Published Photograph

January 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I work for Hertfordshire County Council's Technology Department, so imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from the council's Press Office to ask if they could use one of my photographs for the front cover of their Horizons magazine, which is distributed to all residents in Hertfordshire!  I assumed that the Press Office knew I worked for the council and had spotted this photograph from their Flickr group, but they genuinely didn't know.  Instead they spent a lot of time looking for my phone number so that they could phone me at home, when all they needed to do was walk down the corridor at work and ask if they could use my photograph! 

Anyway, which photograph did they use for their Autumn edition?

They also used this photograph on the front page of their Facebook page:

I am delighted that I have had two photographs published recently.  Sadly no money changed hands, but it is lovely to see my photographs being used and appreciated.


Wildlife Parks visited so far

October 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

So far, we have visited quite a few Wildlife Parks in the UK, and I thought it was about time I pulled together some of the highlights for photographers and visitors so that they can get the best experience from each park.  The idea behind this post is to highlight animals that are unique to a park or you can see in a particularly good way.  I won't mention animals that you see at lots of zoos in similar enclosures.  

Wildlife Park

Animals

Easy to Photograph?

Highland Wildlife Park

Polar Bears - the only park in the UK that currently has polar bears

There is a viewing platform, though it is quite a distance from the bears, and some foliage can intrude into your shots.  The other alternative is to photograph them as you are passing in the car, but there is heavy-duty fencing in the way.

 

Scottish wildcats

The enclosures can be quite dark, so a tripod would be useful but is not essential.  I believe there are some Scottish Wildcats at the British Wildlife Centre at Lingfield in Surrey.

 

European Beavers

I was lucky to get a shot of one on my first visit, but they are very secretive.  Best time to photograph them is when they are being fed, which is usually late in the afternoon.

 

Snow Monkeys

There is a group of snow monkeys at the park, and you can photograph them through perspex.

Whipsnade Zoo

Brown Bears

There is no perspex or wire fencing to cause problems for photographers.  

 

Ring-Tailed Lemurs

This is a walk-through enclosure, so you get up close and personal with these cute creatures.  Don't be tempted to stroke them, as they have razor-sharp teeth. Woburn Safari Park also has a walk through enclosure, and they have 4 different types of lemurs.

 

Cheetah Rock

I haven't been to the zoo since this was built, but I gather that there is glass and fencing, which can cause problems when taking photographs.  Paradise Wildlife Park has a walkway above their cheetah enclosure, so photography there may be easier.

Regent's Park Zoo, London

African Hunting dogs

This is the only place I have ever seen these dogs.  There is a viewing platform that runs along the side of their enclosure, and there is no glass or fencing to obstruct your view or photography.

 

Komodo Dragon

This is behind glass, but I got some decent photographs of these magnificent lizards.

Woburn Safari Park

Black Bears

You can get very close to the black bears, but you are in your car and therefore you are always shooting through glass (sometimes tinted glass).

 

Lions

A whole pride of lions in a vast parkland.  As with the black bears, you are shooting through glass.  

 

Lemurs

A walk-through enclosure, which allows you to take photographs without any glass or fencing getting in the way.

 

Squirrel Monkeys

Another walk-through an enclosure with fantastic opportunities to take photographs of these endearing little monkeys.  

 

Giraffes

These roam around the park and often hold up the traffic, so you get lots of opportunities to photograph them.

Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire

White Lions

This is an outstanding park for big cats, and you can see the white lions through glass or heavy duty fencing.  You can shoot them from the walkway above, but it is difficult to get a decent shot from there.  Paul got some good shots through the glass and fencing.

 

White Tigers

You can climb up onto the viewing platform which is above the fencing, or you can take shots from ground-level, but there is heavy-duty fencing or perspex there.

 

Cheetahs

You can take shots from the walkways, which give you an excellent view point.

 

Snow Leopards

The snow leopards are behind glass and fencing, but if your camera can cope with this, then you can get some excellent shots. 

 

Leopards

Photographs are through glass, and I got some interesting close-ups though you need to watch that you don't get reflections on the glass.

 

Tigers

These are kept behind heavy duty fencing, so it was difficult to get decent shots of them.

Scottish Deer Centre, Fife

A wide variety of deer and rare breeds

These are fairly easy to photograph in their enclosures

 

Wolf enclosure

The wolf enclosure is surrounded by dense woodland and heavy-duty fencing, but at feeding time you do get to see the wolves and can photograph them, though again it depends on how well your camera copes with fencing and low-light.  The wolves were mostly European wolves, though the Alpha Male was a Canadian wolf.

 

Red Squirrels

These can be seen in the grounds of this park, but they are not kept in an enclosure.

Polar Bear at the Highland Wildlife Park.

Brown Bear at Whipsnade Zoo.  I think he looks like a teddy bear in this shot.

Komodo Dragon, Regent's Park Zoo

Squirrel Monkey at Woburn Safari Park

Leopard at Paradise Wildlife Park

Wolf at the Scottish Deer Park

I hope that you have found this helpful.  


What to Photograph in September / October

October 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Apologies for the delay in getting around to listing things to photograph in September and October - I have merged these two months because September is past, and both months can be quite similar.  

My List of What to Photograph in September and October:

General:

  • Autumnal colours, particularly forests, trees, hedges, etc.  
  • Reflections - this can be a particularly good time of year to get reflections, especially of those beautiful autumnal colours
  • Water - autumnal leaves in water
  • Waterfalls
  • Coastal scenes when there is wild weather - high waves, spray, cliffs, rocks, beaches
  • Mountain scenery, particularly with autumnal colours in the forests at the foot of the mountains and possibly a dusting of snow
  • Dramatic skies
  • Rain - rain on windows, rain outside, rain in city landscapes
  • Farming
  • Harvest scenes, farm equipement, farming scenes
  • Frost on leaves
  • Carpets of fallen leaves
  • Mist and fog

Insects:

  • Bees and wasps
  • Speckled Wood Butterfly

Wildlife and Birds:

  • Otter kits
  • Grey seal pups
  • Swallows leave our shores during September - October
  • House Martins leave our shores in September
  • Rutting stags (Red and Sika deer typically from the end of September up to the start of November)

 


Day Trip to Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire - White Lions

October 15, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Paradise Wildlife Park has a pride of white lions.  The information from the park on these lions is as follows:

"White Lions are not albino lions. Instead the white colour is caused by a recessive gene known as chinchilla or colour inhibitor. They vary from blonde through to near white. This colouration give white lions a distinct disadvantage in nature because they are highly visible which gives them away to their prey and makes them an attractive target for hunters."

"Born to the golden lion prides that roam the vast Timbavati region, they are a rare sub-species of the Kruger Lion."

The lions are magnificent, and they had a young cub - Zuri - when we visited.

Here is a portrait of Moto, the father:

This photograph was taken by Paul on his Sony Alpha 100 camera, at 1/500 at f/5.6.  ISO was set at 200.

Zuri, the cub, was playing with a dummy.  Despite his young age, he already has a fine set of teeth, and looks as though he can use them.

This shot was a little blurred as he moved when Paul was taking the shot.  Paul shot this at 1/320 at f/6.3.  ISO was set at 100.  This could definitely have done with a higher shutter speed and ISO rating as the original shot was quite dark, and the higher shutter speed would have kept the photograph sharp.  Paul always uses the Auto setting on his camera, whereas I use the shutter speed or aperture settings depending on the circumstances.

Here is Zuri playing with his dummy:

This is sharper than the photograph above but not completely sharp, though I think it is a lovely portrait of a lion cub.  Paul shot this at 1/320 at f/5.6, with the ISO set at 125.  


Day Trip to Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire - More Big Cats

October 09, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire has an amazing collection of big cats, and my husband Paul managed to capture some beautiful shots of the snow leopard and one of the white tigers.

The White Tigers have the most amazing facial markings, and the colours are gorgeous - a creamy white colour with reddish brown markings.  The enclosure was surrounded with wire fencing, which my camera - a Canon - seems unable to cope with.  Every shot I took included some or all of the fencing, whereas his camera - a Sony Alpha - seems to be able to ignore the fencing and focus on what he wants to photograph.  And here is the result - a beautiful portrait of one of the white tigers.

The zoo literature says "White tigers are not a naturally occurring species. They are a captive bred abnormality. We keep them at Paradise Wildlife Park for educational purposes and as ambassadors for their species."

So, this was taken on a Sony Alpha A100, the exposure was 1/500 at f/6.3, and the setting was at Auto.

Another big cat that I was desperate to see was a Snow Leopard.  And they did have a couple, which you could see from a wooden walkway.  Again they were behind wire fencing, which totally confused my camera, so Paul took this lovely shot of one leopard relaxing in the shade.

This shot was taken at 1/40 at f/5.6 as the lighting conditions were much darker. 

Some of the other cats were rather elusive as they are nocturnal or were keeping cool in the shadier parts of their enclosures.  This is a fantastic big cat collection, including:

  • African Leopards

  • Cheetahs

  • Ocelots - we didn't see them as they are nocturnal

  • Snow Leopard

  • Tiger

  • White Lions - we did see these, I will add the photographs to my next post

  • White Tigers

As I said before, this was a fantastic day out, with lots to see and excellent facilities.  We were there on a bank holiday, which I would recommend avoiding if you can as it was very busy.