Roaring Brook Nature Center

As someone who has taken a personal and professional interest in the local fauna and flora, since arriving in Connecticut 5 years ago, it is perhaps surprising that I have been slow to insinuate myself into other elements of the community who support nature. One such local denizen of the natural world is Roaring Brook Nature Center in the rural outskirts of Canton. (Until such time as I undertake a photo shoot at the Center, I wish to point out that the images currently used in this article are those already used by Roaring Brook Nature Center in their own page where appropriate credits can be viewed. These images were not taken by me nor do I own the copyright) My first contact was a couple of years ago when an injured Purple Finch proved to be beyond my usual rehabilitation services, and Roaring Brook was suggested to me as a suitable nursing home. The Center now provides permanent hospitality to a number of characterful creatures, from owls to turtles. Only in recent months, did I resurrect contact, when I was having difficulty positively identifying a juvenile hawk. One of my supporters who follow Woodcote Photography’s Facebook page suggested that I contact Roaring Brook as the fount of all knowledge on these matters, which I did – successfully. That in turn led to several further requests for assistance in other identifications, even though bizarrely I never knew with whom I was communicating. I was sufficiently grateful for mitigating the amount of time I was wasting aimlessly searching the web for identification by image or sound that I offered what little support for the Center that I could, through my own website and Facebook page, which was accepted enthusiastically. I wanted to understand, from a first person point of view, what Roaring Brook provided to the local community, beyond their obvious knowledge of species, and in just a short period of time it became very clear. I was met by Katelyn Stryeski, a stalwart of 8 years experience with the Center, whose enthusiasm for the organisation, and for nature generally, was almost immediately infectious. With Katelyn’s guidance I was quickly able to grasp just how much work had gone into providing an educational platform which appeals to whole families. Not only...

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Burlington Land Trust

Recently I had the privilege of meeting Paul Rochford of Burlington Land Trust, and came to understand a: how relevant this organisation is to my own work in portraying local nature and wildlife, and b: how much it deserves to be supported by the residents of Burlington. The land trust is a non profit organization which seeks to preserve and protect Burlington’s natural environment through both ownership and management of unique scenic and natural sites in and around the town. It is well worth spending a little time to peruse the Burlington Land Trust website to appreciate the hard work which is undertaken on behalf of the town, and the effort which is put into encouraging local people to take advantage of the invaluable natural resources on their doorsteps. As protective as the Trust is of the local environment, it appears to me that its ethos is essentially community driven, rather than existing for the benefit of intellectual environmentalists, and it very much deserves local...

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Josh Krajcik – On Tour – Competition Winner

Concert photography is something I really enjoy, but get too little opportunity for. Recently I travelled to Hamden Connecticut for a performance, by Josh Krajcik, whose music and voice I have been very happily listening to for many months. I knew not only that the concert would be good on my ears, but also Josh has a character about him which was going to be interesting to capture on camera. What I didn’t know was that the lighting in this small venue would be about the most challenging I have worked with. If I stood in front of the stage Josh was but a darkened figure against the back lighting; the audience, by contrast, were lit up like beacons. Anyway, undeterred, I set about the job as best I could. As it turns out, it was all worthwhile. Despite the adverse conditions, the feedback from Josh’s fans was incredibly rewarding, and more importantly 4 of the images from that evening found their way into a competition for photographs taken throughout Josh’s US tour, with the winner to be judged by the Man himself in September after the tour had completed. I am delighted to say that in the final analysis Josh determined that the particular image above was the overall winner. It was actually the first photographic competition of any kind that I had entered, and a win “straight off the bat” was a proud moment. The whole image can be found in the “Portrait / People” gallery in my Portfolio...

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Nikon v Canon – Tribal warfare

This is a recycle of an article I wrote a few years ago on a previous site, but the point exists as much today as it did then. What prompted me to repeat it here, was being asked by a novice which brand I would recommend, as they had received assertive but conflicting reports from other sources. I pretty much recited this article from memory, as my response. Amongst many novice, experienced and even professional photographers alike, there exists a tribal, almost religious fervour in support of one’s “chosen “ manufacturer of photographic equipment. This phenomenon is rife in circumstances as diverse as bar room chat, photography clubs and particularly some of the more popular and oft frequented internet forums. Nowhere is this feudal behaviour more adequately demonstrated than when the opposing sides are representing the two most popular names of Nikon and Canon. It has intrigued me as to how and why a pair of photographic equipment manufacturers can engender such devisive brand loyalty from people who would usually eschew any such allegiances in the way that they might switch credit card companies or energy suppliers. This issue should be considered in the context of comparing “apples with apples and oranges with oranges”. It is about comparing the two manufacturers’ models of equivalent levels of specification. However, the irony is that frankly, there is nothing to choose between Nikon and Canon in terms of their ability to help you achieve quality photographs. Firstly there is the mantra, most popular amongst the old school professionals who have done their apprenticeship and learned their craft, which states that it is the photographer, and not the camera that makes a good photograph. Secondly, each of the manufacturers follows any advances by the other with its own competitive model, seemingly within milliseconds. All of the popular consumer photography magazines (conventional or online) revel in producing comparative reviews. The differences are almost always miniscule, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the magazines too are to some extent biased toward one faction or the other, in much the same way as daily newspapers will align themselves politically. Of course this further compounds the tribal war cries of the individual consumers as they digest the pages of wisdom in their favourite magazine. An aspiring tribal warrior rushes to copy and paste an extract (often out of context) from a...

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“Burlington’s Back Yard” Exhibition – open throughout October

The exhibition opened as planned on Wednesday 2nd October and I was delighted with both the support of bodies arriving to view and the feedback regarding both the exhibits and the presentation. Perhaps what is more rewarding is the fact that people have shown a willingness to spend their children’s inheritance on works I have produced. I really do thank you. The venue is within Burlington Public Library and is thus subject to Library opening hours, alcohol prohibition, and the requisite level of decorum. As planned, Christine and I were delighted to welcome exhibition guests back to our home and round off the occasion. Now that the festivities are over, the exhibition will continue throughout the month. If you are making a special journey (however short) to view the exhibits I would advise you first to check the Library schedule as the venue is occasionally used for other meetings. If I can help with any questions concerning the exhibits (or indeed any of my work which you may be interested in) or the services I can provide, please do drop me  an email or give me a call. I live quite close to the venue and would be very happy to arrange to be there when you visit. I do hope you enjoy what you see there and I would really appreciate your feedback. Once again thank you so much for the support so many of you are providing.    ...

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“Burlington’s Back Yard” Exhibition – October 2013

Opening at 6:00pm on 2nd October 2013 at Burlington Public Library This is my exhibition debut, and It was tempting to display an eclectic cross section of work from wildlife to sports, and from portraits to commercial products. However, I felt that there should be an underlying theme which would appeal more to local people. How more local can the subject be than the inhabitants of Burlington’s own back yards? It is, in effect, a celebration of what has led Christine and I to set down roots in Burlington, and an endeavor to enhance Burlington residents’ appreciation and enjoyment of the natural wonders of their own yards and local woods. In dismissing a lot of material which has been shot around the world, the images of nature in this exibition were almost entirely shot in Burlington. This collection barely scratches the surface of a catalogue of over 60 local bird species, and countless mammals, reptiles, dragonflies, butterflies, all of which can be regularly found in our back yards. A few random personal indulgences have crept in, but even they still have connections local to New England.   A personal note – extract from the exhibition programme   Firstly, thank you for taking the time and trouble to visit my inaugural exhibition, and there will be no complaint if anything on display inspires you sufficiently that you feel the need to hang it on your own wall. Secondly, I am grateful to Burlington Public Library for this opportunity to put my work on display, Finally, I must thank my wife, Christine for her sufferance in bolstering my confidence to embark on this new venture ( the results of which are so much more subjective than in anything in my past career), and my good friends and neighbours for their invaluable encouragement. Initially my photography was purely to fulfill my own enjoyment, but as time has passed, that goal has altered. I try to view what I do now through the eyes of others, and it is very much my hope that you enjoy the fruits of my labours as much as I have the journey. I really do appreciate being able to share these images with you and I would value your feedback in the guest...

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Forthcoming Exhibition

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my exhibition, which was due in June, has now been delayed until October. The exhibition is due to run throughout the month of October and more details and viewing information will be published in the coming weeks. I can say that as it is a local exhibition, at Burlington Public Library, it is my intent that the material on view will largely be images of wildlife and scenery which is local to...

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Beaver Kills Photographer!

Considering that as a photographer, one of the environments in which I feel most relaxed and comfortable, is the beaver pond at the bottom of the garden, this news comes as something of a surprise. In the four years we have lived here, I have spent countless hours in pursuit of the local inhabitants, much of the evidence of which is available in these very galleries. On many occasions I have been able to work at very close quarters, but never with any thought to prospect that they might have evil intentions toward me. Perhaps in future I will be a little more respectful of their dentistry!...

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The new site is live…

Well, after many months, the new website is complete enough to fire it up online, and I crave your indulgence and feedback.   What started, I believed, as a relatively elementary process, turned out to be way above my comfort zone and pay grade, as I had chosen to develop it in a language and platform of which I had no prior knowledge or experience.   After weeks of getting nowhere fast, common sense should have told me to hand the whole thing over to a professional. In fact, not once but three times, during the design and development process, I metaphorically screwed up the paper and started again. However, due to sheer pride and stubborness, I refused to concede.   Once I had learned my way forward, step by step, and reached the point where I committed to my design path, it really became intensive. Certainly for the last three or four weeks, getting it all nailed together and functional, and integrating much of the content, has been a dawn till dusk (and beyond) job, 7 days a week. Indeed, achieving the final hurdle of getting it all up from my local development platform to the online host, tested my resilience until gone 2:00am last night. Yes, all you wordpress and php developers out there can have a good laugh!   This is still a work-in-progress, and there will be a continuing evolution of the design, the user interface, the functionality and the fixing of quirks, bugs and errors. However, just for the moment I will languish in the satisfaction that I have managed to get this online at all, and simply continue with loading in the rest of the content. – At the time of writing this, there is no content in the Architectural, Product or Action categories.   If you have the time to navigate your way around the site, I would be really grateful for any critical feedback (you can test the commenting areas as well): things you don’t find quite intuitive in navigating around, things that don’t appear to function as you were expecting, or even your thoughts on the aesthetics of the site. I may have already found some of them, but please don’t let that hold you...

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Exhibition of work – October 2013

There are plans afoot for an exhibition of my work to be put on show at Burlington Public Library, which has now been delayed until September 2013 due to unforeseen circumstances. Exciting stuff and a great opportunity to raise my profile in the local community. There will be more news and details to come, but I can say that the material on view will largely be wildlife and scenery which is local to...

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