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Welcome!

Whilst I’m sure that many of you are already following the progress of 2020VISION on Facebook and through our News page, may I now welcome you to ‘Photographers’ Diaries’, a grand name for a blog! This is where our Pro Team of photographers and videographers as well as the 2020VISION Young Champions will be revealing their tales from the field, funny anecdotes, and stories behind the 20 iWitness Assignments that we’ll be covering over the next 20 months. We’ll be bringing you their latest stories, images and video clips as they come in, keeping you right up to date with what’s happening. Enjoy and please get involved with your comments and feedback.

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Posted in General | Tags | 2 Comments

Using photography to engage and inspire young people in Solihull

Ever since I discovered ecology and conservation at University I knew I wanted to pursue this as a career. I was therefore delighted to get a job with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust as a youth engagement officer. This feeling of delight was tinged with a slight sadness that I would be leaving the Great Fen, where I had spent so many magical hours as a Young Champion photographing the wildlife there. I did not want my connection with 2020VISION to end and even though I didn’t know how. Little did I know that my new job would offer me the perfect opportunity to do just this and spread 2020VISION’s message to the wider world!

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Posted in Young Champions | Tags , , , | 3 Comments

High-rise hunters

In my last blog about the urban peregrine falcons that inhabit the towers of the Houses Of Parliament, I mentioned I had the opportunity to go up the Victoria Tower (the tallest tower at the opposite of parliament to Big Ben). During my first trip up this tower, I didn’t have much luck. For the two hours we were up there, it rained for a lot of the time and peregrines don’t like rain so their activity was minimal. However, the second time I went up, back in September, I had a lot more luck and got some of the shots I was after. Going up the tower has two advantages, firstly, it gets you much closer but most importantly, you’re at eye level or looking down on the birds so it’s possible to fill the background with buildings as opposed to just the sky. For me, it was essential that I set them in their urban environment.

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Posted in More than just urban green space, Young Champions | Tags , , , | 2 Comments

An alternative view of pondlife

I spent all of last spring (so it seemed) in or around ponds, trying unsuccessfully to photograph frogs and toads underwater for 2020VISION. If I got in (only possible with large ponds), I stirred up clouds of fine mud, but if I lay at the edge and lowered my large underwater camera housing in, the weight of it led me to a slow but inevitable slide headfirst towards the water, only ended when my husband Brian responded to my plaintive cries and dragged me back.

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Posted in iWitness, More than just urban green space | Tags , , , , | 6 Comments

Brownsea Island’s avocets

Last winter, I set myself the task of shooting avocets for 2020VISION. They’re brilliant little birds; stunning black and white plumage and a long thin bill that subtlety turns up at the end which they sway side to side in shallow waters to find invertebrate crunchies. Images of avocets aren’t exactly rare so I tried to be different by putting an urban spin on them. That doesn’t mean to say I tried to photograph them in central London, I just tried to show them along side man rather than in a picture perfect, untouched estuary, on the Norfolk coast.


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Posted in Young Champions | Tags , | 2 Comments

Glenfeshie – restoring Caledonia

How cool is it that one of the most ambitious restoration projects in the UK is happening in the back garden of my next-door neighbour? OK, I’m stretching the truth of it just a wee bit. Glenfeshie Estate’s back garden is nearly 50,000 acres. It’s a chunk of some of Scotland’s wildest country and although technically, they are a neighbour, it takes me nearly an hour to drive through the estate and follow the winding tracks up into the hills to my chosen viewpoint.

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Posted in iWitness, More than just some hills, Scottish uplands | 4 Comments

Carbon capture

The origins of this latest image in the series of conceptual pictures for 2020VISION came about almost two years ago when the team was knocking about ideas for illustrating carbon sequestration and the importance of bogs in this respect. The idea of digging holes to bury bags of C’s was a close as we came to anything at the time and the idea went on the back boiler until recently when, with deadlines looming, I got myself into gear.

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Posted in iWitness, More than just a peat bog | Tags , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections of a Young Champion

With the photograph-taking period of 2020VISION coming to an end, it gives me an ideal opportunity to reflect on the past sixteen months during my role as Young Champion. Being fortunate to grow up out in a remote countryside village, I really jumped at the opportunity to communicate to others how amazing the natural world is when we get up close and personal with it. And using photography – a medium I love – made the whole experience that much more exciting.

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Posted in More than just urban green space, Young Champions | Tags , , , , , | 7 Comments

Finding some Headspace

Almost 2 years ago to the day I pressed the shutter with my camera pointing at a pure white ptarmigan high in the Cairngorms and in doing so bagged my first shot for the 2020VISION project. Recently, I undertook my final assignment and what a difference in habitats. The Cairngorm Mountains are high, rugged and remote. Morecambe Bay is low, flat and surrounded by industry. As such, it’s not the easiest place to work. The forecast was mixed and with a short window of opportunity, I have to say I felt a wee bit pressured. The likes of Chris Gomersall, David Tipling, Danny Green and Mark Hamblin had already fed fantastic images into the story I was following – that of the UK’s estuaries and saltmarshes being ‘More than just mud’. So my task was simple: evocative scenics in dramatic light. Sounds straightforward on paper – trouble is I don’t know the area very well so I had to hit the ground running.


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Posted in iWitness, More than just a salt marsh, Morecambe Bay | Tags , , | 1 Comment

Family fun in the Fens

Last month I had a wry smile to myself as it was 20 years ago that I jacked in my day job and became a professional wildlife photographer. There have been many highs and lows along the way but I’ve survived. Not necessarily by good judgement either. It was a recent trip deep into the Fens on a mission for 2020VISION that got me thinking about one particularly ill conceived purchase I made 20 years ago. Leaving my job with a fat redundancy cheque, I had always dreamed of an MG Midget. Having had to give back my company car I needed wheels, so a Midget seemed the answer. If there is a more impractical car for a wildlife photographer it has to be an MG.  Not great along farm tracks or pulling up on to verges, no security – a 3 year old could open the boot – and high maintenance. I could go on, but it was the maintenance to get the thing through the MOT that was the killer. On the plus side, girls seemed to take to riding in it with the hood down, except those that had been to the hairdressers that day.

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Posted in Cambridgeshire and East Anglian Fens, iWitness, More than just a wetland | Tags , , | Leave a comment

Crane Chorus Lines and the Next Generation

Rambling through Somerset’s Levels and Moors was once a tranquil experience, accompanied by a gentle rural soundtrack of churring grasshoppers, lowing cattle and singing skylarks.  Today, the raucous chorusing of excitable Cranes adds a noisier note.  These huge birds are back, on the increase and they’re making a right song and dance about it. Their primeval calls send tingles down my spine and fuel an obsessive urge to document the historic return of the Crane to one of its ancient haunts.


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Posted in More than just a wetland, Somerset Levels | Tags , , , | 3 Comments