gorilla 1 (lympne)

Well hello to all out there.

Sorry I’ve not been able to post much of my photography for the past few months. So busy with one thing or another. I’ll start putting some up, going back through the year. Starting with a batch of images taken from a recent family trip to Port Lympne wildlife park.

Some photographers will say zoo or wildlife park photography is not like going on safari and capturing the real thing and perhaps an easy way to build up your library. Well firstly, not all will have the opportunity to afford the safari experience. Secondly, zoo photography is by no means an easy task. With wire, barriers, artificial surroundings and non native plant life.

Also, a great deal of patience is needed, waiting for animals to come out from there skulking dull hideaways.

Personally, I love the challenge of zoo or wildlife park photography, and would challenge any photographer, whether hobbyist, amateur or professional, to go to a zoo for the day and leave with more than a handful of images, worthy of putting to print.

Whilst doing this post, I’ve had thoughts of perhaps starting a photography workshop on the subject, with tips on how I go about creating such images. Probably one to one, or small groups. If you might be interetsed, please let me know, or conatct me through the contact form on this site.

I hope you enjoy the photographs below all taken at Port Lympne Wildlife Park.

batrian camel (lympne)
Batrian Camel
giraffe (lympne)
Giraffe
giraffe 1 (lympne)
Giraffe
gnu or wilderbeast (lympne)
Gnu or Wildebeast
gorilla (lympne)
Gorilla
gorilla infant (lympne)
Infant Gorrila
gorilla infant 1 (lympne)
Infant Gorilla
little monkey (lympne)
Little Monkey
macaque (lympne)
Macaque
pallas cat (lympne)
Pallas Cat
white rhino (lympne)
White Rhino
white rhino 1 (lympne)
White Rhino
wolf (lympne)
Wolf

 

 

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There are 59 species of Butterfly compared to over 2,500 species of Moths in the UK,with more species being establishing following migration from the continent probably due to climate change over the last decade or so. Moths occur in a wide variety of habitats from the coastline up to high altitudes. Although there are quite a few day flying Moths in the UK , most are night flyers so are seldom seen. Moths are masters of disguise and camouflage with many as stunningly colourful patterns as their day flying cousins, Butterflies. All in all a very fascinating species of insect to observe and photograph.
4 Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1
As with all wildlife Moths are governed by weather conditions and so the amount of species caught in an evening before a workshop will change from a few to many different species with June/ July being the best time for Hawkmoths.
8 Cynthia moth
At times the sessions will be supplemented with various moths bred and reared myself such as migrant Hawkmoth (Death Heads, Spurge, Bedstraw etc). I’m also hoping, with a bit of work ,to be rearing some foreign species such as Eri Silkmoth Philosamia Cynthia and the largest moth in the world the Giant Atlas Moths. Eggs, caterpillars and pupae in season will also be available to photograph. On warm sunny days there will also be the possibility to photograph Hummingbird Hawkmoths (if you have the patience)
7 Spurge Moth
I will be setting up various ways to photograph the moths both naturally and artistically using various props such as moss, lichen laden twigs, branches, stumps, bark, stones and flowers etc.
My aim will be to send each individual photographer home with a set of images they will gladly be adding to their portfolio.
The workshop is open to all abilities and equipment. Macro and wide angle lenses being used for the most part of my work with the exception of telephoto being used for the Hummingbird Hawkmoths. Some smaller tele lenses with convertors may work just as well though.
15 Pine Hawkmoth caterpillar
The workshops will be held from mid May onwards – each session will be from 9.30 to 12.30 on a Monday or Friday. The cost will be £75 per photographer and limited to 4 photographers per session. If there has been a really good evenings catch and anyone would like to continue the session there will be an additional charge of £30 per hour per person.A £20 deposit will be required on booking. only refundable if the session is cancelled or inclement weather. or you may rebook onto another session.
The setting will be on a private estate in the Sussex Downs just north of Chichester and the exact location will be advised prior to the workshop. Tea, coffee and a toilet will be available throughout the morning.
13 Lime Hawk moth
Please view my Facebook account My Wild Life Tony Stevens where an ‘Event’ has been created to register interest.
Alternatively contact or message
Tony Stevens 07734 103014 or Amanda Starkey 07789 030107
About the photographer
Tony Stevens is Sussex born with a life long admiration for the surrounding area and in particular the wildlife within . Combining an artists eye with a good knowledge of nature has been my foremost advantage in the development of my style of self taught photography. My main focus is on British wildlife with several highly commended awards in top British wildlife photography competitions.
16 Privet Hawkmoth 11 Burnett Moth6 small ele hawkmoth

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― St. Francis of Assisi

Scissor Arches
The Scissor Arches

(This post first appeared on Alan’s own website http://www.alanfrostphotography.com)

I came across this quote recently and I couldn’t help but think of some of the truly magnificent cathedral buildings in this country. One in particular came to mind; – Wells Cathedral in Somerset, arguably one of the most beautiful in England and without question a favourite of mine.

Looking down the nave and up towards the Scissor Arches, one can only marvel at the work of the labourer, the craftsman and the artist. The use of hands, heads and hearts are all very evident.

For the historians, the site of Wells Cathedral can be traced back to 705, although construction on the present cathedral began in around 1175. The scissor arches were added in 1338-48 and they resolved a real problem. As well as being quite beautiful they stopped the complete collapse of a tall tower which had been built in 1313 on weak foundations.

Photographically speaking the great Henri Cartier-Bresson said –

‘It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head’.

Remarkably similar to the quote by St Francis of Assisi don’t you think?

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Alan Frost, a member of The Image Circle, has recently been awarded an Associate Distinction by The Royal Photographic Society. The Society’s distinctions are internationally respected and sought after by professional and amateur photographers. Over 1200 applications for Licentiate, Associate and Fellow of the Society are received each year with around 800 being successful. Submissions are held in different categories and are assessed by a qualified Panel of senior members of the Society. The Society takes great care in maintaining standards and in promoting excellence amongst photographers.

Alan’s monochrome submission was in the Conceptual and Contemporary category and featured 15 church images some of which are shown here, together with the hanging panel. In addition a statement of intent was submitted explaining what Alan hoped to achieve.

ARPS Panel-5

Alan was naturally delighted to be awarded this prestigious award. He said – “I have been working on the panel for nearly 18 months prior to it being assessed. I was fully aware of the very high standard required by The RPS, so it is a great honour for me to have achieved this success. I have every intention of becoming a Fellow, but I think this can be likened to climbing Everest, so we shall see!”

ARPS Panel

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The Hanging Plan

Do visit Alan’s website where you can view all fifteen images and read his statement of intent. Please click here.

 

Many of my landscape images involve a fair degree of planning and careful compositional consideration. Sometimes it’s just as absorbing and in many ways liberating to just grab a simple camera and lens combination and go for a wander. In this instance it was my Fujifilm X-T2 and the jack of all trades 18-135mm, my default family camera. Having visited Cwmorthin Quarry previously I was keen to take the family to explore this fascinating landscape and it’s industrial archeology. Needless to say that the challenge is to keep moving and not become too much of a bore to your nearest and dearest which does add to the urgency and spontaneity of the image making.

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I had a bit of a plan in that I had loaded the GPS with geocaches and was sure that it would provide the perfect distraction whilst I set about wielding my X-T2, no one would suspect my real intentions. Of course I was soon rumbled but managed to keep everyone  reasonably entertained whilst capturing some worthwhile images.

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I feel the advent of mirrorless equipment does make such forays much easier and more enjoyable if only because of the friendlier weight.

The location itself is a landscape photographers dream and somewhere I can see myself returning to many times. There is a wonderful sense of dereliction and reclamation as nature gradually claws back the valley from it’s industrial past.

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Slate and drystone walls abound as do remnants of dwellings and mining buildings and the images here are just a small selection of what I captured in the few hours we visited. There is a wonderful atmosphere to the place, a palpable sense of a long history and it’s hard not to reflect on the lives that have gone before and the many hundreds of hands that have toiled to shape the landscape into what it is today.

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I wondered what the past inhabitants would make of things today. A working class man like myself passing through as part of a leisure activity with his family. My Fuji camera would be a thing of science fiction I’m sure the like of which even H G Wells himself could not have imagined.

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Of the camera itself I have nothing but praise. Not only has it enabled me to be more surreptitious on my family outings but it is capable of producing images more than worthy of the family album. I would happily use it for my “serious”landscape work and indeed have already started to do so.

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So a few months ago me, my brother and our friend decided to take a trip to Wales. We had recently started a You Tube channel which aimed to cover everything about the outdoors. But we needed content.

Seeing as there is only so much you can do in Bognor Regis when it comes to outdoor activity, we chose to go for a long weekend in Wales with the main goal of visiting a small place called Gigrin Farm.

Wales is quite rightly known as one of the top places to visit for walks, fantastic views and diverse wildlife. As well as terrible weather. So, it was no surprise to us that, when making our way through wales we saw amazing views of valleys calved by distant rivers. As well as birds of all kinds darting through the woodlands and soaring over mountains. Of course, as I alluded to earlier, this comes at a price. We arrived to the wake of a hurricane. I can assure you this is not an exaggeration.

When we arrived at our very remote (but amazingly situated) accommodation the internet was out and we were told the entire day had been spent clearing the 2 mile track of fallen trees just so we could get through. Still, the next morning we packed out bags and headed out to Gigrin Farm which was about an hour away.

When we arrived it was clear that I was the one who would be getting the most out of the day as the other two didn’t seem keen on paying to sit in a hide. However, the day was cold, wet and windy. This meant that we were the only people at Gigrin farm that day. We had the place to ourselves. To my surprise this meant that my brother, Lewis and our friend, Adam were able to join me in the hide I had pre-booked for the purpose of photography.

The wait began. We were there to see what must be one of the biggest gatherings of this particular species in the UK. After about 20 minutes we saw a few silhouetted shapes gliding around a tree on the horizon. Soon, there was a shout, “guys”! We spun round to see what could only be described as a cloud of raptors sweeping in from hills to the left of the hide. They were following the approaching meat trailer.

The meat trailer pulled up by the hide, by this time the tension was mounting.  The kites’s frenzied state resulted in the clashing of wings and screeches of authority ringing out around us. The sky was full (and I cannot emphasise the word “full” enough at this point) with Red Kites, England’s largest bird of prey. And what a site it was.

Wales L.A.M final edit -7

The first spade full of meat was flung from the trailer and madness erupted amongst the red sky. Birds dived erratically, scooping up pieces of meat from the ground without landing and eating them on the wing.

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I took a moment to watch and really take in what I was seeing. This is a bird of prey that until very recently was a birder’s prize sighting, something you would rarely see with your own eyes. Now thanks to projects like this one in Wales they are recovering, arguably thriving ! There is a lot of controversy though. Some say that sites like this are bad for the British ecosystem. These raptors in Gigrin farm are almost dependant on the meat provided. And there is some evidence to suggest that they are not getting enough variety in their diet which can lead to health problems.

This controversy is well founded and I have given a lot of thought to which side of the fence I would fall on in the debate. Personally, I think that the future of wildlife, in the British isles especially, is a very fragile thing at the moment. As always, its security can help to be ensured by the next generation. How many people nature enthusiasts would say they found a love for wildlife through a trip to a zoo or an aquarium. If there are ways of providing arguably more memorable experiences, without the fences or glass. As well as showing native wildlife instead of flagship species from countries that people may never get the chance to visit, then I say we need to have places like Gigrin Farm.

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If you ever get the chance i would highly recommend you visit. I can promise you a sighting that you will never forget. For more photos or to see the red sky from another perspective feel free to watch the YouTube video below. Thank you for reading :).

Red Kites and Gigrin Farm: Video

 

I think every budding naturalist or wildlife enthusiast has had this experience. A well meaning individual tells you that a species you have been wanting to see for a long time is easy to see. Not only that but they know a spot where it can without doubt be seen. In my search for the Ghost Hunter I was lucky enough to experience this three times. Unfortunately I was also unlucky enough to come back with no sightings on all three occasions.

Until today…

To find out what the Ghost Hunter is click here

Farlington seal-1.jpg

So this weekend I went to Brighton with my girlfriend as part of her 21st birthday celebrations. It was a great weekend with lots of lovely moments to remember. Thanks mainly to the Brighton sea life centre which, although small, is very much worth a visit. However, all the tourist saturated amusements and fancies we enjoyed aren’t what seem to be lingering in my mind 24 hours later.

Click here to read the rest of the blog and see Matt’s first attempt at street photography.

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Although The Image Circle exhibition does not take place until November, preparing a portfolio of images ready for curation at a later date has to begin now. In fact it started some weeks ago when I decided my theme would concentrate on the landscape and environment of Chichester Harbour. Now, whenever I am out walking […]

Last week Alan Frost posted an entry on his blog, and wrote about his thoughts on the topic of the parameters he would be using ahead of the Exhibition. There are five images in the entry including the one featured here. To read about his thoughts click on the link –  Exhibition – my parameters — alan frost photography

So, picture the scene, its a cold day, its nearly Christmas, and everyone is scurrying around the garden centre with loved ones in mind and presents to find. An act that although very generous or even altruistic can result (ironically) in a tunnel vision of sorts and things being missed. I had driven my mum to our local garden centre and whilst there, feeling smug as I had (for once) finished my Christmas shopping early, I diverted my attention to the garden bird area. Here, I was able to relax amongst the relative calm. Until that is, something caught my eye. Click here for the rest of the story and to see more photographs.

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