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March 6, 2018
Some photos from our first visit to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary in the New Forest back in the autumn of 2016. Mostly abstract shots of trees and some cobwebs but a couple of pics of actual deer thrown in for those expecting the obvious. I actually took a fair few of the deer but they are all shockingly similar and I don’t really own a long enough lens to make them worth the effort. It was a lovely place to visit and we go back every year now, although we have never seen as many deer as we did on the first visit.
The sanctuary itself is a short (2 minute) walk from a car park with decent facilities (toilets/picnic tables/shelter). There’s a deer viewing platform with information boards about the type of deer you are likely to see there. You can walk a decent way around the edge of the meadow where the deer tend to gather which has low fences and good cover, so assuming you don’t screech like an overexcited weasel (some of the other visitors were) you can sit quietly and watch the deer do their thing, which mostly consists of them sitting watching you do your thing. When we visited there was a little exhibition and talk by the forest rangers about the deer. I have no idea if this is a regular thing, I hope so.
I’m fortunate in a sense to live with a small child who feels sleep is a waste of good adventuring time, we arrived shortly before 9am and enjoyed the peace and quiet (and the deer), by the time we were back at the decent sized car park about 10 it was absolutely full, along with plenty of visitors parking dangerously and illegally along the narrow country roads. Clearly the deer are a bit of an attraction. Aside from the ruminant wildlife appeal there’s a really good selection of nice forest walks (firm paths, regular benches, no aggressive gradients). There are also, alas quite a lot of other people as the day wears on, so we ran away and ate a massive lunch.
Incidentally, the few shots I have of deer here were from off in the forest slightly away from the main viewing bit.
November 13, 2017
As part of the process of re-igniting my creativity to actually make some art again (and because I’m too bastard tired at the moment) I’m sorting through my photo sets. Here are some nice photos of owls and other birds of prey taken at one of my favourite places: Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in the New Forest.
We all have annoying habits, my family as the mental six legged consolidated entity that they are have the habit of having EXACTLY the same holiday every year. It’s nice to do the same thing repeatedly until you are no longer aware you are even doing it. Or from another perspective you can really get to know a place far more deeply and richly than on a single visit. You decide.
As part of our pre-ordained holiday process we visit Liberty’s on the first day of our holiday (followed by lunch with my family who live nearby and a trip to the local farm shop to stock up on food for the week). I like it there, it lacks the sleekness of many modern tourist attractions and gives the impression that it’s real purpose is the wellbeing of the animals rather than the entertainment of the humans, for this I salute them. They have a lovely selection of birds of prey of various sorts (I’m afraid much as I love wildlife I’m terrible at remembering what half of it is called so refer to pretty much everything as “Terry”). There’s also the reptile room, also wonderful, I again lack the mental prowess to remember what’s in there outside of “Lizards”.
TheChild loves it there, mainly because he adores animals. TheWife loves it because they have a “Little Owl” YES that is actually a type of owl. Look it up. The gift shop is not overwhelming and they make a nice cup of tea. It’s pretty much a perfect day out for a small child who likes owls. Although I’ve never been too keen on trying wildlife photography it seems a waste to not take a couple of pictures while a small child excitedly drags you on to look at the next feathered beast. Is it technically wildlife photography if they are in captivity?
Here’s a small selection of photos from Liberty’s taken during our daft Autumn holiday in 2016.
April 27, 2017
Long hours and seemingly endless work pressure and the last three weeks have been a blur of stress and anxiety, the anxiety never really kicking in until the stress starts to drop for a couple of hours at which point it sneaks in though a cranial back door to slap me round the metaphorical face for daring to relax. I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine I’M NOT FUCKING FINE. (I am fine, all is under control).
I always get trigger happy with the impulse buying at such times. With no time allowance for relaxation (wake up, work, sleep, repeat) and little opportunity to leave the house I spend the few minutes down time I have each day browsing tat on the internet. It’s a self destructive habit and I know it at the time but I do it anyway. Last week I bought Warhammer Quest: Shadows over Hammerhal (looks lovely, can’t afford it, don’t have time to play it), most of the albums of Grace Petrie (beautiful and makes my cry a lot) and a Crenova Trail Cam the trail cam caused great excitement for the family and although I do regret throwing money we don’t really have at tech we don’t need it’s already proved a great addition to our tat mountain. First night we used it in the garden we got some footage of a hedgehog we were not aware we shared a space with snuffling round the garden.
Since then we have managed to capture:
I’m enjoying trying different places to put it round the garden for best results. So far I’ve learned to not put it too low down as otherwise it gets coated in dew which doesn’t damage it (as far as I know) but does make for blurry photos, also having it too near the ground causes wind in our expertly unmown lawn to set of the motion detector.
Here’s our tiny visitor, which my child has kindly named ‘Hedgehog’.
September 4, 2016
I’ve been kicking through the long grass, ferns and ant battalions of Burnham Beeches recently. Working in Bourne End has it’s positives but the same spaces every day begin to lose their interest and the hard walk up Hedsor Hill which on a good day is bracing becomes a chore when anxiety is tactlessly scratching at my nerves. Work became hectic and I needed an escape so I’ve started driving out to the beeches. It’s not such a trek, and I probably get more use of my time as traveling on foot I lose the first 15 minutes of any journey just getting off the industrial estate and into the countryside.
I had forgotten what a varied and beautiful environment it was and there’s so much of it I’ve never explored. In an hour’s walk I can find meadows, deep woods, beautiful swathes of foxgloves and inquisitive deer, although only the latter on days I forget my camera. My ankles have seen more insect bites over the last couple of months than in a long time but I’ve renewed my love of this tranquil seclusion which I live so near to but rarely visit. If I can keep my focus now that autumn is here I’ll try and spend a couple of hours with the camera and field recorder putting something a bit more involved together.
Here’s a selection of recent shots of the wildlife of Burnham Beeches. Full set is here.
October 17, 2015
Due to a whole bunch of unnecessary nonsense I’m no longer working in Maidenhead but have relocated to Bourne End, which is not so bad. One of the great positives is it’s much closer to assorted agreeable outdoors places including Burnham Beeches. I escaped work a little early the other day to have a wander round and take some photos. I really struggle with photographing forests and am utterly in awe of Scott’s photos of the forest around Stonor so it was good to get in some practice. I was happy with a couple of the landscape shots but overall more satisfied with the forest floor/fungi shots.
I wanted to try some self portraits in the forest, but struggled a little to get the settings right. I’ve not uploaded the results yet, will see how I feel once I’ve gone through them again. The attempts did make me realise I need a decent tripod or some way to easily carry around my ancient and horribly bulky existing tripod.
Complete set is on Flickr here (although mixed in with a bunch of photos from a couple of years ago, new ones are nearer the bottom).
August 5, 2015
I’ve been out practicing with the camera at Braywick Nature Centre on my lunch breaks (also I need to get some exercise before I can no longer fit in any of my clothes and I need some peace and quiet before I explode and take out most of Berkshire). It’s only a ten minute walk from my office in the centre of Maidenhead and it’s usually devoid of anyone other than the occasional dog walker.
There’s a beautiful array of wildflowers at this time of year and if you’re quiet you can see a whole host of wildlife, I’ve spotted herons, kingfishers, several armies of ducks, deer, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, weasels (I think) Green Woodpeckers and all the assorted wild birds and insects you would expect.
I’ve made a video slideshow of some of the pictures I’ve taken there recently along with an audio track recorded on the moorland there.
Here’s a few of the photos, you can see the rest on flickr.
You can read more about Braywick Nature Centre.
You can read about the Save Braywick Park campaign on Facebook.
Incidentally, I’m making more use of my Facebook page now, please pop over and give it a like for semi-regular updates and links to artists I like – Anxious Silence on Facebook.
I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).
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