National Wildlife Trust

I recently entered the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trusts, its always hard to know what to enter in an open competition but I had taken this image on the nature reserve in Letcombe Regis recently. It took several attempts to get the bird in flight coming out of the nest box, they are very small to focus on and extremely fast. So nice to see the boxes in use.

Oxford Festival of Nature Wildlife Photo Competition

I was very pleased to receive an email earlier in the week stating that I had gained 2nd place in the Wildlife Category.

The images will be displayed at the Wild Fair at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on the 13th June,

Summer dogs_0131Thank you for taking the time to read my post. www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk

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In and Around Letcombe Regis – Jan/Feb 2015

If this is the first time you have seen the In and Around Letcombe Regis blog then welcome. I am always out and about with the dogs and mostly have the camera with me and so I decided to document my findings for others to see.

The Winter months are always quieter on the Wildlife front for me. Mainly because the weather is usually bad and I only take the camera out when it is dry.

Birds of Prey

The Red Kites are always about and its nice to catch them soaring around on a nice sunny day.

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This next image was taken on the foot path by Blandys Farm.

Red KiteThere are also quite a few Buzzards in the area but they are a little quicker off the mark to fly away when they are spotted. Especially as I always have my two dogs with me. This was one I spotted up on the Ridegeway. He wasn’t going to hang around for long once he saw me.

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Kestrels can also been seen hovering above the long grass hunting or sitting in bushes. This one image was taken at Wooley they are hard to get close to so these are usually taken on full zoom on my lens and they cropped in to. This bird was taken at Woolley. I don’t think I have ever walked over here and not seen one or two.

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Short Eared Owls

I got a tip off that some Short Eared Owls had been seen up on the Ridgeway so as you can imagine I couldn’t resist going to have a look for myself. I went up several times. The first time I was very lucky and they were flying up and down the gallops but were quite some distance away.

Short-eared owls are medium sized owls with mottled brown bodies, pale under-wings and yellow eyes. They are commonly seen hunting during the day. In winter, there is an influx of continental birds (from Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland) to northern, eastern, and parts of central southern England, especially around the coast. They are of European conservation concern and so are an Amber List species. Click anywhere on text to be taken to RSPB Website with further information.

Summer dogs_0051I could watch these birds all day. The image above was taken around 3pm in the afternoon as these Owls will hunt during the day.  Disappointed that I did not manage to get very closer shots I went out a few days later and managed to get some lovely images of the birds in flight.Summer dogs_0064

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They become a little bit of an addiction so I would walk the Ridgeway regularly. Some days they can be seen others not a sign. It’s always nice to be able to capture them in different surrounding and on this particular day I got some of them flying low in over the long grasses.

Summer dogs_0053 Summer dogs_0052My last sighting of them for this winter was on a lovely sunny day.

Summer dogs_0059Summer dogs_0065Local Deer – A slightly nicer winter for our Local Deer, the ground not so went and not too much snow. They were looking really well. Sadly no photos of any wild deer for this period.

Summer dogs_0050Little Egret

It is alway so nice to see the return of this lovely bird to the village and most often spotted by me either at the pond on the farm, the nature reserve or the Cress Beds, this year there were 3 hanging around. They are very shy so stealth mode is always required to get close enough.

Fishing on the Nature Reserve

Summer dogs_0044In flight on the nature reserve, usually because either the dogs or I have been spotted.

Summer dogs_0043Heron

The top image is the Heron making a quick get away and the bottom one was taken on the side of Richmond Lake.Summer dogs_0045Other birds

Jackdaws and Crows, there are certainly a lot of them around the village. These two had found a meal.

Summer dogs_0061Thrush – such a lovely bird but very shy. I often see one on the recreation ground by rarely get close enough to photograph it. This day I was lucky. Such a beautiful bird.Summer dogs_0060Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope you have enjoyed the images.

The Societies – 2015 Convention and Awards

Well I had a really fun and informative weekend at The Societies 2015 Convention. The convention is held in the London Metropole Hotel near to Paddington station so is easy for the many that travel from across the country and abroad to access. There is a huge selection of Classes for Photographers to attend on all aspects of Photography, with a large trade show for photographs to see the latest and best from the photographic trade. Not to mention the brilliant opportunity it presents for photographers to network with each other.

I spent Friday looking at the tradestands catching up face to face with some of the suppliers I use and also looking at new ones. So nice new products are going to be available soon so will keep you updated on that. I even managed to buy a few new props for my newborn photography sessions.

Saturday I went on an all day long Location workshop with Kevin Wilson. We had two great models. Kevin provided great tuition and the venue was the Safehouses situated in Peckham. A blank canvas was the theme of the day and the houses certainly provided that. Images of the day will follow in another blog.

Saturday evening was the Awards dinner when over 400 photographers gather for dinner and to celebrate the years photography. Trade awards are given and photographic awards for The 20″x16″ competition and the Golds awards from the Monthly Competition are then put forward to consideration for the Photographer of the Year.

Photographers may enter one image each month into any of the available categories the awards given are Gold or Highly Commended
Gold: these will go forward to the annual judging and are deemed to be images of the highest standard and will be published in Professional Imagemaker
Highly Commended: Above standard. These images will be reviewed every three months and have the potential of being reclassified as Gold.

I have been fortunate enough in 2014 to gain four gold awards and had two upgraded the previous year from Highly Commended to golds. I also gained several Highly commended.

Here are a few of my Highly Commended images from the year!

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I spend a great amount of my time out and about with my camera and my dogs and am lucky to live in an area where there is a lot of Widlife.  My Gold Awards for the year are predominantly from the Nature Category for 2014 but this is probably the category I always enter without fail.

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For those following my blog you will know I had a nomination for the Nature Category this year with the Hare image above,  which was very exciting. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough this year to win the category but it was an honour to be nominated and have an image thought worthy!  I would like to congratulate all the winners and will be trying my utmost to be among them next year.  The Awards  for the Nature Category can be viewed here. http://show-vid.com/view/gkxadax4

Nominated for The Societies’ Photographer of the Year 2014

This week I got great news that one of my Nature images, that gained a Gold Award with the Societies in July this year has been shortlisted for The Societies’ Photographer of the Year 2014. The Societies is Europe’s largest all-welcome association for the serious photographer.

I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for the award this year. We are blessed in and around Letcombe Regis to have wonderful  countryside and an abundance of wildlife. My nominated image of the Hare won a Gold Award in the Societies Monthly competition earlier in the year and was taken in Letcombe Regis early one morning in June this year.

I will be competing for the prestigious award of “Nature Photographer of the Year” and The Societies’ “Photographer of the Year,” with the winner being revealed at The Societies’ 2015 Convention Awards Dinner held on 17 January 2015 in London.

Please check out  www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk.

SWPP – Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers – Two Highly Commended Images

Each month many photographers enter SWPP monthly image competition trying to achieve a Gold Award. I try and participate as often as I can. This time round I got two Highly Commended given to two images.

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In the Pet Portrait category I entered this one of Dylan. The expression is key in this one.

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This image of the Stag roaring was entered into the Nature section. It was taken at the Deer Farm at Letcombe Regis.

Red Kites

Birds of Prey are a real passion of mine and I am lucky to live in an area where there are plenty of Red Kites and Buzzards so get the opportunity to photograph them on a regular basis.  All the images in the post were taken in or around Letcombe Regis, Wantage, Oxfordshire.

The red kite disappeared from England and Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century.

Red Kite

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In 1989, the Nature Conservancy Council (now known in England as ‘Natural England’) and the RSPB launched a project to reintroduce the red kite back into England and Scotland.
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Chicks were brought over from Spain under strict regulations and reintroduced into the Chilterns. The first successful breeding in the UK was noted in 1992 and since then numbers have increased to approximately 400-500 breeding pairs.

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Kites are still actively monitored

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Red Kites can often be seen being chased by crows. This image gained a Silver Award with the SWPP.

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Some Red Kite Chicks were fitted with wing tags and ringed they contain a unique identification number and colour coding which identifies where the chick was released and when. If I see a tagged bird I report it and often get sent the details back. This bird White/Blue 69 was one of a brood of three nestlings tagged at Park Wood near Oundle, Northants in June 2010.  It had also been recorded in a pre roost gathering at Fermyn Hall Park 7th October 2010.

Tagged Red Kite

The kite will adapt its diet according to local conditions – it is an opportunistic feeder and a scavenger – feeding mainly on carrion.  They can often be spotted in fields hunting. Here are two kites in a stubble field searching for Carrion.

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Kites are often seen chasing each other and flying in unison. This often takes place between pairs bonding, although sometimes there seems to be no particular reason for this, except for ‘play’ which may improve flying skills.

Red Kites Playing

The wing span of the Red Kite is between 5-5.5 Ft

Red Kite

Thank you for reading my post. http://www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk.