As you may have read on our About page, I am deeply in love with wildlife and nature. I love nothing more than getting lost with my long lens and connecting with the trees, plants and animals that are part of our existence.
Most especially, I love birds. Some of my earliest memories are of my Dad getting out the bird books and showing me the hundreds of amazing species that lived around us. I was born and raised in Cornwall, so there was plenty of countryside and coastline to go looking for these beautiful airborne beings.
I’m now a resident of central London, an amazing but insane place to live, and whenever possible I venture out with my gear and go looking for peace, greenery, and the chance to get a few shots of some birds. You may think that in London this is difficult, but you’d be wrong; there are many amazing places in our capital to shoot wildlife ( a subject I intend this year to publish a book on – stay tuned), and yesterday I went to a favourite place, near which which I am profoundly lucky to live – Richmond Park.
Richmond Park was created by Charles I in the 17th century and is the largest of London’s royal parks. It is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation, and if you walk slowly and connect with your surroundings, there is an amazing amount of species to see there. All the images in this blog are from yesterday, apart from the deer which I took a few weeks ago. For those of you who interested, I am using a Nikon D810 with the amazing Sigma 150-600mm contemporary lens.
Entering the park through the Richmond gate, I turned right immediately, then right again to go away from the road and into the wooded area that leads to Poet’s Corner and Petersham Park. I like this part of the park as it always quiet and I’m usually greeted by some small woodland birds. However, today it seemed deserted by my feathered friends, but as I neared Petersham Park I saw this beautiful female Kestrel.
She sat there for a long time, so long that after a while I felt like I was doing a portrait session. I got lots of good poses from her.
Finally she dropped down to the floor, grabbed what appeared to be a mouse and flew off. My attempt to follow her was thwarted by a large fir tree obscuring her trajectory. I stood, catching my breath and contemplating the wonder of my encounter, as I always do when I see a bird of prey, when she came back to the tree in from of me. I couldn’t believe my luck, but then I realised it wasn’t her but ANOTHER KESTREL!
I always consider myself very lucky to see a bird of prey when I’m out with my camera, but to see two is a double privelege and I was feling very lucky at this point. Little did I know, I was in for another treat later on in the day.
Strolling onwards, I came to the rear of Pembroke Lodge (see video below), a beautiful Georgian mansion, now a hotel. Kizzy and I will be shooting a wedding there in the Autumn of 2019 so look out for that blog.
After my Kestrels had flown off I made my way southwards towards Ham gate, whereupon I came across some lots of squirrels, and some Long-Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds, and Parakeets.
As I emerged from this wooded part of the walk into more open country, I saw a plump shape in a tree in the middle distance. I thought it was probably a pigeon, but on looking through my long lens I saw a Little Owl! I became absurdly excited and prayed it wouldn’t fly off before I could get a bit closer, and thankfully I got a couple of decent shots before it took flight.
Needless to say at this point I was totally stoked at seeing two kestrels and an owl. For someone like me that’s pretty special. You don’t often see owls during the day.
After my friend had flown off I decided to go over to the lake where there are lots of birds, including one of my favourites – the Grey Heron.
Following my visit to the lake, I decided to head for home, which I did by walking towards Sheen gate. But I’d not had my fill of birds just yet as I had yet to bump into a Robin, a Green Woodpecker and a Jay, the most colourful of the crows.
It goes without saying that a trip to Richmond Park is not proper if you don’t see some deer. Unusually I did not see any on my walk. I have therefore included this shot of a Red Deer stag which I took only a few weeks ago at Richmond Park. He is magnificent and this collection of images would not be complete without him.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this jaunt away from weddings. My aim is to show you something different and to convey my passion for nature and wildlife. It is something I try to instil into my wedding photography. I wanted also to show you that, even if you live in the inner city (as I do), you can capture so many beautiful animals and birds just strolling along with your camera. No long hours waiting in hides; no huge bags of kit; no long journeys; just you and your camera, walking slowly and paying attention to your surroundings.
Next week we’ll be back to the wedding stuff again with a stunning wedding I shot a while ago for John & Katie.