Category Archives: Photo challenge

Craft fair 2016

For the third year running I entered the world of commerce,  setting  my photos to work raising money for charity. The craft fair I had a stall at was ideally timed for Christmas shopping. Once again I was selling cards, bookmarks, large prints and calendars featuring my wildlife photos. As ever, the craft fair was a great opportunity to talk to people about wildlife.

Craft Fair stand 2016
Craft Fair stand 2016

This year my bestsellers were the 2017 calendar (now sold out!) and the kestrel and barn owl bookmarks. I am really pleased bookmark sales have been good this year, as I sold hardly any in previous years, but I really like them (if I am allowed to say that). It’s also good the calendars have all sold, since they obviously have a use-by date.

The other thing I am pleased about with this year’s calendar is that most of the photos were taken this year. I haven’t had much time to process my photos this year, but I have taken quite a lot, and some of them made the grade for the calendar.

Disappointingly, I only sold one large  print. Since I do the same craft fair each year, I wonder if I have saturated that particular market. Do you have any suggestions for other photo products I could sell, next year?

Photo special: Macrophotography course

It’s easy to overlook small things, and miss the everyday beauty (and weirdness) that surrounds us. Dr C very kindly gave me a macro lens for my birthday, back in April, and since then I’ve been seeing the world differently. It’s been a revelation.

I realised I needed to learn how to use it, so booked myself on a Surrey Wildlife Trust macrophotography course, led by Adrian Davies. The course took place in an old orchard, in the most glorious sunshine. There was plenty of unexpected beauty to be found, once you start looking at it. Here are my best shots from the day.

Globe thistle
Globe thistle
Bee on bramble flower
Bee on bramble flower
Irridescent fly
Irridescent fly
Water drops at the heart of a flower
Water drops at the heart of a flower
Hoverfly on bramble flower
Hoverfly on bramble flower
Cranesbill flowers
Cranesbill flowers
Butterfly
Butterfly
Gatekeeper(?) butterfly on bramble flower
Gatekeeper(?) butterfly on bramble flower

Photo special: robins

The robins have been very busy in our garden of late – I think they must have chicks nearby, but I’m not sure where they’re nesting. So last weekend I spent some time trying to get a good photo of one.

Here are my best attempts – not all perfect focus, and a little noisy in places, but I think some of them capture something of the character of these birds – bold and inquisitive.

RobinQuizzical Robin Very ruffled robin Robin and blossom Sideways robin Robin with worms Robin looking at food Ruffled robin Robin with worms Robin with worm Grumpy-looking robin

Wild South’s second foray into retail

After last year’s moderate success selling wildlife photo cards and prints at a craft fair, I decided to do it again.  I’ve been doing my best impression of a candidate on The Apprentice, trying my hand at selling. This doesn’t come naturally to me, but it does give me a good opportunity to talk to people about the wonderful wildlife we have. and raise money for Surrey Dormouse Group.

As Lord/His Eminence/Sir Alan Sugar advises his candidates, I tried to ‘smell what sells’ based on last year’s experience. This meant a few changes:

  • British wildlife sold much better than my more exotic pictures, so I decided to focus on that
  • Several people suggested that I should do a calendar, so, after in-depth consumer research (AKA asking my Facebook friends for their views) I put one together with a mix of British mammals, birds and insects (listening to the focus group is something that Apprentice teams never seem to do)
  • Packs of cards went well last year, but I hadn’t prepared enough, so this year I put together plenty, and made the ‘packaging’ a little more professional (having a printer that actually prints really helps with this!)

I set myself a target to make enough profit to pay for 11 dormice boxes (which is, completely coincidentally, how many I want to add to my site next year, and just a little above my profit from last year, which went to another charity).

Wild South stall at a craft fair, November 2015
Wild South stall at a craft fair, November 2015

The craft fair went well – I smashed my fundraising target, got lots of compliments, got to chat to some interesting people, and even managed to do some Christmas shopping. The best selling items were the calendars, followed by packs of four British Mammal Cards. Hopefully, thanks to the support of all my customers, a few more dormice will have cosy boxes to nest in next year!

Here are some of the images used in the calendar:

Badger
Badger
Kestrel stare
Kestrel
Tawny owl in dappled light
Tawny owl in dappled light
Hedgehog
hedgehog
Fox
Red fox
Water vole
Water vole
Blackbird
Blackbird
blue butterfly
Holly blue butterfly
Red squirrel eating
Red squirrel eating
Bumblebee on yellow flag iris
Bumblebee on yellow flag iris

October Photography Challenge: Autumn colour

Falling autumn leaves against a blue sky
Falling autumn leaves against a blue sky

I took advantage of the glorious sunshine to visit my local National Trust estate to take photos for this month’s photo challenge – autumn colour. Yellow and red leaves against a blue sky

Autumn sunshine through trees
Autumn sunshine through trees

Dry, brown leaves

Looking up through yellow leaves on a tree to a blue sky
Looking up through yellow leaves on a tree to a blue sky

Yellow leaves

Autumn sunshine through the trees
Autumn sunshine through the trees
A parade of fine old trees
A parade of fine old trees
The sun shining through a yellow leaf caught on a hedge
The sun shining through a yellow leaf caught on a hedge
Autumn sunshine over the Surrey Hills
Autumn sunshine over the Surrey Hills

September Photography Challenge: seascapes

I had no shortage of opportunities to take photos for September’s Photography Challenge, the theme of which was seascapes. The photos below are a mix of ones taken with a proper camera, and ones taken by my phone.

Near Kynance Cove
Near Kynance Cove
Near Kynance Cove
Near Kynance Cove
St Agnes sunset
St Agnes sunset
Bishop Rock lighthouse, west from the Isles of Scilly
Bishop Rock lighthouse, west from the Isles of Scilly
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
A sailing boat and Cromwell's Castle, Tresco
A sailing boat and Cromwell’s Castle, Tresco
Looking from Byher to Tresco
Looking from Byher to Tresco
Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

June Photography Challenge: insects and a confession

I have a confession to make: I didn’t take any photos for my June photography challenge. I don’t know where the month went! Anyway, as the theme was insects, I thought this was a good reason to trawl through my archives, and see what I could do with the shots I already had. So, I may have failed to take new photos, but at least I’ve done something with some ones I’ve ignored up til now.

(dead) hornet
(dead) hornet
Ugandan butterfly
Ugandan butterfly
Bumblebee in artichoke flower
Bumblebee in artichoke flower

green insect insect on buttercup blue butterfly blue butterfly

Indian butterfly
Indian butterfly

dragonfly

Banded demoiselle damselfly
Banded demoiselle damselfly
hawker dragonfly
My tormentor – a hawker dragonfly of some kind?

May Photography Challenge: garden

The theme for May’s photography challenge was the garden. I love plants at this time of year – everything is fresh and verdant, bursting with life. So I spent a happy hour pottering about the garden, trying to capture some of the textures and colours of May.

It took me a while to get round to looking at the photos I shot, and when I did I was disappointed with the results. A lot of them are unusable as the focus was off, or the composition too messy. I must remember to check the images in the screen as I go along, rather than waiting til I upload them on a computer. Here’s the best of the (poor) bunch.

sage
Sage

wildflowers

Buddleia reaching to the sky
Buddleia reaching to the sky
Dandelion clock (plenty of them in my garden!)
Dandelion clock (plenty of them in my garden!)
Fresh ivy leaves
Fresh ivy leaves
wisteria
wisteria

April Photography Challenge: spring

My theme for April’s challenge was spring. As it turned out, I didn’t take many classic ‘spring’ shots (apart from some bluebells).

Bluebells at Hatchlands Park
Bluebells at Hatchlands Park

Birds are busy in spring, and I couldn’t resist when I saw this fine woodpecker.

Great spotted woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker

Reptiles don’t come immediately to mind when you think of spring, but actually it’s a great time to see them basking in the early sun. I managed to find a few on a Surrey Wildlife Trust walk.

Grass snake
Grass snake on a corrugated tin sheet used for monitoring reptiles
Slow worm
Slow worm
Slow worm
Slow worm
Slow worm
Slow worm
Adder
Adder

Reptiles aren’t the only creatures who like to sunbathe – foxes are rather fond of it too.

Fox enjoying the sun
Fox enjoying the sun
Fox enjoying the sun
Fox enjoying the sun
Fox enjoying the sun
Fox enjoying the sun

March Photo Challenge: wild birds

For my March Photo Challenge I visited my local park to take photos of the wildfowl. Spring was in the air, as can be seen from the fighting moorhens… The swan was also rather combative, chasing off ducks who came too close.

Moorhen
Moorhen

Swan Fighting moorhens Fighting moorhens 2015 03 26_Meadowbank birds 2_3424_edited-3 Bark

Duck tail
Mallard tail
Greylag goose legs
Greylag goose legs
Greylag goose feathers
Greylag goose feathers
Greylag goose
Greylag goose

Swan