Returning to my digital passion
At university, I’ve had the pleasure to experiment and explore a variety of artistic mediums in photography and filmmaking. Because of this, I’ve tried to focus on improving my skills in areas that have meant moving away from digital photography for a while. However, for my final project at university, I will be using digital photography to create a contemporary art sculpture, which means I can return to my interests of simply going for walks in nature, to seek out and photograph as much wildlife as possible.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m back, and this is the first of (many) more blogs to come!
I want, first of all, to inform everyone that I am incredibly privileged: I live in a caravan (wait for it) outside the civilised realms of my university town, Falmouth, and live amongst a variety of habitats occupied with a dynamic vista of wildlife and landscapes. South of my Caravan - a ten-minute walk away - there is a beech woodland that I often visit, which encompasses a profuse variety of wildlife. It is particularly special because it homes a family of badgers which I am particularly enamoured of; not to mention the rare sights of the red fox leaping through the spacious cathedral trees; or the abundant variety of birdlife that sings from the cathedral-like setting…I can go on, but this is meant to be a small introductory blog. More woodland spectacles to come in the future.
Caravan. Photo creds: Ben Porter
Surrounding the caravan in every direction is your typical Cornish countryside hills; Myself and Ben (caravan mate) often follow the tracks of deer, badger and foxes to explore the vivacity and wonders of the outside world, looking for wildlife but to also ensure we get our much-needed dose of nature’s everything. North of the caravan lies two life-abundant lakes surrounded by oak woodland and some farmland fields.
As I took a walk to the woods yesterday, I thought it was only fair to take my camera to the reservoirs for today’s amble.
For once it was sunny, and the light was opportunistic; I had every incentive to go out, it being a photographic endeavour into nature. I first noticed a flock of fifty or so Chaffinches fly overhead, but could not ignore the active winding countryside roads I was on - it was not safe to start taking photographs quite yet. A short 10 minutes after leaving the caravan I arrived at the first reservoir (Argal reservoir) which proved to be neglect of wildlife; it was bleak but soothing, the passing clouds were mesmerising, kindling a moment’s pause for nothing but thought.
After getting lost in the landscape of Argal reservoir, it wasn’t long to reach College reservoir; greeted by a tiny Goldcrest next to the entrance of the nature reserve. Typically dotting around erratically, it proved to be an incredibly difficult subject to photograph, particularly amongst the complex and dense branches of a tree I could not quite Identify. Moving along the designated path I couldn’t help but reminisce other memories of moments of wildlife here, flashes of bullfinches, Firecrests and jays came to mind, as well as the jumping squirrels, light bursting canopies and that fox I remember Ben pointing out…I felt thirsty to witness such sights once more. I think once you truly realise the astonishing complexity and beauty of nature and all of its perplexing qualities, seeing more of it can become an innate addiction. And this only does good for your mind, spirit and body.
Buzzard. Sitting in a spot I often I expect to see him/her: on a bare-leaved tree looking out to the empty, partially flooded fields of green, cut grass. Usually, they are quite timid around here and often fly off when one stops to scrutinise, but he/she stayed longer as it appreciated the rare mid-day sun. Redwings scatter from oak tree to oak tree (small thrushes from Scandinavia that winter here in the UK), which I was happy to see the presence of as I felt I’d not appreciated them enough this winter – such beautiful birds to watch in social affairs. Families of Great Tits flickered about, following each other, cautious of their distance to me but close enough to acknowledge their beautiful popping coloured variety of pigments. A pair of Jays. Illusive characters, they fly away from me, but soon I managed to catch up with them again, forgetting to take a photo as my goal was just to get a pleasing clear view for the eye - I love the flash of blue on their wing.
Further on down the trail, I reached an opening which allows people like myself to see the life of the lake. My first acknowledgements go to the three separate pairs of Great crested grebes which lingered romantically together far away, but close enough to get a few decent images. One of the pairs start dancing with such natural elegance and splendour, and I panic to get a picture, to focus the lens onto the dancing couple, and ruin the shot in the heat of my anxiety. Its an essential part of the artistic process to keep your composure at moments like this because it's so easy to mess it all up - which I did. I stayed here for half hour just admiring the assorted pairs of birds, not just the grebes but tufted ducks, moorhens, coots, mallards and gulls. Nothing too rare in sight but I could never have expected more.
I’ve been out for two hours now and had a fire to nurture back at the caravan. I started walking back and came across a couple of students who were also out doing photography. We share a moment conversing over photographing what was probably the same buzzard I had seen before; then, remembering the time when Ben pointed out a fox to me here, I spotted a fox in the exact same field and pointed it out to them. Staring at us as we awed at his presence: positioned in the centre of the field at midday, enjoying the heat of the rare sun - similar to the previous buzzard.
I walked off, back along the countryside roads to what you now see as my privileged caravan home.
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