The Lockdown Posts

Monday, March 23rd, 2020, the day all our lives as we had known changed. The Covid-19 pandemic had taken a foothold in the United Kingdom and the Government announced that Lockdown measures are to be put in place, forcing us to stay in our homes, bar essential trips to the shops for food and some daily exercise. Our daily lives suddenly changed beyond comprehension.

The mantra became “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Protect the NHS”

Most people, like me, suddenly found themselves with more time on their hands. A lot more time. A time perhaps, to finally start some of the projects you’d been putting off for years. Social media suddenly became much more important in our lives, to help us stay in touch, communicate, inform, entertain and ease the boredom. For myself, it was a time to finally begin sorting out my large library of photos, update my software, improve my photo processing skills and make some photo books. I posted one or two pictures to Facebook, as I occasionally did anyway, but at the behest of my sister, it soon became an almost daily ritual. These would become my Lockdown Posts.


Lockdown posts on FB

A snapshot of the Lockdown posts on Facebook


My first official Lockdown post occurred on the 1st of April, and I continued posting almost daily until the 5th July, 2020, although as Lockdown began to ease, so did I, so I didn’t quite conform to posting one image every day. The end date was originally going to be the 4th of July, but I extended this to the 5th which was the 75th Anniversary of the NHS; it just seemed more appropriate.

At first, the images were pretty much selected at random, but at some stage (around late May perhaps?) it just seemed perfectly logical to make them a subject of a book. From then onwards, some of the images were paired up and chosen with the book layout in mind. Many of the images are re-discoveries or previously unprocessed and long-forgotten images, but the whole process proved quite a voyage of rediscovery and quite a cathartic one at that. It’s resulted in a bit of a Hodge-potch of 90 images, but one that provides an interesting snapshot into my photographic body of work. They are all now posted on my Lockdown Gallery, and you can see them all together here.

Thoresby Gallery Exhibition

Worksop Photographic Society “Foto – Image” Exhibition


Worksop Photographic Society are staging an exhibition of photographs entitled “Foto – Image” at the Thoresby Gallery from the 5th to 27th of July. The gallery is part of the Thorseby estate, situated near Budby, a few miles north of Ollerton, Nottinghamshire. Rather uniquely, this is the first time the gallery has staged an exhibition of photographs, normally being reserved for the display of paintings.

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The Worlds Top 10 Most Expensive Photographs

It doesn’t seem so long ago when I was discussing a picture by Australian landsscape photographer Peter Lik with a group of fellow photographers, that had sold for a million dollars. Having been to Lik’s gallery in Las Vegas and witnessed the crass commercialism first hand, I guess I wasn’t too surprised. But only in America hey? However, something the other day made me want to find out what was so appealing about that picture as to command such an amazing price. During my research I was stunned to find out it’s now not even in the top ten most expensive photographs in the world today.

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Lightroom 4 Beta Soon?


Lightroom 4 Beta to be released soon?

Lightroom 4 Beta

I was recently on a Photo workshop with a well known Lightroom 4 beta tester who also writes books on a particular aspect of Lightroom. He let slip his new revised book on Lightroom 4 is set to be delivered to his publisher in February 2012 and that we should seeing a Beta version of Lightroom 4 released very soon. He also intimated that there may be a few surprises in store especially with the Lightroom user interface, but he was pretty tight-lipped about exactly what those surprises would be.

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Uganda Wildlife – Monkey Business

Latest Picture

Baby Vervet with Mother

Since I haven’t posted much the last few months I thought I’d take the easy way out and post some pictures. This was taken in Entebbe, Uganda, not far the hotel I was staying in before travelling out to Lake Albert and my work on the oil rig. There’s a few troops of Vervet monkeys that hang around the wooded areas near the hotels, especially the Botanical Gardens and the Wildlife Centre. They are habituated so you can get quite close. Being monkeys however they don’t stay still for long and most of my shots were blurred. This one of a youngster astride it’s mothers head turned out quite nice. The late afternoon light helped. The one below of the inquisitive youngster was taken a while back. Both shot with my Canon 5D Mark-II with the EF-100-400 zoom.

Young Vervet

I hope you enjoy them!

The Eagle and the Snake

Snake Eagle Cloaks Prey

I’ve been lucky enough to work in Uganda over the last couple of years and this has given me the fantastic opportunity to photograph some of Uganda’s amazing wildlife.

I certainly don’t profess to be any sort of bird or wildlife expert, far from it in fact, and before working in East Africa I could hardly tell one bird species from another. However, when it comes to birds of prey, even they generally grab the attention of many a non-ornithologist.

The best photographs require a high degree of luck and this one was no exception

As they generally say, the best photographs require a high degree of luck and this one was no exception. A friend and I had gone for a drive within the Kabyoya Game Reserve, a small region around Kaiso on the eastern shore of Lake Albert in Albertine Rift valley of north west Uganda. We were not far from the Lake Albert Safari Lodge and much of the surrounding high savannah grass had been burnt to the ground in the annual burnings. This is a good time for the raptors, as their normally hidden prey is revealed and less well camouflaged against the blackish brown, scorched earth and stubble. Prey is on the move too, trying to escape the encroaching fire. The Brown Snake Eagle was spotted perched upon a tree top and we pulled over to take some photos. My fellow photographer sported a Pentax with 50-500mm Sigma zoom lens, me with my trusty Canon 5D and my EF 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 Zoom. Contrary to most wildlife blogs we don’t have time for tripods and hours of waiting, with just an hour or two to catch what we can. Everything is shot hand-held from the vehicle window. Image stabilisation (IS) is invaluable.


A Fleeting Glimpse

I only managed to fire off a couple of frames (being on the passenger side) before the eagle took flight. Another disappointment. We drove on, just passed the tree, when suddenly we were aware of a faint flash of something light coloured off to the drivers side, the next thing I hear is “It’s got a snake!“. The eagle had swooped down the other side of the tree and caught a cobra; the flash being the underbelly of the snake as it writhed around the Eagles talons, one talon firmly fixed upon the cobras head. We pulled up as close as we dare and started shooting as fast as possible. I had to shoot across the driver so there was no time for even thinking about composition, just grab the photo. I managed to bag 18 frames during which the eagle bit off end of the snakes tail, cloaked it’s prey, then flew off back to the top of tree grasping the wriggling cobra. I kept my camera set on AV (aperture priority), aperture wide open at f/5.6, with only the centre focus point enabled. I tried to focus on the eye and quickly re-frame. It usually works .. some of the time.

Initial Disappointment 

Snake Eagle with Prey

Original RAW capture

I was pretty sure I’d bagged a decent shot but joy turned to bitter disappointed when I viewed the frames in Lightroom later on. A long blade of dry, parched, unburned grass, arched over and blurred, appeared in the foreground of every frame, passing right across the eagle. Of course I didn’t even notice that when shooting, my eyes and lens just focused upon the eagle. The burnt stubble in the background was almost as dark and a similar colour to the bird, so the frames lacked contrast. Several frames were too blurred and beyond redemption and none of the snake parts were in sharp focus. They seemed like a lost cause. 

Re-processing worth the Effort 

Several months later however, I took another look at the images. They really they weren’t that bad. Perhaps I’d been too critical at the time. It was OK that the snake wasn’t that sharp, as long as the eagle was. Now I’m not usually one for spending time attempting photo-manipulation in Photoshop; I’m not particularly great at it, and more often than not it never quite come out looking right. However, this was one time to try. I patiently cloned out the offending blade of grass, together with a distracting leaf in the foreground, adjusted the contrast, clarity, vibrance and saturation to make the bird’s colours stand out as much as I could against the brown background. To finish off I applied a gradual blur to the background to accentuate the lens Bokeh, sharpened the eagle and cropped the frame. This did the trick. Now I had an exciting wildlife photograph, one that I was more than pleased with.

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