Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Hello 2012!


The Referee, originally uploaded by Christopher Mills.

Above is my favourite image of 2011. It's nothing to write home about technically or aesthetically, but it encapsulates the drama and unpredictably of our wild animals.

It was a uninspiring, murky day at Warnham LNR. I'd only stopped by to satisfy the "photography itch" after a few days of not being able to get out. Little was occurring, just a few greylags and canada geese squaring up... then all hell broke loose below me! The moorhens, some of which were obviously 1st years trying their luck, erupted into noise. Chasing each other around the mill pond in front of the hide, these two went into battle. This was a turf fight, and they weren't holding back.

I like this particular image as it gives an impression of the ferocity of the battle, with the added bonus of a "referee" watching on to add to the dramatic impact of the shot. It's always fascinating to see this kind of behaviour... and to me it's just as spectacular when it's a common, British water bird as male lions fighting it out in Africa.

Turning to the coming year - my immediate plans are to spend some more time with the Short eared owls, chasing that elusive "battle" shot. I came very close earlier this week, only to have a inconsiderately-sited bush spoil things at the critical moment! In reality, the dismal light would have prevented an acceptably good image, so I wasn't that disappointed. The forecast is better for the coming days - maybe my luck will turn soon. I'm also hoping to fit in a couple of trips to the west of Kent to track down wild boar. They're elusive creatures that can cause serious injury if they feel threatened; it'll be a good workout for my tracking skills.

I have secured some work for the coming months, which should pay the bills AND allow me some photography time! All in all, I've had a pretty good start to 2012, I can only hope it continues...