Wednesday 21 February 2018

Familiar Places

There was a calm along the cliffs this morning, helped by a soft light and a haze that sat just a few miles out to sea. Just a few days ago this same view was full of Guillemots both in the air and on the water but today it was quiet with just a single Razorbill bobbing on the waves. Above Tilly Whim an Adder was sunbathing as a Robin provided the soundtrack even though and a Green Woodpecker did its best to ruin the atmosphere with the worst solo ever.
On the road above Anvil Point Lighthouse another woodpecker sat on the grass looking for breakfast and so I sat too, just for a while. There was nothing else to watch, apart the lighthouse, a yacht and a fishing boat passing far below, the occasional little bird flitting between gorse and the sea. The same sea that I watch every time I come here and I come here a lot….

Sunday 18 February 2018

Sunday Evening Already

I haven't managed to pop any pics on here for a while and it's not because I'm ignoring you honest, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours at the moment.
Over the last few months I have framed about thirty photographs for The Grand Hotel (and they are looking superb in the rooms by the way) just about finished getting ready for the show on Thursday night at The Old Stables and am well on the way to framing another forty or so photographs for my exhibition up at Durlston Castle in a couple of weeks.
This doesn't leave a lt of time for wandering with the camera but that should change as the evenings get lighter.
Now I'm not complaining, far from it, it has only been about two years since I left the corporate world and started doing this stuff for a living and it is really good to be busy.
Anyway, since the one bird that I can see and hear while I'm framing is my local Robin, I thought I would try and make amends for my absence by posting one of my favourite pics of one.
Enjoy the last few hours of your Sunday and try to keep your feet dry tomorrow because the weather doesn't really know what to do.

Saturday 10 February 2018

I Am a Professional Photographer! ....Honest!

I am a professional photographer!
That title doesn’t sit right with me even though it is how I make my living but after years in the building industry to suddenly become something that had been a dream for so long still seems strange.
The history of my full-time career as a professional photographer only goes back two years, Purbeck Footprints as a business goes back four years before that, but the seeds of what has become not just a way for me to earn a living but also a way of life go back much further.
Wildlife has always been of interest to me as has history, especially the history of how man has worked and lived within the landscape we occupy. Photography fits in very nicely with this and with the digital age making it easier and cheaper to take photographs of where I live it became the norm for me to carry a camera around wherever I wandered.  And I wandered a lot! Every spare moment was spent out and about along the many footpaths that crisscross the Isle of Purbeck and the wealth and variety of its wildlife was an obvious distraction. Getting close to the wildlife that we have here quickly became a passion, with the goal being to take photographs of these creatures without impeding their day to day lives. No photograph is worth upsetting or stressing the animals that live here and that is something I always keep in mind.
Over time my collection of photographs increased as did the number of stories, myths and legends that I found: my interest in the people that have lived and worked here runs alongside my love of wildlife and the two are regularly intertwined.  Now let me make it very clear that I am no academic and have no formal qualifications in any of the subjects that I mention here but over the years I have either taught myself, picked up snippets of information from here and there, watched, listened, learned and somehow managed to retain a few bits and pieces. I can’t remember when I was invited to give my first talk but since then I have been invited to speak to photographic societies, rambling groups and charities both on the Isle of Purbeck and further afield. The talks that I give are usually accompanied by my photographs and I use these to illustrate the landscape and wildlife of this little part of Dorset. I do not use a script for these talks, but the stories follow the photographs and I find it easy to talk about things I feel passionate about.
A couple of exhibitions followed and it was after a particularly successful ‘Ten Days In May’ at the wonderful Durlston Country Park in 2015 that I started to seriously think maybe, just maybe, I could make a go of this photography lark! After much soul searching with my wife and family and with a huge amount of support we decided that I would leave my relatively well-paid job within the building industry and make Purbeck Footprints and my photographic career a reality. Six months later, on April 1st 2016 (April Fools Day…) I became a professional photographer and my life would change completely.
The main change is that I am now part of a collective that runs The Old Stables in my home town of Swanage where I have a gallery to show off and sell my photographs, this can only work with the help of the rest of the collective and I am massively grateful for that. In fact, I am very appreciative of the support that I receive from so many people without whom I would not be where I am today.
The Isle of Purbeck sits at the youngest end of the Jurassic Coast and geology plays a big part in its history, so I became a Jurassic Coast Trust Ambassador. I enjoy giving teaching sessions to Duke of Edinburgh Award groups about The Trust and this incredible coastline and use my knowledge of Jurassic Coast in the talks and walks that I give.
So in short, I will never become a millionaire but then that wasn’t the goal to start with, what I have is a chance to explain to people, through my photographs, guided walks and talks, what an amazing place the Isle of Purbeck is and how happy I am to call it home.

Sunday 4 February 2018

A Lazy Sunday.

We knew it was going to be chilly this morning and we knew the wind was picking up but blue skies meant that the early walk was going to be good even though we had plenty to do today. When we reached the path above Durlston Bay the full force of a lazy wind hit you and the real chill made itself known. The wind stayed with us until we rounded the head but then, all of a sudden, the day became almost Spring-like. Sheltered from the worst of the chill and with the Sun shining brightly we weren't the only ones that seemed to be enjoying the morning, Adders were back above Tilly Whim and both Kestrel and Peregrine were on the hunt.
There was plenty to do after the walk and I didn't see much more of the Sun but this was not a bad start to the day.

Saturday 3 February 2018

Familiar Place, Familiar Locals

As soon as the Sun comes out there is a little voice in my head that will do its best to get me out with the camera, whatever else I need to do. At this time of year blue sky days have to be grabbed with both hands and I don’t tend to argue with that little voice too much.
I am fortunate where I live that my local patch includes the fabulous Durlston Country Park, an area that sits on the very south eastern edge of the Isle of Purbeck and has some of the finest views around, not to mention an incredible amount of wildlife. So, when the Sun comes out, this is usually the first place I head to.
Now it may have been a cold February day but the warmth of the winter Sun was obvious straight away and out of the wind it seemed positively mild. On a day like this is not uncommon to find Adders basking on the south facing slopes, keeping safe and away from people. Out to sea Gannets soared just above the waves and the Guillemots that Durlston are famous for bobbed up and down on the water before heading back to their ledge just below the coast path.
Kestrels and Peregrines are often seen here and it is possible to get some superb views as they fly past of sit on the rocks, watching and waiting. On this trip though it was a Jay and a Firecrest that kept me amused, both were quick and skittish, both were perfectly coloured and both proved incredibly difficult to get close to. Time spent trying to photograph the birds and animals here is never wasted however and I can and do spend many hours walking backwards and forward between trees and around hedges following the wilder locals, whilst trying not to intrude on their lives too much.

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...