Friday, October 29, 2010

Roe Deer at Spurn Point

Spurn Point really was magnificent. This lighthouse is just near the tip of the point.
There was even a healthy population of roe deer on this narrow strip of land.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sparrowhawk trap

This trap on Spurn Point is used by the British Trust of Ornithology to catch and ring birds for migration studies.
But a local sparrowhawk had better ideas for its use. I saw one rush in and as it did so all the birds scattered and got trapped by the wire. She then picked off a brambling and headed out again with her prize.

I felt sorry for the brambling, which had just made it across the North Sea. Bramblings are the Scandinavian equivalent of our chaffinch.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spurn Point

Spurn Point is a great place to see winter migrants coming in. The unique shape of this spit of land means the birds don't disperse as quickly as they would if they landed on the main land.There is also cover and food for them to stay as they recover from the long flight across the north sea from Scandinavia. I saw plenty of familiar birds there last week, including these two chaffinches taking a rest after migrating in. I actually watched this female fly in off the sea and collapse exhausted onto the road with her wings out. I helped her onto the edge of the road where she slowly recovered and then flew off into a nearby bush. This red wing was keen to get feeding and build up its strength before venturing further in land. There were hundreds of field fares, a beautiful thrush from Scandinavia. And this male northern bullfinch was so exhausted from its flight that I was able to get really close to within five feet of it as it fed on nettle seeds.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Migration Magic

How would you like to join me on a safari to see the world's greatest animal migration next year ? Wildlife photogrpaher Daryl Balfour and I are going to guide a safari to see the wildebeest migration in Kenya's Masai Mara .

We've timed the trip to coincide with the dramatic river-crossings, when a million wildebeest and zebra plunge into the crocodile-infested Mara river.
Daryl has extensive experience in leading African safaris and he and I will act as guides, taking a minimum of just 12 guests on daily game drives and sharing photography tips and, my own, artist's perspective. We have organised an exclusive tented camp in one of the best game-viewing areas. The camp is comprised of just seven spacious walk-in tents with en-suite facilities designed to evoke the romance of a bygone era the likes of Ernest Hemingway once enjoyed.
Your days will begin with early morning game drives to watch the wildlife spectacle as it unfolds and will end with gourmet meals cooked on open fires and served under the stars.
The trip takes place between August 17-24th, 2011.
If you are interested please come to my talk at the gallery on Thursday November 25th from 7.30-8.30pm when I will be sharing my experiences of this wonderful part of the world with you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hot off the Press

Be the first to read my newsletter when you click here and read all the latest gallery news.
There is an indepth article about my recent trip to Namibia as well as an update on the wildlife at Fotherdale and a sneak preview of the paintings I'm working on next.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Now!

I have a fantastic line-up of speakers appearing at my Christmas Exhibition and the best thing about them is they are all local.
Places are going fast so please do book now if you're interested in a guided wildlife walk through the Yorkshire Wolds, a cookery demonstration, lessons on how to make Christmas decorations and even a talk on Kenyan wildlife from me!
Here's a list of what's on. You can book by clicking on the title of each event.

11am-2pm Dates: Sat 13th Nov; Sat 20th Nov; Sat 27th Nov
Join professional birdwatcher Michael Flowers as he spots winter migrants on the Yorkshire Wolds. Tickets £7.50.

2pm-5pm Dates: Sun 14th Nov; Sun 21st Nov; Sun 28th Nov
Michael Flowers takes a series of guided walks to find these beautiful birds of prey as they soar over the Yorkshire Wolds. Tickets£7.50.

7.30-8.30pm Tues 16th Nov
Celebrated gardener Gilda Brader (whose garden in Thixendale is open to the public under the National Garden Scheme) and my neighbour, costume designer Jennie Palmer, show you how to make floral and fabric Christmas decorations. Tickets £5.

7.30-8.30pm Thurs 18th Nov
TV vet Matt Brash, who is based in Givendale, will talk about his amazing experiences with animals as chief vet of Flamingo Land. Tickets £5.

7.30-8.30pm Mon 22nd Nov
Daniel Farrell, chef of the Bay Horse at Burythorpe, shares his favouritegame for Christmas. Tickets £5.

7.30-8.30pm Thurs 25th Nov
And me. I'll be talking about the world's greatest animal migration showing you an artist's perspective on the wildebeest migration of Kenya's Masai Mara. Tickets £5.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Open Invitation

I'd like to invite you all to my Christmas exhibition which opens on November 13th and runs until November 28th. I'll be unveiling a new collection of paintings of game birds, focusing on how the jewel-like plumage of these colourful birds brightens up the dullest winter day.
To complete the Christmas theme I have laid on a series of nature walks, talks and cookery demonstrations.
So please do come and tuck into some mince pies and mulled wine whilst you feast your eyes on my collection of paintings and sculpture of fauna from around the world.
The exhibition at The Robert Fuller Gallery, Fotherdale Farm, Thixendale, North Yorkshire Y017 9LS (01759 368355) is open daily from 11am to 4.30pm.
Click here to download your own personal invitation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deer Stalk

Sometimes the efforts I go to to get good wildlife photographs for my paintings can seem a little odd to the uninitiated.
We had some friends from London staying and they were a little surprised when, after spotting some deer in a field nearby, I climbed into camouflage, abandoned the Sunday roast and headed off to photograph them. I then spent the evening playing hide and seek with this roe doe as she emerged from this cover strip.But the effort was worth it for these photographs. For more on the adventure click here to read my column in the Yorkshire Post this month.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Motion Blurring Photography

In dull light it is easy to take a photograph that gives the effect of motion blur.
But I took these photographs on a reasonably bright autumn day. I mainly shoot on manual settings nowadays, unless the light is very changeable.

As I see an opportunity, I quickly set my camera to 100ASA, or as low as it goes, and set the shutter speed to 1/25th of a second and then adjust the aperture as appropriate, taking a reading using spot metering of a mid tone or from the subject itself.I take a few photographs, panning my camera at the same speed as my subject, and then check my results to see if I need to adjust the shutter speed, depending on how fast the subject is moving. These deers shots were taken at 1/25th of a second at F16. In very bright light, you may need to use a polarising filter or neutral density filter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Studley Royal

I had a day out in Studley Royal Deer Park at Fountain's Abbey near Ripon on Sunday. I know it's not the Highlands of Scotland, but with a busy schedule getting ready for my exhibition next month it was the best I could do.
The deer rut is now on. The red deer start off the rut, followed by sika and fallow deer in November. I managed to get some good photographs, including one of this fine fallow buck (pictured above).
This sika buck.
And these two red hinds. They were boxing over some carrots that the keepers had left out for them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pick a fight with a penguin?

I'm delighted to hear that this photograph of mine is appearing in the Times, the Sun & the Daily Mail today.
It captures the moment when a giant elephant seal met its match in a comparatively tiny king penguin.
The penguin, which I photographed in South Georgia, found a giant elephant seal blocking his path to the water and gave it an almighty slap with its flipper.
But he quickly realised his error as the beast, which is 300 times heavier than he is, let out a huge roar and forced him to waddle backwards.
Luckily this was as vicious as it got and the penguin slunk off to go the long way round to sea.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Welsh Caps

The bespoke framing service is really kicking off. This week we had an international footballer in asking us to frame some of his Welsh caps! Graham Moore played for Wales during the early sixties and even scored against England in 1963. The former Chelsea player was clearly quite a hit because he was sold to Manchester United in 1963 for £35,000.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heather Honey

I took my bee hive up to feed on the heather on the North Yorkshire Moors this autumn.
It makes a good setting for a family picnic when I need to go and check up on them, although this year the weather meant wet picnics.But despite the rain my bees managed to give me 30 jars! It's not to everyone's taste, but bees fed on heather blossom produce a rich, dark honey that I love.
To read more on the subject click here to link to my latest column in the Gazette & Herald.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wren return

I have a new wren roosting in my back porch! The two that raised their brood last summer disappeared over the winter and I had missed them. It's nice to see the pouch I put up for them occupied again.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Peregrine Perfect

There's to be a focus on beautiful British game birds at my Christmas exhibition in November and although this peregrine falcon is by no means a game bird I've decided to include her all the same. I've just finished painting her and I'm pleased with how proud she looks.