Saturday, 29 May 2010

Close To Home

Been a bit busy of late with family matters plus the hot weather has kept computer work down to a minimum, can't stand being indoors when the Gods are shinning on us, that said I also can't stand the heat - but one has to suffer for his cause, and its much better than upping the ISO in dull conditions to get some speed.
One thing that has been a priority in the editing room has been sorting images out from a recent trip to North Berwick for the Scottish Seabird Center, I'm thrilled to bits that they are going to use some of my images and they have invited me up for a trip onto Bass Rock. Trying to sort out a date to visit though has been problematic, June was suggested, but my daughter is expecting and is due to present us with a brand new offspring June / early July (what timing) anyhow due to go at the end of July, so something to look forward to - oh, as well as the kiddy-winkle I might add (I think I'd better). This has meant other holiday images lay languishing on the hard drive, not only that more images are added to the list faster than I can process them, it's a problem but a nice one to have. So if you see images appearing weeks (months) late forgive me, it will be down to my chaotic way of sifting through them.
My "system" is a far cry from my days photographing the Latics in the early 80's, when I would cover the matches home or away and have to have the pics ready for the early evening editions - mind the editor was only interested in the goals and they didn't score that many in those days (no change there then). Although I do remember an evening kick off at Scunthorpe giving me a sleepless night when the boys went berserk on a goal spree banging in SEVEN and that against an opposition who's captain was Ian Botham no less - yes he played football as well as cricket - but not quite so well.
Anyhow lets get up to speed, most of my time of late has been spent at Yarrow Valley Country Park photographing Great Crested Grebes and Dippers. The Grebes are on the main lodge and I love the water at the top end given calm conditions and flat water. Sitting in the middle of that end, the water to the left is light green mirrored from reed covered bank, dead ahead reflects the blue sky and to the right it's very dark green, almost black, but the light picks out the birds beautifully, that's my preferred angle to shoot. The best part of photographing at Yarrow is that I'm outside and right on the waters edge and at eye level with the birds, unlike Mere Sands Wood although good I don't relish being cooped up in a hide. A pair of Common Terns have nested on the pontoon and have been out feeding but alas not close enough to snap them YET. The river Yarrow flows through the park and a pair of Dippers can be seen regularly on this stretch as well as Grey Wagtails and the odd Kingfisher. Patients and luck is needed to get the Dippers on camera, it is no Lathkilldale, but more satisfaction is gained from a shoot when I pull it off and another plus, it's a lot cheaper.
At another location on one of my patrols I got a cracking view of a Little Ringed Plover, I didn't miss the chance to snap it........see you soon, Cheers David

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Three for Breakfast

Sunday morning breakfast is a leisurely affair in the Cookson household. I nip out for the newspapers while Margaret gets to grips with the coffee and toast, we then munch and slurp our way through the "cuisine" as we catch up with all the scandal and goings on of the past week.
We are broadly of the same political divide, but do have our own opposing views on certain matters, these are aired as if at PMs question time in adversarial fashion.
Throughout this ritual half an eye is on the silver birch in case the gold crest (our favorite visitor) decides to put in an appearance.
Our conversation was going like this......
"I hope this coalition works, its more in keeping with the wishes of the people, rather than being dictated to by a landslide government" said I.
"Don't be daft, the country needs to be steered not left blowing in the wind" was my dearest retort.
"Dinosaur politics, what we need...............
"Fox on the lawn"!!!
Indeed there was a fox on the lawn, calmly collecting the birds bread before skulking off with its booty.
Margaret cut some more bread and quartered an apple while I dashed for the camera.
I replenished the stock of food on the lawn and within five minutes the fox returned and collected a mouthful bread and apple before departing under the rhododendron bush. I suspect it had brought a cub or two such was it's comings and goings and the time is about right. A few years back during the summer we had four foxes running around the garden in the twilight hours. Lets hope for the same again, but ten in the morning will do very well indeed.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Witch of a Hill

Over the years I have climbed most every Fell in the Lake District, quite a number of mountains in Scotland and Wales and walked every predominant long distant footpath in the British Isles and Ireland. But alas the years have taken their toll on my on my weary limbs. Things now have to be planed in short stages, preferably flat stages.
Therefore an attack on Pendle Hill a mere 1800 ft above sea level becomes a major expedition. Should I make the assent in two or three stages setting up camps along the way, indeed, would I need to bivouac overnight? - then their would be supplies, Sherpas, Yaks - Oh my God I'm going to need sponsorship!!!
Well I exaggerate of course, but I would have to psyche myself up no end, take my time and make many stops on the way up to catch my breath.
The decision made, "I went for it" on Friday. I parked up beside the colossus, put on my boots, slung on my rucksack and with the sun on my back I boldly strode forth. I was transported back in time and suddenly remembered what pleasure this trekking business gave me, but it was short lived. My knees and ankles ached and my lungs felt as they were going to bust, but with measured pace "dead slow" I made it to the top. What a feeling, body and soul rejuvenated, it was almost as good as topping out on Ben Nevis - well almost!!!
And what was all this endeavour for?
To get a snap of this Dotterel.