SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.

I can’t remember the last time that I was so excited about my photography. It’s a bit weird; I’m like a kid in a sweetshop. It’s not that I’m jetting off to the Pantanal or the Canadian Rockies. It’s not that National Geographic is sending me to Antarctica – quite the opposite in fact: I’m staying in Scotland, a tiny country with a Big Story (that’s the exciting bit).

Years ago I met a Swiss photographer who was passionate about the Serengeti ecosystem. He told me to always make sure I was “doing something” for a place, species or issue about which I was passionate. Ever since that chance meeting, I’ve done exactly that, or at least tried to.

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Competitions with a cause.

Is it me or is there a constant stream of new photography competitions cropping up? Hardly a week goes by these days when I don’t receive yet another invitation to part with some hard-earned and spend a laborious day (or two) preparing and uploading images and (unnecessarily) writing captions, because let’s be clear, entering photography competitions is no quick job.

So why bother?

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A.M.A.N.D.A – Festival Frenzy!

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I recently joined tens of thousands of sweltering, sweaty and very often staggering, music fans on a hot weekend near Kinross. T in the Park is Scotland’s premier music festival and I loved every minute. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and it certainly isn’t Pete’s: he doesn’t do big crowds, dancing and happy songs. He does Quo, AC/DC and Molly Hatchett (well at least he did 20 years ago). Continue reading

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A blunt but necessary stick?

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When it comes to resolving conflicts, I’m more a fan of the carrot than the stick. That makes this blog very tricky as it recommends a stick, a big fat heavy one at that. I’ve thought long and hard before posting it. Continue reading

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Pay me with inspiration.

Nature photography can be a tough business and thesedays it’s damned difficult to get even a toehold on the ladder. It’s not always possible but when it is, we like to try and help young photographers/naturalists progress their career and/or personal development. Continue reading

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It’s cool to cry.

I was never a great fan of Big Cat Diary. The naming of leopards and lions, the dramatization of their daily struggle for survival and the liberal sprinkling of cute kitten shots designed to pull at our heart strings and draw us in to what was deliberately constructed as a feline soap opera. No, it was a bit too fluffy for me, a bit nauseating, a bit emotional. Continue reading

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The Eagle’s Way: Jim Crumley

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Those of you who have endured my rants over the years will know that I just don’t get it. Life that is. I don’t get Christmas; I don’t get marriage; I certainly don’t get funerals. I don’t get cars; I don’t get jewellery; I don’t get food, especially pretentious food. The list goes on. I quite like tattoos though. And that frizzy hair that young women promoting discount sofas tend to have. Very nice. Overall however, I struggle to make sense of the world and its human inhabitants. Continue reading

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Puffin Bootcamp

Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) backlit at sunset, Fair Isle, Scotland.

There can be few wildlife photographers in the northern hemisphere without at least one decent puffin picture. The bar is probably higher with puffins than with any other bird. It is then even more important to find just the right place – lighting, background and viewpoint all play a part in just the right place – and our recent Puffin Bootcamp took us to the far north to just the right place: Fair Isle. Continue reading

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Uniqball: A unique ballhead (I think).

I’ve got to be honest; I’d almost prefer to watch chess than talk about tripod heads. It was then, with lukewarm enthusiasm (read ‘none’) that I greeted colleague Andy Rouse’s call about a new model on the market. As he eulogised about the unique merits of UniqBall with its unique 2-ball mechanism and its unique levelling ability, I could feel my eyelids getting heavy. At the end of the call however, I’d established that the head was indeed unique and that a demo was hightailing it in my direction.

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What do we want our landscape to look like?

Pine marten (Martes martes) portrait, Ardnamurchan, Scotland.

This blog is about pine martens. Well actually, that’s not true: it’s about prejudice and ignorance. Strong words perhaps, but fair I feel. It started with a recent post on Facebook. Continue reading

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