Eye Spy

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge (from a long time ago, trying to get back into the swing of things so picking up a few of the previous challenges):



So ‘Eye Spy’ as a theme. Open to a certain amount interpretation. Amongst otherthings I could base it around eyes, or perhaps just things that stand out – but then that’s simply photography really.


There could have been several other interpretations but I decided to go a little more obvious. A game of eye spy running through the whole alphabet – so this will be a long one, but mostly photos. There will be some letters with more than one photo, but I have used every letter at least once and every one has been used properly.


I hope you enjoy, here we go.


Eye spy with my little eye, something beginning with:


A – the A1

Follow the lights


B – Barn Owl (taken at The Raptor Foundation)…

X-E2 Raptor 497 copy

…or bridge (this is the Forth Rail Bridge)

Firth of Forth Rail Bridge


C – Castle (this is Bolsover Castle in the mist)…

Out of the mist

…or Cathedral (this is Bristol Cathedral)

Bristol Cathedral Choir Stalls B&W


D – de Havilland Dragon Rapide (taken at The Shuttle Worth Collection during the Military Pageant 2015)

de Havilland Dragon Rapide


E – Eyes, they are even eagle eyes (taken on a day at The Raptor Foundation)

Chilean Blue Eagle


F – Fountain (this is the Perseus and Andromeda fountain at Witley Court)

Witley Court


G – Grim Reaper (a manipulation of the effigy of Death on Sophie Charlotte’s sarcophagus)

Don't edit the reaper


H – Heron (seen when walking on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh)

Scottish Heron


I – Iguana (resident at the Exotic Pet Refuge)



J – Joust, huzzah!



K – Kaleidoscope (this one is at the Camera Obscura in Edinburgh)



L – Leopard (this one is an Amur Leopard resident at Edinburgh Zoo)…

Amur Leopard

or Lyvedon New Bield (that’s me with the family – the camera was sat on top of the camera bag on a timer for this shot)

Lyveden New Bield


M – Meerkat (another resident at Edinburgh Zoo)



N – Nene Valley Railway

NVR 73050 and 92212


O – Octopus Kite (yes, an octopus kite, and not a Dementor, at the Dunstable Downs Kite Festival

Octopus Kite


P – Peacock

Show off


Q – Quidditch (I kid you not, this owl’s name is Quidditch – one of its parents was in the Harry Potter Films, another resident at The Raptor Foundation)

Raptor 096


R – Roses

Garden Rose

Rain Drops on Roses


S – Snow (This was a view from Edinburgh Castle)



T – Trebuchet (this is at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle 256


U – Urban areas (this is the view over Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat)

The view from Arthur's Seat


V – Vulcan

XH558 W13 Take-off

Nose On

XH558 W2014 3


W – Weapons display (in Warwick Castle)

Warwick Castle 056


X – Xanthic (yellow) flower (a lily and a daffodil)




Y – Yak 50s (displaying at The Military Pageant at The Shuttle Worth Collection)

Yak 50 display team


Z – Zebras (at West Midland Safari Park)



That brings us to the end of this rather long game of Eye Spy. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed going through some old photos to find them all.

Any comments welcome.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge (from a long time ago, trying to get back into the swing of things so picking up a few of the previous challenges):



Anyone who has read my previous posts will have seen that one of the things I have spent some time photographing is Peterborough Cathedral. I also tend to try and get a few of any other cathedrals that I go to which at the moment is limited to three others – Ely, Lincoln, and Bristol (I have been to others, but not since having been bitten by the photography bug).


By the nature of what these buildings are for, they are built to impress and so the structures will be embellished with some ornate carvings and the structural elements will also be done in such a way that whilst individually they would look quite plain and do their job, when viewed together as a whole you get an intricate styling that can’t help but impress.


Here are a few shots of two Cathedrals, Peterborough first:

Looking Up

Reflections on the Cross

West Front Christmas 2015

New Building Lady Chapel


The next three are Bristol Cathedral:


Bristol Cathedral East End B&W

Bristol Cathedral Nave B&W

Bristol Cathedral Choir Stalls

Through My Eyes – My First Exhibition

Just over a month ago now – time seems to have got away from me – I had my first exhibition. It was held in Bewiched Coffee in Peterborough where I have had some items on the walls for some time now.

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The flyer for my first exhibition



This was originally at the suggestion of the branch manager of Bewiched and I had been considering it for some time before deciding I wanted to go ahead and do it. This lead to a long deliberation of exactly which photos I wanted to exhibit as well as how to do it, then getting everything sorted etc.


Eventually I decided which photos I wanted to use, then the format, size and so on. I decided to have a few different subjects as there is such a wide variation but I felt that I wanted something else as well to have a few other photos on show that would not otherwise be seen. Together with a chance find via an advert on Facebook this led to me creating a photobook featuring some more photos of similar subjects to the main prints and then also a handful of others that had not been included.


Here are a few photos from the event taken by Tom Briggs, one of my friends from university days who is also a keen amateur photographer – you can find Tom’s blog here: http://tommybblog.blogspot.co.uk/


2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 001 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 002 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 005 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 006 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 009 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 010 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 014 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 017 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 018 copy

2016-07-22 X-E2 Exhibition 021 copy


I was very pleased with how things went as it is not as if I am a well known name in the area. There were a lot of friends that came as you might expect but there were also people I did not know previously who came along to see what I had put together.


I sold two of the canvasses created, with the rest due to be going back up on the walls in Bewiched in the coming weeks to hopefully gain a bit more interest – the canvasses are a good size larger than the framed photos I have on the walls in there.


Here is the selection of photos I used for the exhibition:


Fields of Gold


Fun Fair and Cathedral


Target ride


Garden Rose


Over the wall


Follow the lights


Rain Drops on Roses


Reflections on the Cross


Dollar the Bald Eagle


I'm watching you!


Tempest the Red Tailed Hawk


NVR 73050 and 92212


NVR 92212


Here is the link to the online version of the photobook:



The two roses were the canvasses that sold, one on the night, the other soon after.


The three canvasses of the raptors were taken at The Raptor Foundation. Please see their website – http://raptorfoundation.org.uk/ – for more information about what they do.


The two trains were taken on the Nene Valley Railway. See their website – http://www.nvr.org.uk/ – for more information about this heritage railway.


This exhibition would not have happened without the support of a number of companies and people:


In addition to the above, my wife was also very supportive and forgiving of me whilst I was being a bit rubbish at home as I was trying to get myself organised for a number of weeks prior to the exhibition. I most certainly could not have done this without her support as well.

Saal Digital Photobook Review

So I had my exhibition on 22 July 2016 (a proper post on the exhibition will follow shortly) which featured a number of canvases but I had wanted a way to show a few more photos than just these canvases. I had originally thought of having a number of smaller prints floating around on tables etc but wasn’t convinced.

Whilst thinking of alternatives for once a suggestion made by Facebook actually stood out as a good idea. Saal Digital were looking for people to review their photobooks in return for a £40 voucher to spend towards said photobook. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss so applied for it and was duly sent the voucher.

Though it took me a while to get round to it I got started creating the photobook.

The process was all very straightforward – install the software on to the laptop and then create the photobook locally on the laptop before uploading once completed.

I have used two other companies (who shall remain unnamed) for photobooks previously, one of which worked entirely online (uploading to the photos to then add to an online project), and the other working locally to upload everything at the end.

In all honesty I don’t remember much about the other locally created photobook software but remember thinking I did not like it as much as I did the online one, so was not sure what I was going to think of the Saal process.

So first off you open the software, there is no need to log in you just make your choices and get started.


Going through the photobook options you get the pricing as you go along, but everything can be changed at any point – apart from possibly the book size (as in paper size, not the number of pages), but I didn’t particularly look at this so should not be taken as fact. It should be noted that you can create a number of items from Saal with the software, not just their photobooks.

Once you have made your initial decisions and got your basic costing you can start adding items to the photobook. This is a fairly simple process, you can stat from a totally blank page or you start from some basic designs which you can alter to fit what you want. Guidelines are visible for where the print bleed starts as well as standard markers such as the centre of the page. Alterations are simply done by clicking and dragging, photos can either be selected from a panel on the left hand side of the software or dragged in from a Windows Explorer window – whatever is easiest for you.


Quite importantly from my point of view is that because you are working locally there is no need to wait for photos to upload – being in a area with limited fibre based broadband upload speeds are not quick, so working locally saved a considerable amount of time.


Text is easily added and formatted as well, and the layout of pages is very simple, with items automatically snapping as they get in line with each other – particularly important if you want the tops of photos/text boxes in line for a consistent look.


Once finished you check over the options, get the final costing and once happy simply upload the project and make the payment. The upload did not appear to take long even on a slow line, payment was as straight forward as you would expect and the P+P was very reasonable indeed.

As a quick comparison, for equivalent books Saal compared to the online provider I have used before comparing like for like book, Saal appears to be the cheaper option, particularly when you consider Saal do not put their logo on the photobook, where as the other provider does and you have to pay more to have it removed. Saal are also able to create much longer photobooks than this alternative I have used before – up to 120 pages rather than 70.

The speed of delivery was very impressive indeed. I ordered the photobook during my lunch break on Monday and the photobook arrived at my door on Friday having been shipped from Germany where it was printed – and that was without choosing any speedier options.

So did the speed cause any issues with the print quality? In a word, no. The photobook was immaculate, the printing was of good quality, the finish to each page was very good. As was made clear during creation of the photobook all the pages are ‘lay flat’ so you can have photos going across any double spread which I did on a few occasions with a certain amount of trepidation but it all came out very well indeed.

I had selected the padded cover option which is probably the one thing I didn’t like – but that was personal preference rather than a problem with what was produced. Others seemed to like it so my opinion seemed to be the minority.

Once the book is ordered you also get sent a link to share the photobook online with anyone who might be interested including giving the option for other people to buy the book from that link if you wish.

Here is the link for viewing my order online (this will open a new window):


Here are some (low res) photos of the finished product:

2016-08-14 Saal Photobook 002 small

2016-08-14 Saal Photobook 008 small

2016-08-14 Saal Photobook 009 small

Customer service – this was also very good. Any queries were answered promptly and precisely with whatever information was needed.

In short I would highly recommend using Saal Digital for your photobook needs – the whole process appears to be very carefully thought out and well designed from start to finish, with the end product being very pleasing indeed.

Exciting Things…

Apologies to start

I’ll start off by apologising for having been so quiet on the blog front for a while. Having been on a bit of a roll for me before Christmas, time just dropped away and I couldn’t get to blogging, but I will hopefully be posting more regularly again before too long.


Now the exciting stuff…

So why has time been a problem? Aside from the usual family and work commitments, there have been some exciting developments for me. Here are the reasons my wife has had to put up with my (apparently insufferable) smug face.


First Thing

First of all, I have had a number of photos sold and a few extras going up in Bewiched Coffee in Peterborough where I have had some items up for the last year and a half or so.

In the tweet below one of the photos  (with the red rose in the middle panel) is of the photos of mine that were up at the time:

Quite exciting stuff, but not taken up that much time in itself. Just a few minor smug face moments.


Second Thing

I have been asked to do a few jobs.

Some are on a volunteer basis in return for a favour (more on this later) for a local gallery in Peterborough, Art in the Heart. This is helping provide some marketing images for their Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Another job was for Peterborough Cathedral. They needed a photo of Crowland Abbey to be used in the displays for their new visitor centre which is to be opened later this year as part of the preparations for the Peterborough 900 celebrations.

Needless to say I was very proud to have been asked to do anything like this.


Third Thing

It has been mentioned on a few occasions by the branch manager of Bewiched Peterborough that I could hold an exhibition in the coffee shop one evening after hours.

This was first mentioned probably a year ago and I was very tempted from that point but it was not until more recently I put much thought into it. So I have decided to bite the bullet and am holding an exhibition there on 22 July 2016:

X-E2 023 copy small

This is the artwork I put together for it, and as you can see I have received help from some other local businesses as well as Bewiched. This includes Art in the Heart who are letting me to borrow the easels to use for displaying the photos, hence I am doing a few photography bits and pieces to help out when I can as a thank you. The Dalmark Group have provided some sponsorship for the event, whilst i-Lid Design has provided advice and sourced some additional boards for display as a favour, both of which are greatly appreciated.

This hasn’t resulted in a proper smug face as yet (though I was very pleased with how the posters came out when the printed copies arrived), but I am hoping one will emerge on the night assuming everything goes to plan and the exhibition proves popular – my main worry is how many people will actually come along, though I am quietly hopeful.


Fourth Thing

This one came about as a result of my photos on the wall in Bewiched. One of the photos of Peterborough Cathedral was spotted by one of the trustees. First of all they bought a few of the photos I have of the Cathedral (that had not been on display), but in addition they put me in touch with the people who run the Cathedral Gift Shop. This was with a view to seeing if they would be interested in stocking some of my photos in the shop.

I went along to the first meeting with a handful of prints prepared as examples and a selection of further photos on the laptop. After the first meeting it was decided that the interest was definitely there and I went away to prepare some of my favourite photos.

I put together a selection of about 30 photos for consideration. The following meeting came around and we were looking through the photos to see if any were wanted.

It was decided that 2 photos would be used for postcards that the Cathedral would be ordering and would pay royalties for the use of the photos. This was quite pleasing in itself. But the main order was very pleasing.

It was decided that they wanted to buy a stock of 6 photos. Of each of these photos they wanted 1 framed example, and then 10 further prints foam mounted. I have produced all of these and provided it to the Cathedral who are paying up front. Queue an epic smug face.

I delivered these about two weeks ago to the Cathedral. Having dropped them off on the Friday, I popped in with the family on the Monday. I hadn’t expected the photos to be up as not long had passed and I knew some rearrangement of the stock would be required, but it seemed silly not to look just in case. Cue the most epic smug face so far:

X-E2 002 small

Very, very chuffed with that. Insufferable as well apparently. Oh well.


That’s All Folks!

So there you have my update from the last few months. Posts will probably still be sparse until the exhibition is out of the way as I still have a lot to decide and organise, hopefully I won’t leave it too long though.

Thanks for reading.

Something New – Starry Night

Last night was very clear (for a little while at least) so I decided to try and photograph something that I had been meaning to try for some time – the night sky.

Being in the northern hemisphere we don’t get the best views of the Milky Way and I knew that we were too close to Peterborough in particular to get a properly dark sky. But there are still plenty of stars and there was one spot I thought might be worth a try even if not perfect.

This is something I had been intending having a go at for a long time. My degree – from many years ago – was in Maths and Astronomy. The astronomy was something to do with the Maths rather than something I already knew a lot about but had always been interested and it seemed like a good opportunity, but I haven’t really done anything related to it since.

As this was the first time I had attempted trying to capture the sky at night this was all a bit of experimentation so was surprised to get something I was quite pleased with, though there are plenty of improvements to be made.

This was the very first attempt which was unfortunately time as a car came driving towards me from the front so the headlights blew out a large portion of the photo, but with some post processing I still quite liked the effect of this making it look like some kind of projectile impacting close by – and as a bonus still a handful of stars visible:

Starry 1

The next couple we just trying some different angles – of course this was making no difference to the sky itself but was more working on the foreground for some added interest:

Starry 2

Starry 3

The next photo I am sharing was another one with a car, but this time the car was approaching from behind so instead of losing a lot of the photo it actually gave a pleasant lighting to the foreground whilst leaving the night sky relatively visible – basically some very convenient if accidental light painting. I would guess looking at the light trails of the car that they were using a sat nav – the blue streak at the right hand side of the photo is where I am getting that possibility from:

Starry 4

One more looking the same way but deciding on a portrait shot rather than landscape – puts the tree a bit more in perspective for the scale of what we are looking at even though it still doesn’t do the difference in scale any justice:

Starry 5

Followed by one attempt looking virtually straight up:

Starry Starry Night

Before a final photo looking in a different direction:

Starry 6

I was quite pleased with these as a first attempt but hope that doing a bit more research into what is needed will be able to do better in the future.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave any comments you wish below.

Peterborough on a Wet Night 2015

I popped out with the camera and tripod briefly on Tuesday evening last week trying to get a few pictures in the wet which can look quite spectacular with the older buildings – the Cathedral in particular – and with the added bonus of the Christmas lights being up thought it was worth braving the rain.

Here are a few of the results.


I started off in the Cathedral precincts, setting out to get the whole of the West face of the Cathedral – not an easy task as there are a lot of buildings around it. There is a lot of work going on for restorations in preparations for the 900th anniversary of the Cathedral coming up in 2018 – you can see the scaffolding up at the moment on the North side of the West front and also around the tower on the same side:

West Front Christmas 2015

I then moved in a little closer to the West front to get smaller views in, first off still including the arches in full:

West Front Arches Christmas 2015

Then moving in a little closer for a closer look at the main entrance. This has all been improved with a new ramp and new glass doors (the original wooden doors are still in place but will remain open whilst the Cathedral is leaving a more welcoming aspect for visitors):

Welcoming Entrance

I then went to leave the precincts to go over to Cathedral Square – the centre of town. I stopped before leaving the grounds to get a photo looking out through the Norman arch into Cathedral Square, looking over towards the guildhall and St John’s Church. This was an idea I originally tried last year (at the suggestion of my wife I would hasten to add):

Through the Norman Arch, Christmas 2015

The final photo is of the guildhall and the Christmas tree in Cathedral Square with St John’s church in the background. The tree has caused some controversy as it was rather costly (£40,000 – even though it should last a few years this wasn’t an entirely popular choice), looks nice lit at night but it doesn’t look so nice during the day:

Cathedral Square Christmas 2015

This wasn’t everything I was after as I had wanted to get a picture looking back towards the Cathedral to see the top of it over the precinct walls but unfortunately time was against me as I had elsewhere to be. That just means I will have to go again at some point soon though.

If you want to know anymore about the Peterborough 900 (anniversary celebrations for the Cathedral) please see the link below:


I hope you enjoyed the photos, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

The Raptor Foundation Photography Day 2013

As per my re-start post I have come back to re-creating a few of my old blogs. I thought it was time to come back to an old blog again as their are only 3 left (including this one) to be re-created. As with previous re-creations there might be some minor corrections to text but the photos are as used in the original blog with only some cropping.

This blog is of the photography day I had organised which I decided to have a practice session for as covered in my previous blog post. I took lots and lots of photos and I have actually reduced the number of photos in this blog from the original as there were a number that were similar – there still are I guess but not to the same extent but as explained at the end I felt there was something different to each shot included. Not a lot of words to this one again, but there was never likely to be for a photography day.

So last weekend the photography day at The Raptor Foundation finally came around. So camera in hand it was off to the foundation to meet a few fellow Fujians with some friends and get photographing. Having seen the weather reports I was expecting quite a bit of rain but it turned out to be another very hot day.

The morning was set up as a portrait session with a number of residents followed by some flying in more natural surroundings than is usually the case in the foundation itself.

The first raptor up was Shanni the African Spotted Eagle Owl.






Tom, a friend from uni, and Martin taking their opportunities. You can find a blog that Tom did on the day here:



During the morning session a number of birds were brought out so that not everyone was crowded round the same bird. Here is Simon, a friend from the athletic club I run for (Peterborough Athletic Club) letting Star – a Saker Falcon – get used to him a relax whilst waiting for photo opportunities.



This is Rufus, a Chaco Owl.





Star the Saker Falcon













Lizzie – another Fujifilm user – with Rufus the Chaco Owl.


Shanni the African Spotted Eagle Owl again.


Filer – long eared owl




Playing with depth of field, focused on Rufus the Chaco Owl with Star the Saker Falcon in the background.


Playing with depth of field, focused on Star the Saker Falcon with Rufus the Chaco Owl in the foreground.


Tom and Star, the Saker Falcon.


Rufus, the Chaco Owl.






Owlbert – White Faced Scops Owl.








JoJo – Barn Owl.









Having a stretch.


Gem – Harris Hawk.




Topaz – Tawny Owl. Topaz was very young as you may have guessed born only about 4 weeks previously in the foundation.







Owlbert again.


Ginger – European Eagle Owl.






Dollar – Bald Eagle.



Dollar with Vicky and Katie who looked after us all day and were very helpful and of course knowledgeable about all the birds as well – a very great asset to the foundation indeed.






The talons, the killing machine part of any raptor.




Showing off for the cameras.














Then it came to the displays – being such a hot day not all of the birds wanted to fly but Vicky and Katie (in this shot with Shanni) did the best they could without putting the birds at risk from the heat. Unfortunately my flight shots weren’t up to much this time but got a few I was happy with, most of them in the afternoon session.


Vicky with Gem.



Gem with Tom in the background.


Gem took a detour into a tree, and Martin being the tallest person there was asked to tempt Gem down with a tasty morsel…


…before handing her back to Vicky.


Katie with Troy, a Red Tailed Hawk.



Troy was missing two of his tail feathers as he was starting to malt.









Topaz was the most eager to fly – just flying in front of Margaret here – though being so young and in training his flights were all short.







Lizzie and Margaret taking the opportunity to stroke Topaz – as we all did – before breaking for lunch which was a buffet provided for us in the party room.


hen out to the afternoon display. Quidditch – which is one I have photographed many times before – but didn’t get any of him on this day. Next up was this Red Tailed Hawk – not Troy that we saw earlier though. this was Tempest.



Then out came Basil, a Burrowing Owl.



Dundee the Kookaburra – the bird I sponsor (for that year) and the only non-raptor species in the foundation. Sponsored as when it came to choosing my daughter decided on Dundee because “he makes a funny noise”.


Ginger the European Eagle Owl out again for the afternoon display.


Bludger – a cross between a Siberian and Turkmenian Eagle Owl – coming in low over the crowd. One of Quidditch’s siblings hence another Harry Potter name (there mother was in the films). Snitch (another sibling) was also out but was refusing to fly.



Treat time.


You’ve still got some…on the side of your mouth – both sides in fact.


Lunau – Lanner Falcon. Strangely I think my best flight shots were of Lunau despite how much faster she was. Not all in sharp focus but a few not far off all things considered.


Although in this one I missed Lunau entirely.






Not actually attacking Vicky, just got a bit close for comfort.






Lunau was the last of the flying display, but Vicky and Katie brought out two Barn Owls for us to fly briefly and get a few shots with.


Martin having a go.










Martin again.



The Barn Owls were the last official part of the photography day but the centre was still open so we all had a wander around to get a few more pictures and there was another brief flying display at the end of the day as well.


Not what you were expecting perhaps. With there being lots of flowers about there are quite a lot of flying visitors of the non-feathered variety.


Captain Scarlet, Bataleur Eagle.



Guillermo, Chilean Blue Eagle.



Lanner Falcon (I think).






The fish pond in the middle of the foundation. Whenever anyone looked over the platform the fish swarmed expecting to be fed leading to this frenzied mob.


Dollar again, having a bit of a preen and ruffle in his feathers.





Don’t know if anyone has seen The Dark Crystal (a Jim Henson Film) or not but in this shot Dollar reminded me of one of the evil Skeksis.




Snowy Owl



A few from the final flying display now. Red Tailed Hawk.





This particular Kestrel is only a matter of weeks old but is fully fledged already and in training.

This brought an end to an amazing day at The Raptor Foundation.

It was great to meet fellow photographers that I have been conversing with not only to organise the day but also on photos past and present and look forward to hopefully managing more of the same in the future. Thank you again for coming and making the day possible.

The day itself I felt was spectacular with the staff being extremely helpful and knowledgeable and able to answer any questions we had.

Should anyone get the chance to do this I would highly recommend it as the opportunities for the portrait session are very different and worth it to get the more natural settings involved.

I am sorry this has gone on so long and apologise for some of the photos being similar in some cases but felt I wanted to share them as I felt each had a different aspect or detail in it.

Thanks for viewing.

The Raptor Foundation – Practice Day 2013

As per my re-start post I have come back to re-creating a few of my old blogs. I thought it was time to come back to an old blog again as their are only 3 left (including this one) to be re-created. As with previous re-creations there might be some minor corrections to text but the photos are as used in the original blog with only some cropping.

As mentioned my previous old blog recreation – A Grand Day Out at RAF Waddington International Airshow 2013 – I did still have a bit of a problem with the camera. There was something on either the inside of the lens or on the sensor leaving a black smudge on the photos. In most uses this was not often visible but against a bright blue sky it was often quite noticeable. Thankfully for this day there were very few instances it was visible as there were no single colour backgrounds for it to be distinguished against. I had organised for the following weekend at The Raptor Foundation which there were a few fellow photogs coming along to from the Fujifilm users site, myfinepix, which is where these blogs used to be before the site was closed.

I’ve organised a photo day at The Raptor Foundation next Saturday (27th July – there are still 6 spaces left if people are interested), and last Saturday (13th July) I had the day to myself so I thought I’d take advantage to go and get some practice in. Here are a few of the results. There won’t be a huge amount of commentary, I’m hoping the pictures will speak for themselves but I’ll let you decide whether that has worked or not.

Unfortunately I have not been able to identify all the birds – sorry, should have taken more pictures of the boards naming them all.


Young Bald Eagle





Captain Scarlet – a Bataleur Eagle and a retired RAF squadron mascot – with nictitating eyelids closed.



Guillermo, the Chilean Blue Eagle – until recently these were classed as buzzards.



Dundee the Kookaburra – when choosing a bird to adopt Beth insisted on Dundee because “he makes a funny noise”. The only non-raptor species in The Raptor Foundation.


A cross breed Turkmenian and Siberian Eagle Owl – called Quidditch. Quidditch’s dad was in the Harry Potter films hence the name.



Captain Scarlet out for the flight display.




Barn owl



Lanner falcon



I was pleased with a couple of shots of the falcon in flight even though the bird wasn’t necessarily in focus but pleased with the action shots – it was very quick indeed and a few times I just missed it completely.




Guillermo again – he flew in the second display.



Saker Falcon



Brahminy Kite


Crested Serpent Eagle


Troy, a Red Tailed Hawk. Another retired RAF squadron mascot.






Turkmenian Eagle Owl, first bird out in the second flying display.



Guillermo in the flying display.



Little owl


White-faced Scops Owl



Peregrine Falcon – again the bird not really in focus, best I managed with the speed he was flying at.







Guillermo with nictitating eyelids closed. The nictitating eyelids are closed to protect the birds eyes whilst diving and being able to retain full sight as well.

It was another fantastic day at the foundation. Like Waddington it was very hot and although there was meant to be a third flying display it was decided that it was far too hot for the birds to be out and being a sanctuary rather than a specifically tourist place the birds health comes first and rightly so.

I was very happy with a lot of these shots and a number of others as well – hopefully you have enjoyed seeing them. These were all from just an ordinary day without any specific shows for photographers – hoping that with the set up for photos (portrait and in flight) there will be a number of shots to be showing after next weekend.

As always any CC would be greatly appreciated.

My Good, Bad, and Ugly Competition Results from ViewBug 4

Following on from the first post in this series here are the next sets of results.

The next updates were a string of final results.


Final Result: Outdoor Galore

Having had an update in the top 10% I was hoping this managed to keep going along similar lines.

As a reminder here was my entry:

Fields of Gold

So here was the final result:


Top 10% again, an moved up by 61 places in the vote.

This was out of a total of 14,249 entries, so heading towards the lower end to the top 10% but can’t complain – a nice result.

The link below will take you to the winners and finalists as well as giving a link to all of the entries made:



Final Result: It is a Wild World

This had had a rather shaky start in it’s first week, then picked up quite drastically the following week, though not enough to get me in the top 30%. So how did it finish?

As a reminder here was my entry:

Shallow Falls

So here was my final standing:


Having gone up by about 4,000 after the first week I had now dropped by about 2,000 – this is obviously a photo that has very mixed reactions from people.

There were 16,298 entries for this competition so I was in the top 50% at my highest though this did not last long.

Below is a link to the winners and finalists where you can also get to view all of the entries:



Final Result: Image of the Month Vol. 1

Entries for this competition are picked automatically from the uploads you make in a given month. The photo picked automatically will be the most liked/awarded by other users – you can change the automatic entry if you want to. The only restriction is that the photo has to have been uploaded in the previous month – as you can imagine there will likely be a lot of entries even though only one photo can be entered by each member.

For this first edition of the competition the photos had to have been uploaded in August, volume 2 would have to be uploaded in September etc.

So here was my entry:

Don't edit the reaper

For those that haven’t seen the post this was a creation from two of my photos which I did a post about here: Experiments with photo editing

So how did it do?


Ok, so not in the top 50%, but ranked ahead of over 18,000 photos – I can live with that.

There were a total of 41,381 entries for this competition.

The winners and finalists and a link to all of the entries can be found at the link below:



Final Result: Mark of Time

This had been in the voting stage for some time – and with how well the photo had been performing it certainly felt like it.

As a reminder here is the entry, the same photo used for It is a Wild World:

Shallow Falls

Here was the final standing:


Oh. Oh dear. It has dropped further again. This is my lowest standing in this competition over the weeks, but that’s ok. realistically it was never going to be much better than previous weeks, though you always hope for an improvement.

There were a total of 9,998 entries in this competition, not a big entry compared to most.

Here is the link to the winners and finalists which also has a link to view all entries:



Final Result: High Speed Photography

Another new contest that had a very short voting period, this was simply a shot with a quick shutter speed to capture the moment. Here was my entry:

X-E2 Raptor 365 copy

But how did it do? Here was the final result:


Top 30% again, quite happy with that.

There were a total of 7,655 entries so I was only just outside the top 20% – a touch frustrating perhaps but still happy with a top 30.

Here is the link to the list of winners and finalists which has a link available to all of the entries:



Weekly Rank Update: 16 October 2015

Having misplaced one week’s results, and one more week where there I only had a final result and no other updates this brings us to 16 October with 5 new competitions in the voting stages.

Plants and Critters

Photos featuring animals/insect etc and plants. Fairly straightforward.

Here as my entry:

I'm watching you!

This was taken on a photography day at The Raptor Foundation in 2013 – a chance to get closer to the raptors than normal whilst they were in more natural settings than in the main enclosures.

So here was my standing:


I was a little disappointed with this had hoped it would have done better, but top 50% is still more than acceptable.

Meditation Places

Calming scenes or places that you like to go.

Here was my entry:

Fields of Gold

The same photo as used in Outdoor Galore which finished in the top 10% so I already had reasonable hopes for this.

So here was my standing:


Not doing so well, but still top 50% so again I shouldn’t complain – still a pleasing update.

Mix it Up

This was something a little more unusual for me. The theme was to share your best edited photos. Not simply tweaks to contrast and colour adjustments but more adventurous composites and alterations. There was only really one photo I had to use for this and it was the one that featured in the image of the month volume 1:

Don't edit the reaper

This was a composite of a highly adapted photo of the (originally) golden effigy of death from the sarcophagus of Sophie Charlotte and a fire pit from a friends wedding. More details of this photo can be found here: Experiments with photo editing

So here was my standing:


Not the greatest start by any means but it could certainly be worse.

Inspiring Places

As it sounds.

I had two entries in this competition, ones that I have used on quite a regular basis – both are from Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire:

Vaulted Ceiling

Fountains Abbey

Both of these photos have done well in the past with the first one being the only finalist I have had in any of the competitions.

So here was my standing:



Two pleasing results – hopefully there would be some improvements as we go along but very happy so far.

On to the final update for that week.

Image of the Month Vol. 2

As with volume one, one entry from any photos uploaded in the previous month.

Here was my entry:

Houghton Mill

This was from a very sunny, still, mid-September day at Houghton Mill, the mill was not operating so the water of the river remained very still allowing for the reflections.

So here was my standing:


Although not in the top 50% just looking at the sheer volume of entries I was ranked above I was very happy with this. Being in the top 50% would have been very nice, ranking ahead of nearly 60,000 photos is a very nice feeling.

I will stop here for this update and continue next time with further results as I get closer to being up to date with the results.

Thank you for reading.