Archive for November, 2011

More Autumn wildlife

30 November, 2011

A last roundup for November, which saw me going to the woodlands at Kergord and visiting some more grey seal pups. Along the way, I saw blackberries, more interesting fungi and some beautiful yellow sycamore leaves. I also saw a sparrowhawk (though it was far too quick for me to photograph) but unfortunately completely failed to see the treecreeper that was in the area at the time. A couple of weeks later I made another visit to see grey seal pups on what turned out to be a fine autumn day, with warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. That was important because it’s really not a good idea to be in a fairly inaccessible place overlooking seals at the bottom of a cliff in a high wind! I had to use quite a long telephoto lens and still crop the photos quite severly to get the frame-filling shots you see here. Finally, a beautiful sunset on the walk back to the car caught my eye oh, and the sparrow was in my garden – of course!

Fireworks, Crafts and time to reflect

24 November, 2011

This year the annual fireworks display put on by Islesburgh Pyrotechnic Display Club coincided with Guy Fawkes Day and fell on a Saturday. The evening was clear and calm and made for a splendid 15 minute long spectacle. I have been photographing the display from Staney Hill for quite a few years but this year chose quite a different position to normal. Even though it’s only 10 or 15 minutes walk off Cunningham Way and I knew where I was going, it was still a challenge in the dark with a headtorch to avoid the boggy areas! But it was all worth it and I was pleased with the results – I feel that, from this angle, the lights of Lerwick form a better setting than I have previously achieved.

Later in the month I attended the annual Shetland Arts and Crafts Fair with a wide range of Austin Taylor Photography products and was delighted the Fair was so well attended, both by many new exhibitors and the public. I should like to say a big thank you to everybody who took the time to visit my stand.

On a more sombre note, Shetland has been fortunate in being able to host the travelling photographic exhibition highlighting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of August 1945. My photo shows visitors to the Town Hall  in Lerwick, where the exhibition was displayed in the middle of November. I took time to view the photographs, which are at the same time intensely moving, sometimes graphic and yet, inspirational – partly in the sense that it remains urgent to permanently rid the world of nuclear weapons. More important than that though remains the greater need to achieve a sustainable future for the planet; only then, with genuine equity between all human societies and with all of the natural world will there be any hope of an end to the mistrust that creates such waepons.


20 November, 2011

I was inspired to write this after watching a video about a chance encounter with a starling murmuration by Sophie Windsor Clive here.  Starlings are such a bird of autumn to me and even here in Lerwick I get my own flock sometimes, well if you agree with me that 30 or 40 at a time in a modest garden counts as a flock! I don’t often get to see a murmuration here, though I saw a mini murmuration over the town centre one Autumn evening in Lerwick just a couple of years ago and have looked hopefully every November since. No, the last time I saw a murmuration of any size was one time that I was passing through Inverurie, about 3 or 4 years ago. Maybe I need to make a special visit south to the Scottish/ English border one year where occurrences are more likely? Anyway, in the meantime, here are a couple of starlings from my garden and then a couple more, taking a bath at Boddam.