As the old rolling stones song goes wild wild horses couldn’t keep me away.at the end of may while out at my nearest RSPB ,i stopped to read a notice it said have you seen our wild ponies which we have here to help establish heathland after clearing areas of forest in the forming of the reserves habitat for attracting more species of birds and help build populations there are quite a few already and the reserve is getting better every year thanks to all the hard work of the rspb .well back to the ponies, intrigued as we just booked to go to the camargue in south of france to try and stress try and photograph the wild white horses there (more on that later in the year if i am successful!!!!) so the ponies being here worth trying to find and with camera in hand stepped out to try and photograph them and also practice photographing horses something which is new to me .well it wasnt long before i came across them and how wonderful they looked too! on talking to a few people who keep an eye on them there i found out they are a rare breed of pony in the UK Exmoor ponies which are in decline in uk .i approached them carefully as not to get too near as wild horses need space and its very wise to do that and give them that space as they can be unpredictable.there are signs instructing you what to not do !.they are beautiful though about 13-14 hands so bit smaller than horses
There are only 84 of these ponies in the whole country .the weather just now as i wright this is very hot here 32c ! which is very unusual for uk .not comfortable for any animals. i could see the heat and flies were making them a bit edgy so kept my distance having a telephoto lens helps as that is not a problem more that they are quite inquisitive and at some points came close to me to investigate .you must not under any circumstances feed them. or walk dogs near them as they are wild and will behave very differently to stabled horses .as my camera allows i will post follow up articles .hope you like the photographs and e mail me if your intrested in buying a print as all are for sale .
As we are now into summer here over the last few months much has happened in the foxes world .in early april we saw new cubs being born and by may they were emarging from there dens into the daylight of this big old world for the very first time
under the care of there parents young cubs venture further from the dens, facing many dangers and hazards ,some of cause fall fowl and do not survive ,and its a time at the fox project of which i am a fairly new rescuer sees many cubs orphans for many different reasons being brought in to help them survive. the fox project and the work they do for our foxes is just amazing and i cant praise them enough for all that they do ,so many hard working caring lovely people,who got he extra mile to help foxes.i feel very privileged to play my very small part .Now being well into june. the cubs are growing and are a lot more wary of us humans
at the slightest of movement or presence for humans or other animals they gone in a flash. i managed to get a quick picture of this little guy whos clued up very quickly to the surrounding world he has entered . over the next few months the cubs will continue to grow and be parented .little sylvie is looking great after her bad start to the year .she has not had cubs this year so hope next year we may see her have cubs depending on finding a partner male in the autumn,although she already has a few admirers !
the weather over the last couple of weeks has been really hot in to the 30 s here which is very unusual .so i leave water out for here and you should do the same if you love foxes and they come into the garden.
so as this summer opens out and natures young join the rest of the animals do enjoy the marvels that nature shows you
It is spring time in uk at present and as we had never been to the chilterns we decided to visit,so judy booked a room at a small inn in the village of ibstone in oxfordshire.our reason was to photograph the red kites which were reintroduced to england back in 1975,with huge success . in fact you can see kites from the m40 as they can often be seen catching the thermals .having arrived on 13 may ,we went to a high spot along the ridge which makes up the chiltern hills ,from which you can see kites very closely .
Photographing red kites
The equipment you need to photograph the kites is preferably a dslr, with a lens zoom or telephoto of 300mm -500mm in length .good shots are achievable with a 300mm lens as the birds fly very close to the ground ,in fact they often can be seen close up in most of the towns and villages in the area . Setting your camera to continuous auto focus so the camera can stay infocus of the bird is a good idea .this is found on all dslrs check in your camera manual as to how to do this if your unsure. set your aperture to as large f4 -f5.6 are great .next set the frames per second to a high enough setting 5 is good . and thats the settings all you need is birds and your set to go so its quite easy to find red kites being a very large bird but chris s cafe in stokenchurch is a good place to head to if you want to have a drink and seat while the kites come down to feed at the outside of the cafe .if like me your more adventurous and want to have pictures on eye level head high into the hills where they also come very close but the backgrounds for pictures is a bit better the photo above was taken like this with forested sides to the hills this gives a nice background to the shots. having had a great day we head to our overnight accommodation.i cant recommend the Fox inn in ibstone highly enough nice rooms good restaurant,and freindly staff ,and a bar !. next morning after a fantastic breakfast we headed out again for more of the same we were not disappointed finding red kites to photograph is not difficult at all .after a couple hours and full memory cards we call it a day and head home visiting a national trust on the way home .all ain all a fantastic trip and certainly a must if you are a bird watcher or wildlife photography is you thing or both .much info can be found on the internet with just a google search .so i leave you with a few more shots from a memorable weekend
It was a very warm april day when i set out early on a sunday morning to meet my old friend tony at rspb pulborough brooks in west sussex .i set of from tonbridge at five past seven ,and arrived at twenty past eight ,not bad it was a beautiful morning and a lovely journey down through southern englands gorgeous countryside springs well under way and all is being made new . i pulled into the entrance and followed the well sign posted directions to the car park which is a good size .immediately you can see the entrance building with shop and restaurant when you c an get a drink and a meal. soon Tony arrived and after a catch up chat we headed of out into the large nature reserve , imedialy we noticed the large amount of warblers that were now arriving ,in particular Chiffchaffs , and blackcaps .i was a few days early for nightingales , but never mind next time as pullborough is a hot spot for them.
The blackcaps were a very pleasant suprise ,as was the emergance of an adder !.the reserve is set out so you can do a large circuit from the entrance in a circle which brings you back to the entrance building where incidentally there are fantastic views out acroos the wetland area .there are also many hides along the paths that give good views of birds at the waters edge.by miday i was getting quite tired and my legs were aching a bit ,think my age is being to show a bit now ,so i said fairwell to tony,and headed home .it was a great day and meeting up with tony was really special .i will return to this beautiful place and can recommend it to anyone who loves wildlife and beautiful countryside
Isn’t it amazing what these little devices that we nearly all carry around in our pockets[smartphones}can do,they are indeed actually mini computers and they also have some quite good cameras certainly good enough for snap shots and days out with the family or freinds.like the photo above taken on my sony phone which has a 20 mp cybershot camera in it .any way i like most of us have our phones with us all the time and having a camera built into it enables us to be ever ready to take a picture that may arise .The photo above i took the other morning in the cemetery near where i live .one thing that really hit me was that all the cemeteries ive visted over the years they have all had paths that are straight ,now i had a question that came into my head and it is , are the paths straight for a reason ? i dont know to be honest if all cemeteries have straight paths or just the ones ive been to.but is there a connection with gods word [the bible} ? and i for myself have to say yes ,because you see god tells us in his work that he makes our windy paths straight or that the paths that our lives are sometimes windie and that god can straighten those paths in our lives if we ask him for help with difficult things in our lives that are knocking us off course or sending our lives in circles seeming as if life is going nowhere and situations are only getting worse and you dont know the way out .proverbs 3:6 says,in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.but sometimes the path god wants you to take may be very different to what you would chose or want ,like the path in the picture thats covered with moss a path thats not often walked along .you see this picture got me asking many questions .some of us sometimes feel that we are at a cross roads in our lives but we dont know which way to go,and so we just carry on doing the same job living in the same part of the country or same country when god is saying ,no take the path with moss on it ,i know its not the one you would choose yourself but i am with you trust me ,i wont let you down i wont let you fall because i love you i have a plan for your life but you must trust me ,i never break my promises .so will i,will you trust him trust god .it could be scary most likely will be ,but we can trust god and if we do god may very well suprise us in a very big way .so next time you are in a cemetery see if the paths are all straight !!!!!
Just thought i would share my experience and workings with something called graphic acceleration. if you are into photography like i am and have been for best part of my life ,you go out take a card full of great picture .what do you do when you get home ,yes if like me upload them to your pc .then when we browse though the shots we think can i improve a certain image and we open the file in a photo editing program .there are many but the ones i use and beleive most people will use will be adobe photoshop or lightroom .both of these ive been using for many years but over the last few much has been added and updated ,but in the last two years i think more updates and adding new tools and features have taken place in such a short space of time ,but there is one area that has changed and for the most part is a bit overlooked .this is something called graphic hardware acceleration.this is where a programming code called open cl can be employed to further reveal more detail and higher and expansive parameters our images , but because there are many different graphics cards of differing degrees of performance in our pc s not all these parameters are enabled in photoshop .first you will have to look up and find out what your graphics are in your computer and then go to the adobe website and check with the system requirements and if your graphics card is in there tested list .if your computer is only a few years old or relatively new then more than likley it will be there .Next having checked your card details is to open photoshop and on the top bar click on the edit heading ,a drop down pain will be revealed scrol down and select preferences then performance ,and you will see something called graphic acceleration ,you will also notice an advanced setting pain click and open it and you will see a series of tick boxes of which some will be ticked make sure the open cl one is clicked ,all but one should be !. at the bottom you will se an unticked boxed called 30 bit colour .now this is something very new and when enabled reveals more colour detail in your images enabling you to veiw far more in your photographs .this is something you should do with your monitor if it has high enough pixel count , but you wil see the biggest most dramatic wow factor difference if you have a 4 k monitor or one of the new 5k apple i macs .the photograph above has been processed with 30 bit colour setting enabled .
Wow its end of feb 2017,and Christmas seems way in the past. time for me to say even though winter can get you down, there’s always a bright side to life that will give you a life whether that a shopping trip visiting family or friends,or going out for a walk on a sunny winters day. for me it was a few weeks ago it set of for my favorite wilderness place the nature reserve a few miles out of town near me . bough beech resevoir is a huge expanse of water and attracts a huge variety of birds all through the year from blue its to buzzards and ospreys on there way north.but my surprise was seeing a brambling a winter visitor a most beautiful bird to see
there distinct voice and flight pattern is unique. my next was seeing a buzzard a lot closer than i have ever sen one before,truly amazing birds.
another is the marsh tit quite rare now in my part of the country
so on a day that was cold but sunny , a suprise i had found ,so dont right of winter days get outside and see what god will show you and it will suprise you and give you a lift in spirit that will carry you through the bad stuff