EU’s fault nor, for that matter, is it Britain’s. It is probably part of a much larger change in the post second world war world. The more frightening thought is that it is not impossible to think that maybe the United States of America, the architect and main beneficiary of this world order, might not even exist in its current form by 2030. Now if that were to happen then it would make Brexit appear even more foolhardy than it did in 2016 – well at least to me – your mileage may vary.

Now there is a happy thought to end on.

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Damp Under Foot…

The past few winters have been odd affairs. Not too cold and really very little snow but we certainly got a lot of rain. This winter is officially 7 days old and so far it is very mush the same as last year. Sunday started bright but then it slowly descended into mrrrrr.

Today it has been foggy and dull and as can be seen my local park is under water again. Still I think creatures are taking advantage of things.

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Back to the Future….

25th of August 2011 – This is when this photograph of a sparrowhawk devouring its kill was the last photograph that I would classify as a long lens wildlife shot (In this case a Canon 500mm). Shortly after this I sold all of this photographic gear and changed tack completely (This is well documented on this blog if you wish check it out). Anyway fast forward nearly 10 years and a lot of things have changed in the world of photography but I have now finally returned to long lens wildlife photography (this time with a Sony 200X600mm).

So what are my first impressions? Really good. The F6.3 (I know it officially is a 5.6/6.3 lens but for most of its reach it is f6.3 so that is what I think of it as) isn’t a problem with my R3. The images I took today were taken at dawn so for a start I was shooting at 640th at 5000 iso and this seemed to work.

The one advantage I have now over 2011 is that I don’t expect anything from my photography. Back then I was still entering competitions, with mixed success, and it was full on. Then I suddenly realised that take my photography to the next level would require commitment that I was unable or willing to give it. This time I’m much older and hopefully just a bit wiser and so I accept what happens and move on. Photography for me now is a great enjoyment: I go out; I capture images and hopefully I can make some decent photographs at the end of the process. That is the limit of my expectations. It really is quite liberating.

I have other plans for the lens beyond wildlife shots but just at the moment I am trying to get my adelled brain and body back into some form of shape so that I can try and make the best photographs possible. I have to say I had forgotten what a heavy lens feels like after an hour or so of carting it around and this is lightweight compared to what I used carry around with me.

Old joints.

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Standing in the Dark Road….

05:45 hrs on a cold winter morning, yes winter is here, taking photographs of a full moon. Not sure what any of the neighbours would have thought if they had glanced blurry eyed out at me in the road and seen me pointing a camera up at the moon. Also is a werewolf still a werewolf all night or does the power start to wain towards the end of the night? I only ask because it was a full moon and well you know… werewolves!

The real reason I was out there was to try out a few settings to nail down the exposure problems I have been experiencing and there can be nothing as extreme as a full moon against the night sky. Anyway, I seemed to have overcome the problem – for now.

The one thing that never ceases to amaze me is that when you look at these images in detail you quickly notice that the moon is surrounded by innumerable stars that we just never get to see without the aid of modern technology. Technology which, in relative terms compared to the cost of telescopes and lens of the past, is really cheap.

Isn’t life strange?

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Who Knows Who is in Charge?….

Does anyone really know what is happening as far as the English covid 19 tier system is concerned? I really don’t think that the Prime Minister does as he seems to weeble and wobble about with no sense of direction or grip. Now I understand the argument that Covid restrictions cause harm. I do get that but releasing the restrictions too much too soon will, in my view, undo the clear gains we, as a nation, are making in trying to control the spread of the virus. I might be more inclined to listen to the complaining MPs, mostly Tories, if they weren’t clearly self serving and short term nimbyism. None of them, to my knowledge, has actually come up with any alternate plan that will prevent the hospitals from being overrun during the winter with Covid so that other patients are going to suffer.

Either Covid is a threat or it is not. I believe that it is and so in my view we should do everything to try and ameliorate that threat. Of course I may have a different view if my business was going down the pan because of Covid restrictions and that is very understandable. This is why we are supposed to have leaders with sufficient backbone to take the difficult decisions in the national interest. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be blessed with too many of them in our current government …starting from the top.

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