Wild Land: A worthwhile investment

Elgol beach, Skye (Peter Cairns)

I suspect like me, many of you reading this subscribe to a wide range of conservation bodies.  My susceptibility over the years to join pretty much anything and everything is witnessed by the extensive list of direct debits on my bank statements.   Continue reading

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Malta Massacre on Migration

It was John Muir who once said that conservation is a battle between right and wrong.  There are some things in this world that are just plain wrong and when it comes to our relationship with Nature, the list is extensive.   Continue reading

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Winter Iceland

I wonder whether there has ever been a place that has gone through a more meteoric rise to photographic stardom than Iceland? It is the unrivaled Susan Boyle of landscape photography honeypots and I have watched in amazement as a very much 21st century cocktail of media exposure has propelled this cold and unforgiving island into a major tourism destination. Continue reading

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Languid Lofoten


You would think that even in these days of meteorological uncertainty, snow above the Arctic Circle could be relied upon in February. Alas no. The normally snow-laden Lofoten Islands in northern Norway were bare this year; naked; bereft of their white mantle; lacking in the wow factor that I’ve become accustomed to. Still, there’s no point in griping (although I’ve always found it helps), one has to do one’s best. Continue reading

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Worth grousing about

Black grouse lekking, Scotland (Mark Hamblin)

As the lekking season draws nearer, Mark Hamblin talks about his long-term love affair with black grouse.

I have a love-hate relationship with black grouse. Mostly, I love them. The hate bit comes in when the alarm goes off in the middle of the night and the last thing I want to do is get out of bed and drive for an hour and stomp across a wet moorland in the dark to sit in a cold hide. Continue reading

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“A retrenchment to core activities”

August 1998. It was a nervous morning as Mark Hamblin and I sat in my kitchen drinking coffee like it was going out of fashion, awaiting the arrival of our first guest on our first photo tour in our first year of collaboration. We had no track record, no model on which to base the tour content and no idea how we would be received. By late afternoon the now familiar Wing-and-a-Prayer approach kicked in and somehow we seemed to pull it off. Continue reading

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A.M.A.N.D.A. Jan’ 14


As regular readers will know and as family and friends will testify, Christmas is never a good time in our household. I love it and I think Sam our son would too had he not been poisoned (no it’s not too strong a word) over the years by Scrooge himself. Continue reading

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2014: A year for doing?


Although I’ve never fully understood the significance of New Year as a watershed for reflection, evaluation, goal-setting, I nevertheless find myself doing exactly that around this time. 2013 was a busy old year with precious little time to come up for air, but it also turned out to be a bit of a turning point. Continue reading

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Fresh or fodder?

Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in snow-laden forest, Scotland.

On a recent photo tour I overheard my co-guide Mark Hamblin being asked about his favourite image. Mark replied that he tended towards images he’d recently taken, implying that ‘freshness’ equated to enduring ‘quality’. It’s inevitable that when photographers, even established pros like Mark, acquire new images, especially from a place that they’ve never before photographed, there is an emotional attachment to those images: Continue reading

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20 Nature & Wildlife Photography Tips

Pine marten (martes martes) in flowering heather, Scotland (Peter Cairns)

Now let’s be straight, there are plenty of good books and DVDs out there showing you how to become a better nature photographer.  So why are these tips any different?  Well rather than it being a full-blown banquet of information, it’s more of a drop-in buffet bar – tasty snippets of helpful advice in bite-size chunks.  I’m no techie-expert but I do have a few years of making lots of mistakes (and hopefully learning from them) under my belt. Continue reading

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