Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Simon King Wildlife

Having not posted for a while I thought I would do an update on the project I am currently working on.

I have recently started working as an assistant for Simon King. Together we are installing a range of Live cameras that soon will be available to watch on our website (Simonkingwildlife.com) and edited highlights on our YouTube channel.

Nest Boxes for a range of small garden birds have been installed and many have had regular visitors.

Owl boxes that we have installed have been investigated by Tawny owls and we are very hopeful they will be inhabited in the Spring.

Our River cam has captured a range of wildlife on the river including Otters, Dippers and Kingfishers.

There is so much preparation going into the cams, Im so excited to watch the stories develop over the coming weeks, months and years.

To view our cameras currently Live please visit - www.simonkingwildlife.com and follow the links to the 'Live Cams' and also the YouTube channel for films and updates. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Camera Trapping

Here are a few of my recent camera trap shots. Still no where near perfect but its been a great project so far and im still working on it. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Start of a Journey

Recently I have been starting into the world of camera trapping. Its a very challenging aspect of photography and for 6 weeks I have been trying to capture Otters at night on a small river near my home. In 6 weeks I have got 1 image!!!! However its not perfect so I am not showing you. 

I am using an infrared beam system. I set up an invisible beam across a path and anything that crosses the path triggers the camera. A lot easier said than done 

Here are a few of my misfires. American Mink and Brown Rats!


Friday, 23 August 2013

River Allen

Hello Everyone,

I know its been ages but here is a little update on one of the projects I have been working on. The river Allen is a stunning chalk stream very close to my home in Dorset. I had never really looked in depth at the wildlife there before, but I wanted to start, and I wanted to get to know this amazing waterway in more detail.

I started by putting a stick across the river and waiting. 

It wasn't long before one of my best friends, mr Kingfisher turned up! I went to the hide every morning and slowly started getting to know the birds a bit better. There were two chicks in the area, however it wasn't long before they were kicked out by the parents. They must have only just fledged the nest when I started at the site, so I only saw them for about 5 days before they were gone. 

The next thing I started working on was the underwater life of the River Allen. The river is full of fish, and heaps of other life. I started by placing a GoPro camera onto a rock and just placing it in the river and hoping for the best. Despite the fact its a very hit and miss process some of the results have been quite interesting. 

Lady of the river - Grayling 


I have got better at learning the preferred habitats of the different species and I know where best to place the camera now to get better results. 


One evening I was filming in the river and something caught my eye flying over the far bank, a Barn Owl!!! I got my stuff and got out of the river and up on to the bridge and watched the owl hunting the meadow on the far side of the bank. Over the next few evenings I spent time waiting and filming the Owl when it made its brief appearances. On one particular evening the conditions where perfect and I was very happy with the results. The image below is only a screen shot from video so not a high res file. 

Barn Owl

I have also filmed Eels is the river Allen. Eels fascinate me as their life history is remarkable. They are born in the Sargasso sea in the Bahamas, then travel across to the UK as tiny 'glass eels'. Once they reach our shores they then travel up our fresh water systems, where they can live in our rivers for up to 20 years! Once they are ready to breed, they TRAVEL BACK TO THE SARGASSO SEA to breed. Its a crazy journey for such a small animal. I felt very privileged to have one in front of my camera.

I have recently uploaded a short film featuring a lot of filming from this project. If you want to have a look, please follow the link bellow. 

"   http://vimeo.com/71697900   "

I hope you like the video and images within this post. I will be updating the blog more now as I am working on a number of projects. The main one being camera trap photography. As soon as I start getting results I will let you know!


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Barn Owl Project

I have lived in Dorset my entire life and I only saw my first Barn Owl last spring. I think I must have never been looking properly as now I have got my eye in. Im seeing them all the time!

The site that most of my images are taken is about 15 minuets away from my house so that means I can wake up and get there quickly depending on the conditions. I was told by the farmer that they used to have 9 pairs on the farm. I often see 4 individuals in one evening but its getting the images that is proving to be so hard!

They are usually more active in the dawn light than that of the evening. So I try to get there 20 mins before sunrise. This allows me to track down a couple of owls and decide where I am going to set up.

Usually then the owls take to the wing and hunt for a few mins, just as or just after the sun has risen. This is the time I get my shots usually.

My set up, is a canon 7D on a Sigma 120-300mm with a 1.4x converter. This makes it a 420mm f4 which is a good lens for the owls. A 400mm 2.8 would be better however!!!!

For my tripod head, I am using a 'Wimberly Sidekick' and I really cant rave about this enough. It is an awesome piece of kit which I strongly recommend. It allows easy free movement of a heavy lens, inorder to track the owls in flight, and makes the job of keeping the lens steady a joy.

I am pleased with my images in general but I want better. Its going to take time however as many days (like today) I come home empty handed. But I dont mind. Every time I go there I learn something about the Owls and there routine and I like to think that it will eventually work in my favour.

Thanks for viewing and let me know what you think

Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 in a Nutshell

So we have come to the end of 2012 and what a year it has been! I thought I would try in one post to sum up the year that I have had and try to put in to context some of my favorite wildlife moments both through a view finder and without a camera.

My year started in Cornwall. I was in my final year of University and I was racing to finish a project on Cornish Grey Seals. Some of my best wildlife moments of this year are without doubt some of the moments from my third year at university.

Swimming with grey seals is up there undoubtably. I often returned to the same dive site and after a few visits could recognise the same individuals over and over again. Through this identification together with the Cornwall Seal Group, we managed to track one individual seal from the south coast of Cornwall, all the way to St Ives here she had a pup, then we tracked her back to the south coast to the exact same rock I had seen here only a few months before.

It was in mid February when I had my first job for the BBC thanks to a unbelievably generous producer in Bristol. I was a field assistant filming seals in Cornwall and a learnt tons!!!

Since then I have been doing a fair bit for 'Seasons' (an upcoming tv series) and its been so much fun/not to mention how much it has taught me about being a cameraman. I have been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented cameramen and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given.  I was even lucky enough to spend a few days assisting Simon King, which was an unbelievable opportunity. So unbelievable in fact that having just driven to Cornwall when I received the call, I got back in the car and drove back to Dorset at 3am ready for an 8am start, it just had to be done!!

One of the highlights for sure was filming Nightjar in June, I cant reveal too much but lets just say that it was one of the best weeks of this year and I am very much looking forward to seeing the final sequence. After 4 days of searching for a nightjar nest, using thermal cameras, incredible local knowledge and epic amounts of time we eventually found one......on the final morning of the shoot!!!

My Kingfisher project has really been a great learning curve for me this year and has allowed me to increase the standard of my portfolio. As far as I know it has been the same bird I have photographed since september this year. I wont bore you with KF chat as you have heard enough from me on that front. 

One thing that I have always dreamed of doing is "filming or photographing Kingfishers, for the BBC" and somehow, in a crazy couple of days it actually happened. I was commissioned to photograph a Kingfisher at close range for Richard Hammonds "Miracles of Nature". It was my first TV credit, a dream come true to see a Kingfisher image I had taken on BBC 1. 

As this year has drawn to an end, this last week of awful weather has allowed me to really appreciate how awesome this year has been. I have learnt so much from so many great people and I cant thank the Seasons Team enough for the opportunities I have had.

My top wildlife moment of the year..........

I have a number of goals for next year, and I am prepared to work as hard as I possibly can to achieve them.

Thanks very much for reading. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

New kingfisher location and new app

Today I checked out a new kingfisher site a lot lot closer to home. I'm still not sure about it but I'm going to set up a bushnell on a perch I think looks good to see if there are any kingfishers in the area. I will also work on the site a few mornings at sunrise as I find this a great time to find kingfishers out and about.

The only issue is the fact that the river does not have large banks. This is usually a requirement for kingfishers. But due to there large territories I bet there are a few in the area.

This is also written on the iPhone blogger app so I might be able to write blogs on the move now.

Lets see what happens!