Tag Archives: uk

A Walk on the Wild Side

Long before I ever set foot in a studio and long before I retired from work to go to university, I cut my photography teeth on nature and wildlife in the nature reserves of the East Midlands and surrounding counties. Spending a day in winter finding and watching birds or, in summer, hunting for butterflies, moths and insects remains one of my abiding passions.
When it comes to wildlife competitive photography, I have only intermittent success, pitted as I am against some of the wonders of the wider world. My domestic animals struggle to hold their own against monkeys in frozen ponds, horses in the Camargue and the many exotic beasts seen on safari.
Every now and then, however, one of my favourite pictures will do well at one of the International Salons and it gives me that little extra bit of pleasure to know they’re having their moment in the sunlight.
The five pictures here were all successful in my first year of competing for the accreditation of AFIAP.

Mating Migrant Hawkers was accepted into two Salons
Broad Bodied Chaser was accepted into two Salons
Brown Hare Running was accepted into four Salons
Brimstone on Scabious was accepted into four Salons
A Wasp Masticating was accepted into eight Salons

Where it began …

… did that get Neil Diamond singing in your head? Never mind; maybe you’re not as old as me – or a cricket fan. Anyway this is the story of the first ‘real shoot’ I did after I finished at university. They were taken for a competition in the Amateur Photography magazine and the only criteria was to use added light, but not in a studio.

We drove in convoy out of the city at night to a retail park in Netherfield. Martyn and Beverley in the first car, because Martyn knew where he was going; Hannah and Mason following on; then Sian and Jack; and finally, Jan and I.
The dark street was perfect. The story was that Hannah was a ‘working girl’, standing under a lamp post waiting for a punter. So I had light shining down on her head and also from Sian’s car, parked to the left of the shot with the headlights on. Mason was driving the car in Mean Streets, pretending to be a punter.
It all went pretty well, considering I had only a shaky idea of what I was doing. Working Girl ended up being a composite but Mean Streets is a straight shot. It was either 2013 or 2014 when we did this and I look at them now and think, “I wish I’d known ….” but everything’s a learning curve, is it not?
It was only as we were packing up to go home that we realised the fence to the right of the shot bordered the Royal Mail depot and we’d had a very interested audience of postal workers while we were working!
It was Hannah’s first experience as a model and she proved that night, and many times since, that she’s a natural, responsive to direction and patient, as well as being adept at the snappy answer.

These were the first two pictures I ever entered in a FIAP Salon, hoping to achieve the first level of AFIAP.
Working Girl was accepted into five FIAP exhibitions.
Mean Streets was accepted into twelve FIAP exhibitions and earned a Highly Commended, an Honourable Mention and a Judge’s Award.