Winnings & New Beginnings!
Well what a month March has turned out to be. I recently made the decision to take the plunge and turn ‘pro’. I absolutely adore spending time photographing wildlife and being in the outdoors, I equally enjoy sharing this with my guiding and workshop clients. I’m sure this harks back to my days as a skiing instructor and Salmon fishing guide. I used to get an immense sense of satisfaction from teaching someone to ski or to help them catch their first salmon. I’m now getting the same buzz from seeing my clients’ faces light up when they look at the images they’ve just captured.
As well as concentrating more time to guiding and running workshops there will be more products launched in the near future. Other projects will involve working a lot closer to home with the amazing array of species on my doorstep (sometimes literally!) and I’ll keep you posted as and when these develop. Other projects in the pipeline will involve a lot more planning and due to the complicated logistics these will run over a period of years, one of which I’ve been excited about for a very long while but time limitations have always put this on hold.
I was taken aback earlier this week when I received a call from the organiser of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards. I’m delighted to share with you that I was awarded second place in the portrait category and first place in the behaviour category. To say I’m ‘over the moon’ is an understatement. Here are the two images and a wee bit about how they came about.
2nd Place - Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2014 - Portrait Category
This Mountain Hare image was taken on the 23rd of January of last year on a day spent in the Cairngorms with my friend James Shooter. The day didn’t particularly look promising but as it turned out, it has now become the most commercially successful day I’ve ever had. The first hare we photographed ended up in The Times.
Towards the end of the day we literally stumbled upon the ‘award winning’ hare. We started off in a position above the hare and after surfing down the snowy slope on our bellies we ended level with it. After a few minutes the hare decided it didn’t like us and hopped off out of sight. I said to James it may be worth waiting just in case it decided to return. It didn’t take long to do exactly this. Only this time it stood bolt upright and posed beautifully for us. I decided this image would look great as a canvas so I turned the image into black & white and cloned out the boulder. I was so pleased with it I tweeted about the canvas and shortly afterwards I received an email from Photobox inviting me to be a guest blogger. I agreed. Then to top it off, a second place in the S.N.P.A!
This is a great lesson in what can be achieved if you’re willing to go out in conditions that most others wouldn’t!
1st Place - Scottish Nature Photography Awards 2014 - Behaviour Category
There’s always a story behind an image and this one is no different.
Lyndsey and I had just returned from a trip to our family home in Mull. As I stood in the office unpacking the camera gear, my attention was drawn to the antics going on in the adjacent field. There were two roe deer bucks squaring each other up, and without warning they charged across the field and ended up either side of the gate right in front of our house. They paced up and down the fence line, pawing the ground whilst walking parallel to one another. Eventually one made the brave decision to leap the fence and launch a full blown attack on its rival. When you’re photographing a scene like this if you actually see the action through the viewfinder whilst pressing the shutter, you’ve missed the shot. I knew something good had happened when Lyndsey said to me (in a very serious tone) ‘tell me you got that?’ It was only when we reviewed the images on the computer that I realised I’d captured something a bit special. More images of this epic battle can be viewed here.
A Dedication & Thank you.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends, family and clients who've supported me in the journey thus far.
These awards are dedicated to a very special lady called Betty Morris (Aunty Betty, as I called her) She was my primary school teacher when I was seven years old, she was also a close family friend. I wouldn't be sitting here now typing this if it wasn't for her sharing with me her passion and love of nature and the wonders it holds, she encouraged me to study books on birds and wildlife and sowed the seed of enthusiasm that has grown within me. For this I will always be indebted.
Betty Morris - An inspirational teacher and much loved friend - Died 26th March 2015