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Blue Monday: Colourful Corvid

Jay

Blue Monday: Colourful Corvid

Most people think of members of the crow family as being large, black and raucous. Whilst the Jay is not a small bird by any means, it is definitely the most colourful and shy corvid family member in the UK. It was a treat to watch this beauty in the Wild Woods at RHS Wisley Gardens last week, as I slowly wended my way back out from volunteering with Butterfly Conservation in The Glasshouse. That flash of blue on the wings of the jay is just as startlingly beautiful and iridescent as the wings on the Blue Morpho butterflies, flying in the tropical zone of the glasshouse at the moment.

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Wings Of Love

Atrophaneura semperi - Big Billy or Red-bodied Swallowtail

Wings Of Love

This seemed like the perfect butterfly image for the Fotospeed challenge this week. With Valentine’s Day approaching how could I not share my love of lepidoptera with you all?

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Malachite Macro

Malachite Macro

Malachite Macro

One of the great joys of visiting a butterfly house is the ability to see large, tropical butterflies up close. Every single tiny and perfect detail of these beautiful creatures is revealed. The wings are a mosaic masterpiece of scales and hairs that will allow the butterfly to blend perfectly into its’ surroundings, or send a bold warning to potential predators. The malachite is a master of disguise but the macro lens allows me to bring you the finer details of it’s camouflage. This was taken at RHS Wisley Gardens last Monday while I was volunteering for the Surrey branch of Butterfly Conservation UK, helping man our stand in the Glasshouse, during the annual Butterflies In The Glasshouse event. I really enjoy engaging with the public at this event, sharing my passion for butterflies of the UK and Europe, as well as the tropical species. I’m sharing this macro for Wex Mondays this week and I hope it will inspire others to look more closely at butterflies too.

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In The Pink

In The Pink

In The Pink

Having just recently been awarded a Judge’s Commendation for Bird Photographer Of The Year (for the second year in a row), I decided to start creating more abstract and creative images, in camera, of various birds. Birdworld, near Farnham, provides the perfect setting for my experiments and the flamigos proved to be the ideal subjects for capturing unusual portraits. I really enjoyed studying the shapes and lines of their poses! This piece was my favourite composition from yesterday. I just loved the sinuous shape of the neck, flowing in and out of the frame. My commended images have both been in the Creative category for BirdPOTY and have involved a lot of processing. As most of you know, that is definitely where my passions lie, but I do want to expand my portfolio with creative pieces that only require minimal processing, like this flamigo. A bit of Topaz Clarity, selective blur, dodge and burn with some colour adjustments were all that was required. It’s also the kind of composition that I know I can get even more creative with, if the mood takes me. I’m posting it today for both the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges. I would love to get some feedback and ideas! I shall include my commended images, below, for you to see, and do head over to the BirdPOTY pages on Photocrowd to see all the shortlisted and commended entries this year. There are some extraordinary images to view!

Wren In The Woods

“Wren In The Woods”, BirdPOTY 2017 Judges Choice. Published in BirdPOTY 2017 book

Caracara With Character

“Caracara With Character”, BirdPOTY 2018 Judges Commendation

 

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The Unexpected Grass Snake

Grass Snake in The Glasshouse

The Unexpected Grass Snake

If you go down to The Glasshouse at RHS Wisley Gardens for the Tropical Butterfly event, you might just spot the local grass snake who has been coming into the warmth of the tropical zone for the last few winters. It’s currently the hibernation period for our native reptiles. This clever snake has found a great place to keep warm as well as being able to keep feeding on any insects and small mammals that have also found their way into the shelter of the glasshouse.