Spring hasn’t quite sprung just yet…but it’s on its way

Spring is here, but not that you’d know it with the grey skies today. The heating is back on and the jumpers haven’t quite been stored away yet. So let’s focus on what’s yet to come…glorious long warm nights, stunning springtime flowers and pretty insects pollinating. Bring it on! If you haven’t already done so, why not check out our springtime gallery on our Taraji Blue website http://photo.tarajiblue.com/p275742657

Review: The Nick Brandt Trilogy

This is a retrospective review of Nick Brandt’s three photography books published between 2005 and 2013, where unusually I will consume them all in one sitting. The final chapter arrived on my doorstep today (9 November 2013) and as it’s been several years since I’ve properly looked through the previous two, I want to review the whole backstory before unwrapping the cellophane. This is therefore a stream-of-consciousness blog, written as I explore the books. While there are some images included I have opted not to take shots of the primary photos, partly because I respect Nick’s copyright but mainly because I don’t think photography books should be spoiled by internet-ready third-party re-shoots of books which are expensive to produce and caringly conceived by editor and publisher. I know I want to re-read the books in sequence because I’ve seen the earlier work, I suppose, and regard it extremely highly – some of most captivating images of African wildlife, some of the most warming, and some of the most cruel. I know to do this also because I know – or assume – the way the story will “end”, because I know what has happened to Africa since 2000 when Nick

Sunset in the Arctic

I was thinking the other day about what my favourite place *to* be would be, as compared to places that I *have* been. The two are obviously conflated, but though I have seem many magical things with wildlife, most often by change, when thinking of places when I’d just like to be there and see what happens I can only think of being on the bow of a ship in the Arctic at sunrise or sunset. This is sunset, made abstract, blurring parts of the cloud layer and sea by panning the camera horizontally on a tripod with a slow exposure (0.6s). It may be abstract but to me it signifies travel, change, movement. From A to B, dissolution, fade. On a boat these are times of controlled peace. In the morning, perhaps 4 or 5am, you rise and gradually piece your polar layers around your body, velcro sticking together, thermal underwear straps wrapping around itself, gloves mysteriously missing, and bring your camera gear together – a far harder task. (“should I take a 10 stop ND filter out when there is no sun?”) To deck, and collect a hot coffee en route, and then haul open the heavy sea

Love, Fear, Confusion

Two Arctic hares on the rocky hillside overlooking Blomsterbukten, eastern Greenland. This shot is important to me because of what happened before, and illustrates why wildlife photographers need to understand nature perhaps more than they need to understand photography. Arriving on the coast via Zodiac, we split into rough groups and walked up a shallow valley to reach the lake over the hill. One small group caught a glimpse of something white on the valley slope – it was September, so the Greenland coast was free of snow. A hare! In glorious white, quietly watching the scene. Most people know hares and rabbits are very skittish and will disappear in a flash, so we slowly got prepared to set up a photograph, no sudden movements, taking time to be quiet and unobtrusive. Except for one fellow traveller. Zoom lens up, he walked directly toward the hare, perhaps unaware of his pace as he tried to grab the shot. People who are familiar working with animals may empathise when I say I could ‘feel’ the danger zone around the hare, the circumference line where it would bolt if anything crossed into its territory. I winced as I saw the photographer cross

Screw you modern conveniences…getting back to nature and loving it!

Welcome to Kolaybyn Eco Lodge in Sweden. Granted this place is not for everyone… • You sleep on wooden bed in a wooden hut • You have to walk to the composting toilets in the dark • You have birds flying into your cabin through the cracks above the door to wake you up • Room service is nonexistent – you have to first make a fire and then make your own breakfast…oh and did I mention you need to get water from the well first, taking care not to disturb or displease the fairies who watch over the well? • You have no showers, baths or running water of any variety. If you need to wash, you do so in the stream or throw yourself into the lake • Oh – and visit in winter and it is cold…so, so cold. So to warm yourselves up you light a fire… But did I mention you first need to chop the wood yourself? All the above are reasons why this place is so, so, so incredible. Given that it is a living nightmare for so many people – you’re guaranteed to only stay with like-minded people who love the outdoors