Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Dry Leaves and Footpsteps

After watching the sunrise this morning I headed up Durlston Castle along the coast path that sits above it’s bay. The Sun was still low in the sky meaning its rays did not have to complete with the leaves that stubbornly refused to drop from the canopy but shone almost horizontally, dodging past tree trunks and banishing at least some of the shadows that live here. Small sections of the undergrowth were lit up as if by a torch and prehistoric ferns, uncurling from the dampness of the earth, seem to reach out for the Sun. Darkness would eventually win the war but meanwhile these spot lit islands of life would appear every time the Sun found space between the trees and would move across the ground until they were eventually suffocated by shadows.
Invisible in the darkness but shining bright when in the sunlight were the silken threads of countless spiders that crisscrossed the path, evidence of smaller life here but it certainly wasn’t the spiders that were making the footsteps I could hear! Now we are all familiar with the noise that walking through fallen leaves makes, a rustling that sounds almost like water, well it was that noise but there was no one else around. The dogs discovered the culprits before I did but then Squirrels, for some unknown reason, are the dogs’ arch-enemy! There was more than one too and that didn’t go down well with Sika whose eyes were fixed on the light grey bundles, begging to be let off her lead. So for a while we watched as the Squirrels appeared in the shafts of sunlight only to disappear a moment later, but the noise was still there and it still sounded like footsteps. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

If Looks Could Kill

This morning's wander took us back along the cliff path just after sunrise when the air is cool and clear and views go on for miles. Below us a slight sea, its waves hardly bothering to break, gives out a sigh that is mirrored by the wind as it drifts through the trees, it is as if the world is struggling to wake up.
Jackdaws patrol the cliffs, all suited and booted in polished black, dressed for dinner rather than breakfast and making sure that everyone within earshot knows just how important they are. There is a Raven too but he doesn't look impressed by the Jackdaws and so watches the Pigeons: something has upset them, scared them from their perches, and he looks like he knows more than he is letting on.
Just then the unmistakeable call of a master preditor rips through the still Autumn air like a knife, and the reason for the Pigeon's upset is clear. I think that it is perhaps imposible for a Peregrine to look particularly happy, but this one looks seriously annoyed!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Nelson and Old Harry

The skies were clear again this morning but anything below the level of our hills risked being shrouded in a cloak of fog that tiptoed along the valley and out to sea. Slowly, as the Sun breached the wall of fog and liberated the bay from its clutches, Old Harry began to appear along with the ghostly form of Lord Nelson.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018


I struggle with the Summer, both as a photographer and as a walker: both prove more difficult and somehow less enjoyable than at other times of the year. I look forward to Autumn though and welcome signs of her arrival as if I am waiting for the return of an old friend.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Beasts & Bugs

There is a world, not far away, that we can all find and spend time in and that can show us more beasts than even the most wildlife friendly park. The meadows are teaming with creatures that are often ignored but always incredible to watch and photograph and they are available to anyone of any ability.
Dragons, spiders, beetles, bugs, crickets and all manor of smaller creatures are ready for you.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Dolphins or Bust

If you are very lucky you can see Dolphins from the coast path on the Isle of Purbeck but you do have to be very lucky. Every now and again a pod will travel along the coast giving you a chance to watch them for a few minutes and of course take a few photographs, but they rarely hang around long enough. So, in order to try and take a few better photographs and to hopefully watch a little more behaviour than just ‘passing by’, we decided to go to where Dolphins are more regularly seen. This meant a round trip of some 1500 miles and more than 32 hours behind the wheel to the Moray Firth in the Highlands of Scotland. We had limited time and would need good weather to get the shots and although we didn’t have wall to wall sunshine, the rain that fell that day fell on other people and not us. Even though we could see heavy showers all around us we escaped the downpours and managed to see the Dolphins from the beach at Chanonry Point and from a high powered rib on the waters of Moray and Cromarty Firths.
Luck was certainly with us and it was incredible to be able to watch these animals not only as they travel but also as they hunt! Taking photographs though is a completely different matter and although these wonderful animals got quite close to shore, trying to predict where they will surface whilst looking through the lens and then focusing correctly is very tricky.

Inverness, from Chanonry Point

Friday, 20 July 2018

A Badger's Evening

I have been watching a Badger sett for a while now but, although it is a busy old place, taking photographs can be a little tricky. These wonderful animals tend not to venture above ground until the Sun has well and truly gone down and the use of a flash can disturb them.
So it takes time, patience and the understanding that sometimes I just can't take a photo because I have used the flash enough for the evening.
That said, last night was superb with three youngsters coming out for a play and watching these animals with or without taking a phot is an amazing privilege.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A Good Morning

This morning’s wander along the cliff top started pretty well and only got better. As soon as we reached the path a Peregrine was seen high above the cliffs, only to be joined very quickly by another. A few extra minutes taken to watch this is an easy decision and they looked stunning against the blue sky. Eventually I walked around the headland to the south and followed the path along the cliff top only to be greeted by three young Kestrels and a circling hunting mother.
The triplets stayed very close for longer than I could and I left them before I really wanted too.

Quiet but never silent.

I missed the Sun this morning, not because I was late but because the early wander was done and dusted by the time the clouds cleared. When...