It’s the time of year when everyone is writing reviews of the past 12 months. I’ve been particularly busy this year, so I thought why not take the opportunity to stop and recall just what I’ve spent my time doing.
The year began in early January – but it wasn’t until February before I really got going.
A visit to the Raptor Foundation in Cambridgeshire coincided with a light snowfall, offering the perfect conditions for some in-flight bird of prey photography…
That’s one place I hope to get back to this year, and I can recommend a visit yourself too.
Also in February, I visited Horsey, in Norfolk. I had a nice day on the beach in the company of fellow sunbathers; grey seals, and the small flocks of sanderlings…
In April, I visited the Scottish Highlands for the first time. I’m sure that won’t be the last time I visit either. I absolutely loved it. Among the highlights were seeing Red Grouse, Gannets, Ospreys, Dolphins, Black Grouse, Golden Eagle, Capercaillie & Red Squirrels. I’d like to get to see red grouse elsewhere at some point this year. I found them very characterful and photogenic. So I might be off to find them in the Yorkshire or Derbyshire Dales at some point. It was also my first visit to a gannet colony, which was a great experience. A couple of hours on a cliff well spent…
In August, I spent some evenings with the Terns at Priory Country Park, Bedford. They’re extremely difficult to photograph as they’re quite small, and very quick. But it was a great learning exercise, and I managed to get some rare photos of a parent feeding it’s young fledgling – an exchange which occurs in just a fraction of a second…
I spent the best part of autumn in British Columbia & Alberta, Canada. This was a trip I’d been planning for a good long time, and we were very fortunate to see all kinds of sights and wildlife over there.
Amongst my favourite photos from Canada are the landscapes from Maligne Lake…
Maligne Lake - DesaturatedThis is a medium format 5:4 version of my popular Maligne Lake photo.
I'm reduced the saturation, to concentrate the image on the light and shade of the landscape, and simplify the view to its most basic elements. It offers an alternative option to the colourful original, for a more muted surroundings.
Landscape Photography, Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
The Canadian Rockies were every bit as spectacular as people say, and I now have a few choice photos from the area myself.
Amongst the wildlife we saw, the bears, beavers, and moose will live longest in my memory. Just incredible animals, and all in such spectacular surroundings.
Canadian Western Bull MooseI took this photo in a chance encounter at Jasper National Park, Vancouver. Moose range over many miles, so I was very fortunate to see some in my short time there.
Wildlife Photography, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
I think the Canada trip taught me two key things about my photography, and how I should move forward next year.
Firstly, what has really stuck in my mind was the exemplary attitude they have to wildlife & wilderness over there. OK, so they’re still hunting most species during certain seasons, which is appalling. And the tar sands project continues to roll on un-checked. But in general, the attitude of the people in BC is a healthy warmth towards the outdoors. They show respect for the spectacular landscapes they have, and they are keen to share the wildlife in their national parks. This in particular is lacking in the UK, where many photographers and naturalists remain very secretive about the locations they frequent. The warm hospitality of the Canadians is extended to all aspects, and we were so very kindly tipped off by locals and photographers about great walks, & spots to find the most iconic species. To my mind, this is a model all countries should be looking at. Keeping these huge spaces as wild as possible, but inviting people in, and showing off what can be found and where. And it’s something I want to try to help with next year. To be as open as possible, and help others to enjoy the sights I’m privileged to see.
Secondly, I think Canada rekindled my love for landscape photography. That’s something I’ll write about in a few days, when I outline my plans, and a slight re-focussing for 2013.
Anyway, for now I’d just like to extend a huge thanks to anyone who has encouraged me during the year. Thanks to those who bought prints. It’s totally humbling to have someone pay good money for my photos, especially in such a drawn-out recession. It’s this and the kind feedback I receive that keep me motivated to post my photos online. I think I’m driven to stay creative, and I’d be taking photos whether anyone was interested or not. But it’s always very rewarding to see them pick up comments and praise from folk all around the world. Thanks guys.
Post by George Wheelhouse, 2012.