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July 2015



Sundew at Dawn



A trip to Dorset to photograph wildflowers is a fine thing to do, unless you pick the hottest day of the summer and go to meadows where there is no shade whatsoever and where the sun is beating down and the winds are blowing all the flowers and insects.  Never have I wanted to stop photographing quite so much in my life!  We picked up a few bits and pieces by aiming for the deep shade, or creating it. 

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I think the highlight of the day (after the long climb up a hill) was standing and watching the sun setting over Corton Denham village.  I have learned to enjoy standing in the same spot and watching the light change and trying different compositions until I get something that I like. Trouble with me is that I can never remember what I took 5 minutes before so I just keep on taking frame after frame.  I'm very grateful to Guy Edwardes who knew that at this time of year, there is just a slim chance that the setting sun will strike the church tower... Beautiful!  The setting sun sent rays up into the sky that looked like a scene from a sci fi movie.  Awesome... as they say in America.

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We found lots of damselflies but none of the dragonflies that I had been looking forward to.  It was so hot that they were already on the wing long well before dawn and our hunt was in vain.  A bog full of Sundew plants seemed a very poor substitute and damned hard work.  These teeny plants are no more than 2cm to the top of their sticky traps but at this time of the year the flower spikes are another couple of centimetres taller.  So... there's no room for a tripod. To photograph the blessed things, you have to lie full-length in the bog (stressing about squishing more Sundews) and get your camera body as far into the sphagnum moss as possible so that the lens is touching the surface of the bog.  It's back aching, neck aching and a pain in the rear... until the first rays of sunshine strike the sticky blobs on the end of each trap and send out sparkles of light.  I was mesmerised!  Aches and pains forgotten, this was photographic magic... a chance to be creative and play with the light and then there was the teeny weeny toad! Bless her, she crawled about the moss and kept 'hiding' in the Sundew plants.  Oh, and the miniscule fungi that was surrounded by the glow of Sundew. Does anybody know what it's called?

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The other highlight of July was a trip to Mull with Neil McIntyre, Cathy and Sarah... to try to learn to find and track otters.  I think of all the islands that I've been to in Scotland, Mull is probably my favourite. And just because you know that there are otters there, it doesn't mean that they are easy to find or photograph!  My few photographs are included in my otter gallery and you should know that I really worked hard for these images!  Running over seaweed covered rocks carrying a Canon 1DX and 500mm lens is bloody difficult.  My appetite was whetted for more of the same so I will go back in 2016 and attempt to improve.  Please have a browse around the Mull gallery.