Wednesday 28 March 2012

Last Few Days of...

Get along to Cambridge if you can.

Williams Art

Dale's Brewery, Gwydr Street, Cambridge

Friday night is a special drinks evening too!  6.30 – 9

Monday 26 March 2012

That's Wildlife Photography!

Months of research and planning, early rising, dark walk to the hide, hours of sitting still, waiting, pins and needles, getting cold, needing the loo, fed up, seeing nothing - ok just a bit longer something might just put in an appearance...

And so it goes on.

There are those who aren't photographers who seem to think that those stunning wildlife shots are easy. Thankfully, with the current trend of leaving the last few minutes of the fantastic TV wildlife programmes to show how it was done, more are starting to realise it isn't so easy after all. Sure, we have all been lucky to have chance encounters where we may have managed to grab a shot that we then show off to our friends but on the whole, most of the stunning pictures are gained as a result of following the formula above.

You may recall, I have been watching a fallow deer herd and this morning I was back at my hide location to try to get an update on them. Today though, I was accompanied by my eldest off-spring, also keen to capture some worthy images. We lugged our gear to the spot and quickly settled down and waited for something to put in an appearance. As the light levels rose, so did the volume of birdsong and we contented ourselves with being entertained by this wonderful performance, made more cheerful by a welcome punctuation from a recently arrived chiff-chaff.

And so we waited.

A couple of rabbits hopped around the far edge of the field. A muntjac ambled alongside the far hedge. A fox hopped and skipped down the tramlines far over the other end of the field. Then, seven fallow deer ambled into... the far corner of the field. Far was to be the closest we would get to our subject this morning and with no frames being fired, thoughts of a lovely steaming mug of tea started to become much more appealing. We sat it out for a while in the hope they might just wander our way, instead they just disappeared into a clump of trees. There would be no chance of that stunning shot this morning and with other plans for the day, we packed up and left, happy we had enjoyed the birdsong but the mug of tea was now our goal. It may 'only' be the local deer herd I am photographing but the chances for stunning shots are rare and I will continue to follow the formula.

On the drive home, early morning mist had settled into the hollows and we stopped to snatch a shot or two to justify our trip. I had barely got out of the car when "Mum! Hare!" A wonderful silhouetted form bounced over the verge and legged it across the lane presenting me with just enough time to fire off one frame.

I now present to you a lucky chance encounter where I managed to grab a shot, that I am now showing off to you. (lol!)

That's the ups and downs of wildlife photography!

Saturday 24 March 2012

Currently Showing...

A successful opening night of Narrative by the Cambridge Creative Network
at Williams Art in Cambridge.

continues until 1st April
Monday to Friday 11am — 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am — 5pm

Showcasing the work of seventeen members of the Cambridge Creative Network, we are proud to be displaying a mix of art, printmaking, illustration, 2D and 3D design, ceramics, jewellery and automata. For those who didn't manage to catch any of my 'Aspects of West Cork' photo documentary essay, there is a second chance to see (and buy!!!) two of the panels from the sixteen that were first exhibited in July 2011, here at Narrative. There is also a selection of greeting cards available, alongside all the work from my fellow artists of course.

Thursday 22 March 2012

The Embrace

I was amazed that mutt managed to miss them! The canoodling couple sat right on our back doorstep as we were leaving to go for our daily walk yesterday. Usually she is the first to poke her nose into this type of business, instead it was me forcing them to look at their reflection in the lens of the little G12.

Whilst Mrs frog appeared to be taking the defensive 'no photographs' pose, Mr frog sported a silly smirk and had a cheeky glint in his eye. Hugging her waist tightly, the two eventually started to hop off towards the back garden. They were to be the lucky ones as the evidence of the past few days had shown that several similar puffed-up amorous couples had lost their fight with the indiscriminate puffed-up rubber in the little lane at the front.

As I watched, I was intrigued to know which one of the pair was putting in all the effort to hop whilst locked in this embrace. Clearly it was the female doing all the hard work although the male obliged with a token leg-kick gesture in sync with her efforts. They progressed along the path making towards the garden gate. Hop-kick, hop-kick, hop-kick-duffff!

Her hop had timed perfectly with reaching the bottom of the gate and I can't help feeling it was her pay-back to this free-loader. After a moment of recomposure, she walked a couple of clearance steps before once again hopping off to the safety of the garden.

Wednesday 21 March 2012


For all of you who love greeting cards that can't be found anywhere else, from Friday, look no further than

Williams Art, Cambridge

There, I will have available, a new range of Ailec Photography, high quality, limited edition art print cards.
Some of my African themed mounted prints will also be alongside the main body of work I will have on display in:-

 a joint exhibition from the

Sunday 18 March 2012

Bright, Blue & Battersea

By contrast today it was bright with blue skies over Battersea after the teeming rain at Twickenham yesterday.

Bright as it was, it was still pretty chilly when I took a walk down to the Thames from Pimlico early this morning. Killing time before an appointment it was nice to catch a view of this iconic landmark.

Saturday 17 March 2012

St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patricks Day to all of my Irish friends.

Today I have a dilemma. At five o'clock, the England rugby team will be taking on Ireland at Twickenham in the Six Nations tournament. Do I support the home team or do I wish the visitors good luck on their national day?

All I can hope is for a good clean game and may the best team win.

Saturday 10 March 2012

An Impostor

Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricos)
The Invertebrate Conservation Trust Buglife are once again in search of the Oil Beetle. As Buglife states,
"Oil beetles are incredible insects, but they are under threat. Four of Britain’s native oil beetles are thought to be extinct, and the remaining four species have suffered drastic declines due to the changes in the way our countryside is managed."
They are asking everyone to keep their eyes open during countryside walks, and to report any sightings to Buglife (via this link).
Needless to say I got a bit excited when I saw this splendid fella crawling through the new green undergrowth today. Not because it was the first beetle of the Spring but because it might just be one of the searched-for specials (Forget looking for Faberge eggs in London streets, this is much more exciting!)

On my return home, I quickly looked up my Billy Beetle, only to find he is a bloody-nosed beetle and an impostor! What a shame. Oh well at least the same can't be said of these other wonderful indicators of Spring. There is certainly no doubting the identities here.

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata)

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Hazel Catkins (Corylus)

Norway Spruce cones (Picea abies)

Thursday 8 March 2012

Upcoming Exhibition

Just in the final stages of working on some pieces to go into this joint exhibition with the Cambridge Creative Network in Cambridge.

I will be there on the evening of Friday 23rd March along with all my fellow artists, so do drop in and say hello.
If you can't make it to the Preview don't worry, the exhibition will be open until 1st April.

Monday 5 March 2012

New Baby!

At two days old, the new addition to the Canon family is certainly drawing a lot of admiring eyes. This was the scrum today to get a hold of this much rumoured, third 5D sibling. As you can see, it was the male eyes it was attracting and I wasn't prepared to fight with my handbag to get to the front.

I'm in no hurry for the upgrade though as it tends to benefit the HD video users more. I will wait until the fuss dies down, then I might just take a look but meanwhile I will save my (imaginary) £3k for other uses.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Drip Rings

It's raining! Woo-hoo.

Although going out for a walk in the rain isn't always the most pleasurable thing in the world, today I didn't mind one bit that it was raining. We actually need it so much, here in the East.

We wrapped up against the elements this morning but mutt wasn't at all concerned that she was going to get wet. The run out in the countryside was the only thing on her mind (apart from perhaps food or a chase but that we might never know). Not being able to live with her pestering if we didn't get going early, we chose to go out early anyway, when the rain was expected to be lightest. (It was forecast to become heavier and even turn to snow as the day progressed.)

Wildlife was noticeable by its absence during the walk. Just the odd hardy bird offered a song, so observations moved from the animal end of nature, to plant, colour and landscape. Half way around this particular walk there is a lovely little spring pond. The last time we visited it, mutt had to break the ice for a paddle. Today, she was paddling so as to snap at the bubbles which rise to the surface as she disturbs the sediment at the bottom. (Little things please little minds)

As mutt paddled, I began watching the wonderful drip patterns created in the clear water, subtly coloured with yellows, greens, turquoise and the odd splash of ultramarine. I was mesmerised, my little G12 coming out of my pocket to catch these ever-changing beautiful patterns.

(Little things...!)