Photographs submitted to the Nene Quirer along with a monthly article about rural matters.
Images entered into the competitions at the local photography group.
Ravensthorpe Reservoir, Northamptonshire
Heron at Becket's Park, Northampton
A Drink by Candlelight
West Haddon Church - Glass Window Detail
West Haddon Church Door
Sunrise over Brixworth
The Swan Family
Caught off guard...
I am not a fan of the posed photograph, particlulary where the subject deliberately poses in a manner that does not show who they are. Some of these pictures are taken at formal occassions but try to capture the person at that moment when they are not on show.
This set of pictures illustrate my search for that nostalgia feel but in a modern manner. It started as an off-shoot of the Big Skies project but those images are simple B+W changes in Photoshop. In converting this set (they start as colour images) I have tried to add drama to what are ordinary shots, by using my own settings.
The World in a Different Perspective
View through old glass, Burghley House
This wonderful old pane of glass gives a crinkled view of the world outside, a reality you know to be not true - and yet....
The World Turned Upside Down
This glass bauble hangs in a neighbour's garden. I love the clarity of the image seen in the glass yet it is very difficult to work out which way round the world in the ball is.
Reflecting another room, Burghley House
Birds of Prey
This set of pictures were taken during a Birds of Prey photographic day at Icarus Birds of Prey, Holdenby, Northamptonshire.
Eagle Owl - 1
The striking thing about these birds on first encounter is their eyes. They look like the eyes in teddy bears.
Eagle Owl - 2
The tufts on the top off their heads are not ears. Whilst it may not be clear what purpose they serve to the owl, they do provide a visual indicator off how he is feeling towards others.
Eagle Owl - 3
This picture gives a good idea of how much the bird can see. The reflection of the view behind me is quite clear in his eye.
Eagle Owl - 4
The plumage is wonderful camouflage in the woodland setting. This detail of his fine coat is so full of shades of brown and also shows the texture of his feathers.
Tawny Owl - 1
This, the second bird of the day, was our introduction to photographing flight. I just loved the light in the glade and eventually tried to go for a complete scene and not just a detail of the bird in flight.
Tawny Owl - 2
The owl's handler is just off picture on the left. Here you can see that he is preparing to land on her gloved hand.
Tawny Owl - 3
Finally managed to get a shot of the owl just as it took off. It only flew a short distance and by the time I was ready it invariably had gone.
Tawny Owl - 4
After the flight pictures the owl was set in a tree for some static shots. As the bird looked straight on to some, I moved round and peeped through a bush to capture this shot. I love the way it looks like it has just popped up to see what is happening.
Tawny Owl - 5
After the previous shot I moved round a bit and went for one of my favourite compositions, looking into the picture. This gives the appearance that the bird is just looking round the corner.
Black Kite - 1
I spend a lot of time looking for the Red Kites around the fields where I live. This cousin was much more obliging in that we knew where it was and often where it was going! I ike the way that the sun is just catching the tail tips and the legs.
Black Kite - 2
Another view, this time with the head lit.
Black Kite - 3
In a day of learning a lot, at the top of the list must have been about getting the background colours correct. This is the nearest I got to tracking a bird against the trees to attempt to get that feeling of speed.
Burrowing Owl - 1
This little bird is striding out of its burrow towards its handler to get a treat. This native of America lives in small, vacated burrows - or shares ones with Marmots
Burrowing Owl - 2
This is a nervous bird and is forever on the look out for possible predators.
Burrowing Owl - 3
Here the owl is just taking off, a sort of coordinated jump and wing flap. With the wings out, its apparent size is increased substantially.
Burrowing Owl - 4
I like the angle of flight in this one and the way that it is parallel with the edge of the log.
Burrowing Owl - 5
In this picture, the mound in the foreground is the burrow used for the displays. Here the owl has just taken off from the log and is heading for the line of photographers!
Burrowing Owl - 6
I suppose that this picture just shows how worried these little birds are. There were (wild) buzzards around.
Kestrel - 1
Trying to select which pictures to publish on the website is particularly difficult here. The light was right, the camera seemed to be right and the kestrel hovered to order. What could go wrong? Well, you could see the several I left out.
Kestrel - 2
The previous picture was light and airy. Here, the bird has arched its wings, creating shadows and it now looks quite sinister.
Kestrel - 3
And now it has opened its cloak, welcoming the prey to its lure.
Kestrel - 4
In these first four pictures, I have loved the light shining through the tail feathers and the lighter markings on the wings.
Kestrel - 5
All of sudden the light can change, perhaps the photographer not even noticing with his eye on the bird. Here the blue has been replaced by a grey/white and the colours of the birds back can be clearly seen.
Kestrel - 6
From underneath, the cloud keeps the sun from shining through the feathers and the colours stand out for themselves.
Kestrel - 7
As the bird descends to land it momentarily adopts the shape of an angel - but of death for a vole.
Merlin - 1
The Merlin is a beautiful bird, small and perfectly in proportion. It was the bird of lady falconers. The bird did not fly so there was plenty of opportunity to get close, to look at the texture and colours of the plumage - and to try different backgrounds. This dark green works quite well.
Merlin - 2
A change of position and light, and the background changes giving a brighter bird.
Merlin - 3
In the previous one and this I like the little bits of feather that are on the right shoulder and on the lower left. It looks as if it knows that they are out of place but they will not perform grooming in public.
Merlin - 4
Another position and a different backdrop. In fact I think I prefer this one to the greens. I also like the way the bird is eyeing me up.
Merlin - 5
Having looked at me the head is now turned; I am spurned and ignored - though still in his wide angle of vision.
Merlin - 6
Shot from under the bird, the detail of the plumage, particularly on the head and throat, is clear.
Chilean Eagle Buzzard - 1
Out in the field with the buzzard but unfortunately not enough wind or thermal for the bird to show its true form. However, the nearer the ground it is, the easier it is to photograph.
Chilean Eagle Buzzard - 2
These two under the wing shots show even the densest feathers let some light through - and how the bird can trim and move the feathers according to their flight needs.
Chilean Eagle Buzzard - 3
I like this for two reasons. Firstly it was the first head-on shot of the day at close proximity. Secondly, I had not released that irrespective of the angle of the wings, the head stays horizontal to the ground. I eventually saw this on a few birds that day.
Chilean Eagle Buzzard - 4
Very adept a flying close to the ground, here the bird is heading towards its handler.
Chilean Eagle Buzzard - 5
And here is the stall for the landing - and the reward
Harris Hawk - 1
This is an incredible bird to watch and I am a tad disappointed that there were only two pictures In thought fit to use. The speed of flight was a step up from the buzzard!
Harris Hawk - 2
It may have been disappointing but I am pleased with this one.
Hooded Vulture - 1
I think that instead of trying to like a vulture for what it looks like, there are plenty of reasons why they should be appreciated - not least dealing with all the dead and rotting flesh.
Hooded Vulture - 2
A change of light and background and the colours of the plumage take on different tones.
Hooded Vulture - 3
In this picture, the vulture is coming out of the dark, appealing to all the menacing views we have of them.
Hooded Vulture - 4
Another view of a bird putting its brakes on. The control from this size of bird is quite amazing - to me anyway.
Tiercel - 1
The climax of the day - at least in terms of photographing birds in flight - was the peregrine. This stunning bird cuts through the air at a speed that is often difficult to discern - even without a camera. Here the bird is rather sedately flying from perch to handler prior to showing its real skills.
Tiercel - 2
This next three shots have a real comic-book feel to them. They have not been altered save for a bit of cropping. The light was obviously reflecting off the birds back and the aperture perhaps a tad too open. However I doubt if I could reproduce this effect.
Tiercel - 3
The open mouth gives it an appearance of somewhere between a smile and a sneer.
Tiercel - 4
The ariels for the transmitter add to the impression of speed. I did consider taking them out but left them as that is what they fly with.
Tiercel - 5
We were told that in flight the peregrine zooms up and then there is a nano-second of stall before it charges down on its prey. With a great deal of luck this is about that point.
Tiercel - 6 to 13
Having performed for us the bird is then allowed to have its reward, untethered. We could slowly move in and I expect everyone came away with hundreds of shots. A stunning bird.
Barn Owl - 1
Each bird was a treat to photograph and each had their own ways of flying and standing so that we were constantly changing our approach. Most of the time the Barn Owl flew against the green of grass or trees, but this dark spot shows him off perfectly.
Barn Owl - 2
This front-on picture clearly shows the shape of the face that not only contains the eyes but also the ears - which can pick up the heart beat of a mouse in the grass below,
Barn Owl - 3
Their flight is much easier to follow than the peregrine or kestrel and the whole movement is like a perfect but slow waltz.
Barn Owl - 4
Another view of the face with the beak open. I love the fluffy face.
Barn Owl - 5
Finally, the performance over, the reward. He was supposed to finish with his party trick of downing it in one go but he didn't want to, being more intent to show off in other ways.
Each of these people has a story. In some cases I was told the story, in a few they prompted other stories but in many we are left to guess...