Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Looking back on 2014

2014 has been a different year for me - I spent the first 9 months of it on a year off between school and university, so had a lot of spare time. I'd already spent 3 months working before Christmas, and the first month and a half of 2014 were spent doing some photography in London, as well as getting stuff ready for my trip to Peru. I was there from 19 February - 5 May and it was possibly the best experience of my life. Being able to spend 2 months in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet was incredible. I then had just over a week in London before I was off to Suffolk, where I was volunteering at the RSPB's nature reserve, Minsmere, for nearly 4 weeks. After that I was back in the UK again before spending two weeks in the Masai Mara in July as a last trip before heading up to Durham University in late September. The images below are a selection of my favourites from this year - I'm afraid there isn't one for each month as I didn't take a single image in October or November!


In January I spent quite a bit of time in the centre of London photographing the Cormorants at Hyde Park. They would fish underneath a bridge, and if you got the timing in the day right they would be lit up by the sun, rendering the water completely black. I spent several enjoyable afternoons lying on the path by the water.
I also made a few visits to the London Wetland Centre to see if I could get any Bittern images before I left for Peru. I didn't have much success, however, except for this image of one going to roost with the lights of Charing Cross Hospital in the background.


On February 19 the day I'd been waiting for for months arrived - my flight to Peru. The 24 hour journey seemed to take an age, but eventually I was stepping out onto the tarmac at Cusco airport. The first 10 days of my stay were in this area, seeing Cusco and Machu Picchu, but I did manage to get some photography done too. In the hotel I stayed at before getting the train to the ruins they had several species of hummingbird so I spent the afternoon when I arrived the the next morning photographing them.
While I was at Machu Picchu I also spent a bit of time photographing the Viscachas there, such as this one.


On 1 March I flew to Puerto Maldonado, in Southeast Peru. From here I took a taxi to the port town, Laberinto, and then got on a boat that would take me along the Madre de Dios river for 5 hours before I reached Los Amigos Biological Research Station. Over the next two months I spent every day in the rainforest photographing the wildlife. It was a brilliant time, and I really hope it won't be too long before I'm back. Here are a few of my favourite images from there.
 Cocoi Heron
 White-throated Toucan
 Collared Peccary
 Emperor Tamarin
Peruvian Spider Monkey


During the spring I was in Suffolk. Minsmere is one of my favourite places to photograph, and watch wildlife, so being able to spend 3 weeks there was great -  I was a 5 minute walk from being able to photograph Bitterns, Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits, and many more, so spent many days getting up at 4 for sunrise and not getting back until gone 9pm so I could photograph when the sun was low in the sky. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and got some images I was really pleased with too. Being there while Springwatch was good too, especially being able to see how a programme like that is put together, and I even managed to get on the red button 3 times to show some of my photos!


In July I spent 2 weeks in the Masai Mara, and what a place it is. We were lucky enough to witness the great migration and saw a river crossing by a large group of Wildebeest. It certainly is a spectacular sight, and was well worth the long wait. We saw a huge range of other animals too, including Lions, Cheetahs and their cubs, Hyenas and 200 species of bird.


No I haven't forgotten a month, I just didn't take any photos in August! Having done so much photography in the first half of the year I had a break from it in August, but managed to get out a few times to Richmond Park in September, firstly to photograph a Wheatear that had been hanging around for a few days in the bracken on migration, and then to photograph the start of the Red Deer rut.


At the end of September I started university at Durham, and so didn't taken a single image until I got back for the Christmas holidays in December!


I've managed to get out a bit since I've got back, and one morning at my local reserve this gorgeous male Red-breasted Merganser was there, brought in by the recent cold weather.

Other Stuff

2014 has also been a good year for me in terms of images published. I had my first online magazine cover, and then shortly after my first print magazine cover! I've been in several magazines, and also had my first success in an adult wildlife photography competition with my Red Deer image highly commended in the Asferico Photocontest. I was also on Springwatch Extra 3 times during my time at Minsmere.

I also spent quite a bit of time creating a new website, which can now be seen here!

All that's left is to thank all of you for following me over the last year. I've seen some amazing things and met some great people, but have also got inspiration from the many photographers whose images I see but haven't met. I wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope 2015 brings you everything you want it to! Hopefully it will be even better than this one!