Natural History Photography – Why? Reason 1

4:30 am Beep, beep, beep. The alarm goes off. I’m comfy & warm, it’s freezing out there but there’s stuff to do before getting on the road. Why do I get up? To take some landscape shots…

A few hours later it’s still dark and we’re at our first destination. I’m reckying by torchlight for the perfect spot to set up the tripod. The car was reporting -6 degrees when we stopped, feels at least that cold to me. Damn, there’s a light breeze. I’ll really need that breeze to drop, if the reflections are to be perfect.

The first glow of dawn light tinges the sky, it’s so peaceful, serene even and I feel that oneness with mother nature that you just won’t get in a town or with a bunch of folk. Time to take a few longish exposures.

It’s light now & the sun is about to rise above the horizon, birds start singing, it’s time for the main event. The breeze has dropped, almost as if nature is holding her breath & right on cue too. Boom, those first mandarin coloured rays of sun illuminate the Snowdon Horseshoe. The warm light quietly yet inexorably rolls down the mountains, illuminating them in it’s fiery glow. The lake in front of me forms a perfect still mirror, reflecting the morning mountain beauty; mingling it with reflections of the lake’s own glacial boulders. Click, the picture I wanted, saved to flash card. Time to just enjoy these fine moments of sun-kissed mountains & lake.

Then it’s back to the car. Get out the stove to cook up beans on toast for breakfast. And then time to drive to our daytime destination, there are 7 hours of daylight left to make best of, with camera & Shank’s pony.

Snowdon Horseshoe at dawn, from Llynnau Mymbyr
Snowdon Horseshoe at dawn, from Llynnau Mymbyr

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Support

Support

We all come across obstacles in our life. Some are boundaries that perhaps should not be crossed, whilst others need bridging to allow the continuance of our journey.

Larger obstacles require good supports for the bridge to be strong. Our choice of support & method of bridging can not only change our final destination but also reflects heavily upon ourselves & the long-term likelihood of success.

So seek out support when you need it, but whence it shall come; choose this wisely.

Missed Reflections

Missed Reflections

Missed Reflections

I stand quietly, soaking in my heart-warming surroundings. A thought crosses my mind.

As we’re whisked, by modern travel & busy lives, from one business or social connection to another; what reflection do we miss?
Do we lose a valuable perspective, an engaging encounter here, a fulfilling experience there?
Or do these things simply not matter in our modern world of searching for artificial creatures on our smartphones, for artificial fulfilments in artificial lives.

I continue to ruminate upon the thought whilst enjoying the sensory inputs around me.

The bouncing strides of a female Wheatear flashing her pied tail feathers as she goes.
The gentle caress of a shrimp as it swims across one’s digits.
A warm sweet petrichor wafting across my nostrils affirming the life giving rains that recently blessed the land.
The gentle lap of waves, twitter of birds, sigh of breeze.
Before it is all briefly shattered by the cacophony of a productive unit delivery system whooshing another canned group of humans to their inevitable expedited destinies.

The thought forms sharp focus in my brain.

How can we remain connected to nature, rooted in earthy reality; when the only reflection we have time for is our own. The mask we check, the aurora we hope to maintain whilst facing this media centric, image obsessed human sphere that we have created for ourselves.

Perhaps we would do well to make room for a more natural type of reflection. A reflective consciousness that tethers us to base earth. That feels nature, breathes it, lives within her bounds. How else shall we know the answer to questions like that a wise person once posed …

“When the last tree is felled, the last river is poisoned …”
What good will all your money do you as you gasp your last oxygen starved breath through dry parched mouth, hunger pangs in belly?

I’ve only ever heard one convincing answer… no good whatsoever!

So how else shall we learn to save ourselves – the greatest conservation challenge that we face.

TL/DR
We move ever further towards valuing that which we do not need, at the expense of that which we do. In doing so we give ourselves no time to recognise the folly of our own ways.

The Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Grey Wagtails are a bright active bird, rather more colourful than their name suggests.

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They prefer to live along fast flowing sections of rivers & streams and are native residents across much of Britain, particularly western areas like Wales.

An ideal location would be one with plenty of rocks & pebbles to perch upon and with rocky banks that present ideal nesting hollows & cracks. The further addition of some woodland shade would provide the perfect abode with plenty of insects just waiting to be made a meal of. The two pictures in this post illustrate just such a location and the wagtail in the first picture is holding a scrumptious beak-full of wiggly insects.

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Grey Wagtail populations are susceptible to harsh winters, amongst other things, and they are currently considered to be of amber conservation status (RSPB).

Like all Wagtails, the Grey Wagtail bobs & wags its long tail almost constantly. If you are lucky enough to find an upland river where Dippers & Wagtails share the stage, you’d be forgiven for feeling that you were viewing the next energetic dance craze! If you’re visiting my neck of the woods, look out for the action along the Afon Dulas.

For more Wagtail pictures, pop across to my galleries at Natures Universe.