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A Christmas Surprise

A Fox Tale.

Had a bit of a Christmas surprise the other day. Back in the Spring and Summer one of the local foxes kept coming into our garden. Now if you have read any of my previous posts you will know that we often have foxes come to the garden in search of food. Well, one particular fox this year really made himself at home.

Most nights he would come in search of food and we noticed he had a mange problem.  My partner bought some mange potion from the Fox Project and laced food with a few drops, positioning it around the garden so that our fox could find it.  Freddy soon caught on………. oh did I tell you someone named him Freddy.  Anyway, this went on for a bit until Freddy would come and sit amongst us when we were sitting in the garden, eventually feeling very relaxed because he would lay facing away from us. He would always have one eye on us if anyone stood up. I guess natural animal instincts were still there.

He used to have fun following Mrs AB Photography around the garden during gardening sessions and digging up newly planted shrubs, sometimes running off with her gardening gloves.  Never letting you get too close – not that we would ever want to invade his space.

Fox sitting on a wall

The Fox had easy access to the garden partly due to groundworks being done by the neighbours.

It was quite an honour for us all to be with this wild animal for most of the summer.

All of a sudden he stopped appearing. We are hoping he just moved on and didn’t succumb to forces of nature or indeed humans.

Surprise

Well as you can see from the images below I shot loads of images of him throughout the summer months and it was suggested that I send an image up to the Kent Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. The surprise was that I actually won the section I entered –  Wilder Towns and Cities.  You can click on the images to enlarge them for a closer look if you wish.

They are running a campaign to get more people involved with local wildlife. It’s a worthwhile thing to encourage wildlife into your garden and can put a smile on your face just by observing birds, foxes and squirrels while enjoying a glass of wine or sipping on a beer on a warm summers evening.

So a fitting tribute to an old friend is that his face is going to be shown around Kent to promote the Kent Wildlife Campaign. Hopefully next year he might return. Rest assured there will always be a welcome for him in our plot of land in this urban landscape.

Please feel free to leave a comment on here. Let me know what wildlife you encounter in your garden.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Andy

Fox eating food

Fox sleeping under a picnic table

The fox had an afternoon nap underneath the picnic table

Fox startled by a noise from over the back

Photobombing fox

Our Fox photobombing some of my outdoor portrait sessions.

Fox in the spring

Posing this time in our flower beds

 

Looking around the garden for food

The winning photo

Most of the time he ignored the birds

Making an appearance in the late evening sunshine

A glowing tree stands tall above some bracken in a woodland near Cliffe Marshes

A Woodland Walk

A Walk in the Woods

 

I thought I would take myself out for a walk to a nearby woodland.  Now it’s quite hard to spot any sort of composition in a forest, mainly because of all the branches and leaves going off in all directions throughout the scene.  The leaves and other foliage seemed bright like a luminescence that I haven’t seen before.  It looked like everything had a dose of saturation from photoshop although this was before any photos were taken.  Luckily, as I was coming to the point in the walk where I was about to turn around, a glow that caught my eye in amongst the very green leaves.  I realised it was light bouncing off the stripped bark of the tree below which made it stand out amongst the surrounding foliage.

 

Setting up

So the next thing was to set up my tripod in the dense bracken underfoot.  All was well until I mounted my camera –  the added weight made one of the legs slowly sink into the earth!  After re-jigging the tripod and a composition set up that I was pleased with, I set about taking the shot.  1/8sec f18 IS0 400.  It was very windy so the slow shutter speed picked out movement in some of the leaves.  I tried a shot with a faster shutter speed but was happier with the first effort.

Back Home

Back at base, in the editing programme lightroom, I found the foliage still far too bright so I toned it down a little bit.  All that was left to do was add a vignette and do some selective dodging and burning on the tree.

I titled this the ‘Bracken Beacon’ on Instagram which I think was quite apt for the glow that this old tree was giving off on that windy day on my woodland walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A glowing tree stands tall above some bracken in a woodland near Cliffe Marshes

A tree glowing in a Woodland near Cliffe Marshes in Kent.

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Calendar

 

A3 2020 Calendar

A calendar is a very personal thing, which makes choosing the images to go into my 2020 Calendar quite a challenge. When I have spoken to people about calendars I normally get a very mixed reaction from liking wildlife, landscapes, fluffy things, flying things. I Can sense some people now trying not to make eye contact and say “run”, “he is trying to sell another bloody calendar”.

 

Variety

So with this calendar in mind, I tried to get a mixture of the furry and the fluffy, Just look at June and December, Bees are fluffy too, check August. I don’t recommend stroking one though. There is a bit of blurb on the calendar explaining a little bit about each image. There is also some info on image use.

Some studio work is also in the calendar with some cosmetic stock related images and a bottle of ice-cold beer.Calendar showing wire binding

 

Quality

It is very important for me trying to brand myself that I get the best quality for a fair price. This Calendar printing company by far met my expectations in terms of printing and producing a product that I could add my name too. They even managed to get the early May bank holiday (VE Day) in the right place and I didn’t know it was changing.

The 2020 calendars come pre-packed in poly bags. Customers know that they are getting a product straight from the printers. As a result, these Calendars are hot off the press.

My Calendars are wire bound so you can fold over or just rip off to reveal the next month to see whether you have a nice holiday coming up that month or how long until payday. Enough of my calendar habits.

Delivery Options

Although I’d love to hand-deliver every calendar (and boy do I need the exercise) it’s simply not possible. For that reason, there is a flat rate postage and package delivery charge for this item for UK wide delivery. You can, of course, choose to place an order and collect from me. I may throw in a cup of tea and a biscuit. Oh, the selling tactics are shameless.Back of Anrew beck photography 2020 calendar

Cost of this locally produced quality product.

What we’ve got to pay for it? Doh. Yep and its great value at only £8.99 which represents good value for and A3 sized beast as this is. At this size, it shows each image off at its best. This gives you more room to add notes etc like paydays and holidays.

If you have started to make eye contact and have been sold then please click here to be taken to the Calendar more info page.

There is a golden ticket inside one of them. The finder gets a tour around my special photo factory. Stop it. No, they don’t, but I may still throw in the cup of tea and biscuit. Reluctantly I can’t send tea and biscuits through the post. Royal Mail frowns upon such actions.Detailed shot of calendar

Summary

So to sum up, a quality locally produced A3, wire bound, calender with quality images. Something for everyone male, female and a good stocking filler for Christmas.

If you would like one, please click below. Thank you.

BUY

 

 

 

 

calendar page showing dates and a fox photograph

Andrew Beck photography calendar page showing dates and an image of a stunt horse rider

beach hut

Beach Huts

Beach Huts

Beach huts are quite a photographic cliche – every photographer tends to snap a colourful beach hut once in a while.  For me, whenever I came across a possible subject, it was always a murky day.  However, last week on Hayling Island as the sun was going down I spotted these. I didn’t have a tripod to steady the camera so an ISO of 800 was set to allow me to use a faster shutter speed and stop any camera shake. Not a bad image to get just as I was on my way to the chip shop for dinner.

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, People walk passed Gravesend clocktower en route to the town center, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi Parade Gravesend

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, Ceremonial swords on display as the parade leaves the Gurdwara, Vaisakhi parade, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

The colourful Vaisakhi parade took place in Gravesend this weekend, on a warm day for this time of year.

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, women taking part at the Vaisakhi parade, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

As usual the place was buzzing with atmosphere and the site and splendour of this annual event didn’t disappoint. Plenty of music accompanied the event also.

Invitation

The Sikh community put on a big show with singing, dancing and martial arts – a display that brings the whole community together. It is an historic event where Vaisakhi marks the Spring harvest in the Punjab for farmers in Northern India. It also celebrates Vaisakhi day when, in 1699, the 10th guru of the Sikhs Gobind Sing Ji established the Khalsa Panth which is the community of the committed Sikhs, and this is still practised today.

Route

The Vaisakhi festival runs from the Gurdwara on a circular route around the town centre.

Gravesend 14th April 2018, UK, Boy gets instruction at the Gurdwara temple

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Isle of Skye

 

Isle of Skye

I have just returned from a recent trip to the Isle of Skye where I was hoping for a photo of the Old Man of Storr – a large Pinnacle of rock standing 50m high. Unfortunately, as usual in these parts, the weather closed in. Luckily, when the ship left Portree and took to sea again, the mist cleared and I just managed to get this shot in before it appeared again.  You may have to squint at the image on the right to see the Old Man of Storr.  It is near the top of the mountain in the centre of the photo.

There is no doubt that I will visit the area again – the Isle of Skye is where I proposed to my long-suffering and patient girlfriend, Claire.   Let’s hope we have better weather next time!

Old Man Of Storr Isle of Skye

My patient Girlfriend with engagement ring.