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JANUARY 2017

Horseshoe Falls, Llangollen

I had great fun attempting to photograph Jamie Greenhalgh on the River Dee.  Ok, so technically it was just before January but I won't tell, if you don't!  It was completely freezing and everything was covered in thick frost making the trees in the river valley look utterly magical.

The kayakers weren't in a huge race to get into the water!  It looked so cold.  There was a degree of faffing about and thermal layer adjustment before they eventually got into their kayaks and shot down the hillside as if they were burning rocket fuel.  The frosted grass clearly added to the speed downhill.  That is what kayaks were supposed to do, isn't it?

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I can only imagine how cold it must have been.  There just isn't a way of keeping hands warm as the water splashes down paddles and the spray from the rapids bounces up and soaks the paddlers.  I'm told that after the first few minutes, they feel warm.  They are made of sterner stuff than I am. 

Jamie was clearly in his element.  It was fun taking photos of him and I'm keen to do so again.  It's always easier to photograph subjects once you have an idea of what they are going to do!  Animals, sons... all the same.  Unpredictable at first but then you begin to see patterns emerging!

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Encounters with Otter

I've spent some time photographing wild otters before, mainly on the Isle of Mull, where if you get lucky, otters come onto the shore and sit on seaweed looking very beautiful.  They are incredibly hard to track when they're in the sea and slithering to get into position to photograph them when they come to shore to rest or eat is hard work.  Otters are the same species whether they fish in the sea or in fresh water. They were nearly wiped out in the 20th century through a combination of pesticide poisoning, persecution and habitat loss. Happily their numbers are increasing in the UK because of huge efforts to clean up rivers and waterways.

 

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It was a fantastic privilige to spend time with a family of otters in January.  It involved a lot of waiting in the cold and walking up and down river banks but to see a mum and her two almost full-grown cubs was incredibly exciting.  The cubs looked as if they were almost completely independent and if this was accurate, they were probably about to be sent packing by their mum.  There were many many magical moments.  I learnt a lot....and really hope to go back to spend more time with them.

 

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