Here We Go Again….

The original plan for this weeks blog post was for me to be writing about the great time I recently had visiting Cotswold Falconry centre (which I still will include, just to a lesser extent), however: I cannot ignore the recent news of the secondary lockdown coming into force in the UK.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about the impending lockdown, I struggled through the last episode with my mental health, at some points I hit lows I had not felt in a long time.

That’s not to say I didn’t have any high points, it was during the last lockdown I discovered my love for macro photography, a love affair that is still burning very brightly. I am already excited about the next “macro season”.

I’m very aware I was not the only person who struggled previously and are again anxious for the future. This time of year is hard enough already for some with the shorter days and the miserable weather setting in.

We all need to be there for each other more than ever: to listen, to encourage and to support.

I know sometimes it’s easier said than done, I am consciously trying to make a greater effort to keep afloat mentally and help those who are in the same boat. We got through it last time, we can do it again.

I’ve been preparing myself mentally and being realistic, I know this time it will be harder, I won’t have macro as a crutch during these colder/darker times. Where this leaves my photography I am unsure…watch this space.

As always when I talk about mental health, I remind you all, if you start to feel low, reach out. Talking may take some of the weight off and help you see things more clearly.

Moving onto a more positive subject, the previous weekend brought with it a visit to Cotswold Falconry centre. The centre boasts a great variety of birds of prey, to which the staff are very passionate and knowledgeable about.

I would highly recommend visiting, especially to watch one of the flight displays. The staff do extremely well to demonstrate as best they can the natural behavior of each bird they fly.

On this occasion visiting the centre, in my opinion, I managed to capture some of my best bird portrait shots. It is very rare where I feel happy about what I have captured, I am always quick to point out flaws. Always my own biggest critic.

The Bateleur eagle portraits in particular are some of my absolute favourites, I looked at them in camera at the centre and knew then I had something special. I look at them now and they don’t even feel like my work, I love them.

I hope your week has been a good one, until next time, take care.

https://www.cotswold-falconry.co.uk/

One Year old!

Its my one year blogging anniversary!! I have now had this blog space for a whole year! Over that year this blog has changed quite a bit. From only logging my weekly wildlife sightings to my more recent journal like approach covering days out, mental health and still (hopefully) any wildlife seen.

I would like to thank all those that have taken the time to read my ramblings and peruse my photographs over the past year. I really appreciate all the support I have had so far.

My aim for the future of the blog; is to keep improving my writing, run a tighter blogging schedule to posting new blogs (although this has already improved greatly since last year) and to hopefully provide content you will all continue to enjoy.

I have had a little break since my last blog, still overwhelmed by my new camera and a few bad days mentally, I made the decision to not rush back to writing as I needed space to collect my thoughts. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your own sanity is to say no or take a step back to reclaim yourself a little.

I am now very ready and mentally prepared to move forward and let you know exactly what I have been up to in those 2 weeks off.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kinder-edale-and-the-dark-peak/trails/mam-tor-circular-walk

The first big visit was the famous Mam Tor (mother hill) in the Peak District near Castleton. I had never been to the peaks before and boy! did it win my heart, I did not not want to leave!

As soon as you enter Derbyshire the landscape grabs you, views over peaks and valleys, lush and green as far as the eye could see. It was truly awe inspiring.

Mam Tor has a walking trail by the National Trust. you can either just walk to the top of Mam tor or continue on the ridge walk to Losehill. I did the latter. Its not hard to see why this destination is so popular.

I will admit, the day I visited was quite busy, fortunately Mam tor is big enough to accommodate everyone and be able to socially distance!

I really hope from my photos you get just a tiny sense of how beautiful it was from there.

My next day out was a seaside day to Burnham on sea, this quiet seaside resort offers a great alternative to the bigger more touristy resorts around the UK. The day I visited the beach was quiet, people were spaced out easily. This is a great place to visit if you just want a beach day, no gimmicks.

I happened to visit on the hottest day of the year, but the cool sea wind made the heat bearable. I love being by the coast, I always have. There is just something about being next to the sea which is so calming.

The final visit to end the last 2 weeks was to Carding Mill and the Long Mynd in shropshire.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carding-mill-valley-and-the-long-mynd

Shropshire being another part of the country I have never ventured to before. I have felt guilty with these visits that I am so under traveled around the UK. There some absolute treasures around this fair isle, I have recently made the purchase of a tent to hopefully be able to venture to more locations and be able to give them more time, to appreciate their character.

Back to Carding Mill, another absolutely stunning landscape, I walked the moderate trail that leads to view the light sprout waterfall. I don’t think I saw even a tenth of the location. It gives me a great excuse to return. (I have a huge list of places to return to, I really really hope this is one I get around to revisiting).

One thing about all these hill walks; it has shown me I really need to improve my fitness! Has anyone else struggled with keeping fitness motivation and activity up during the lockdown?

Lastly a word on the glorious sunsets we have been experiencing recently, they really crept up on me one evening. I missed one evening out shooting the sunset as I had noticed too late the brilliant colours of the setting sun. I sulked that on that evening extremely determined to get out the next night, which I achieved.

The locations are random, chasing the light in the car stopping by fields where I felt the view was good enough. The resulting images show a sky that looks like it is on fire. No sulking that evening, I love a good sunset, but then again who doesn’t?

I will end with another big THANK YOU! for all the support, comments, likes, subs and generally just taking the time to read my blog. Here’s to the next year!

Until next time, Take care.