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Monochrome Image Exhibit – Coppa Coffee

 Monochrome Image Exhibit - Icarus Owen

Monochrome Image Exhibit - Icarus Owen

Monochrome Image Exhibit – Coppa Coffee, 40 St Swithin St, Aberdeen

Pleased to announce that some of my monochrome images are being exhibited at Coppa Coffee, Aberdeen.

The images are part of on-going projects focussing on the north east coast of Scotland and Assynt, Sutherland.

Each image is available as a limited edition and printed to the finest quality on archival paper by professional printers.

Red Squirrels, Aberdeenshire

 Red squirrel leaping onto log, Aberdeenshire.

Red squirrel leaping onto log, Aberdeenshire.

Excuse the oxymoron but I am becoming moderately obsessed with red squirrels. Fast, agile, charismatic and often found in tricky lighting conditions make them beguilingly difficult to shoot. However the sense of achievement of capturing a shot with such an iconic species is well worth the effort.

The shot above was taken just as the squirrel was about to jump onto the tree trunk. I had noticed that this was one of several routes favoured by the squirrels and thus positioned myself appropriately.

 Two red squirrels chasing each other. Bark debris thrown up from their feet.

Two red squirrels chasing each other. Bark debris thrown up from their feet.

When photographing wildlife it is imperative to observe closely their movements, interactions and behaviour as this increases your likelihood of being at the right place at the right time. With a species as industrious and lively as red squirrels the time spent observing is a pleasure in itself.

 Red squirrel about to jump in dappled woodland light.

Red squirrel about to jump in dappled woodland light.

The image above demonstrates difficult lighting conditions that can be found when photographing in woodland. The dappled light through the tree canopy casts light and shadow areas. With luck, observation and patience a subject can frame itself within the light.  

North East Coast - The Barn, Foveron


North East Coast - The Barn, Foveron - April 2018

Pleased to announce that images from my ‘North East Coast' collection can now be viewed at the Barn, Foveron. The images are part of an on-going project focussing on the coast of Scotland. Each image is available as a limited edition and printed to the finest quality on archival paper by professional printers.
 

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Arctic terns - Isle of May, Scotland

Famed for its seabird colonies including kittiwake, puffin, guillemots, razorbills, shags and terns, the Isle of May is a wonderful location to photograph seabirds. A large colony of terns nest at the jetty at which visitors disembark. Adult birds nest in small hollows on the ground and any intrusion is met with uproar, swooping and calling loudly they will on occasion defecate on interlopers or strike their heads.

 Arctic tern sitting on nest in the rain protecting chick, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern sitting on nest in the rain protecting chick, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern chicks are typically fed with small fish which appear to vary in size depending on the size of the chick.

 Young arctic tern chick being fed small fish.

Young arctic tern chick being fed small fish.

 Arctic tern chick being fed large fish by parent, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern chick being fed large fish by parent, Isle of May, Scotland.

 Chicks are fed constantly even when wet.

Chicks are fed constantly even when wet.

As soon as possible chicks begin to test their wings and develop their strength.

 Arctic tern chick strengthening wings in the rain.

Arctic tern chick strengthening wings in the rain.

 Young arctic tern chick testing wings.

Young arctic tern chick testing wings.

As the chicks strengthen their flight muscles and gain coordination the adults are constantly catching food and bonding.

Kleptoparasitism on the Isle of May, Scotland

During July I was privileged to spend a week on the Isle of May,  a National Nature Reserve owned by Scottish Natural Heritage. The weather was typically mixed during my stay with periods of intense sunshine intermingled with drab grey skies and the occasional heavy rain shower. All of which made for exciting and varied photographic opportunities.

The puffins, for which the island is perhaps most well-known and certainly gain the majority of visitor attention, are regularly attacked by herring gulls and black backed gulls as they carry fish back to their burrows in which they feed their young, known as ‘pufflings’. Kleptoparsitism (parasitism by theft) is the term used to describe this behaviour. The puffins are physically assaulted so that they release their catch which is summarily consumed. Occasionally a black backed gull will predate a puffin, killing it.

  Puffin (Fratercula arctica) caught whilst flying by a black backed gul in to attempt to steal its food. 

Puffin (Fratercula arctica) caught whilst flying by a black backed gul in to attempt to steal its food. 

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When attacked on the ground the puffins attempt to escape as best they can either by running away or seeking refuge in a burrow.

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The puffins can outrun the herring and black backed gulls and seek the refuge of their burrows.

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Herring gull and black backed gull fight on the Isle of May Scotland to assert dominance over an area with puffin burrows so that they can undertake kleptoparasitism of the puffins.

Scotland’s North East Coast: Monochrome Collection - WASP Studios, Aberdeen

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‘Scotland’s North East Coast: Monochrome Collection’.

I am pleased to announce that I will be displaying a series of images at:

Photoghost Wasp Studios, Langstane Place, Aberdeen, AB11 6EN.

The images are part of an ongoing theme depicting the north east coast of Scotland.

The exhibition opens Tuesday 27th June

 Photoghost offers photographers and other visual artists a local, friendly and professional photographic, fine art printing and developing service. With passion for both analogue and digital media. 

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Scotland's North East Coast: A Photographic Exhibition

I am pleased to announce that I shall be exhibiting a series of monochrome images of the north east coast of Scotland, alongside my friend Douglas Weir, entitled ‘Scotland’s North East Coast: A Photographic Collaboration’.

The exhibition is curated by Grampian Hospital Arts Trust (GHAT) and shall be hosted at The Small Gallery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Opening at 18:30 – 20:00 hrs on Wednesday 19th April it shall run to Friday 2nd June.

 

 

 

Personal projects for the widlife photographer

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Professional attitudes

Many professional photographers, e.g. Chase Jarvis, Jonathon Kambouris and Jose Rosado, discuss the importance of personal projects to both practice their craft and to develop new sources of potential revenue. Specifically as a tool to demonstrate their competence in a genre to prospective clients. Amateur photographers often participate in photographic competitions or evenings at clubs which include a theme. A theme is chosen and it is incumbent on the photographer to represent the theme in their photography.  Themes can be the practical or mundane, e.g. ‘local town’ or ‘landscapes’, to the esoteric e.g. ‘life’ or ‘yellow’. It is a staple tool of art schools teaching artists and photographers and in many ways is intrinsic to developing their ability to understand and develop a client’s ‘brief’.

Theme or personal project?

I would suggest for the purpose of this discussion that the term ‘theme’ and ‘personal projects’ are interchangeable. For a professional photographer a theme is akin to a client’s brief whilst a personal project is exactly that. A photograph or portfolio of images taken for enjoyment or possible future benefit (possibly both).

To the amateur photographer, unencumbered by the requirements of clients, every shoot can be a personal project whether it has a theme or not.

Use in wildlife photography

How often does a wildlife photographer throw their camera in their bag with a casual thought of taking taking some photos? Upon reviewing their days photography how often do the same repetitive images appear in their portfolio? The classic ‘bird-on-a-stick’ imagery. With the associated slightly derogatory implications of the phrase.  

How could a theme be interpreted into wildlife photography?

Classification & distinction

Animals and birds can be classified broadly:

  • male

  • female

  • adult

  • juvenile

  • healthy / sick / injured

Behaviour also falls into broad categories:

  • feeding

  • display

  • fighting

  • predation

  • flight

  • walking / running

Often plumage or colouration changes depending on sexual maturity or season.

When taken in combination e.g. male breeding plumage displaying versus female plumage or seasonal changes, then photographing even the most common of UK garden birds takes on a whole new challenge. The photographer is not taking a photograph of a bird but a specific bird demonstrating a specific behaviour under specific circumstances. A theme is developing and from that a personal project.

Using projects successfully

To successfully undertake a project identify the parameters that require consideration. For example:

  • Season – will the species be demonstrating the behaviour at this time, if not when?
  • Location – some species only display certain behaviours at specific locations.
  • Time – animals follow patterns of activity, are they sedentary during the day but active at dusk & dawn, nocturnal, do they feed in a pattern?
  • Migratory – some species move with the seasons.

From this list a plan develops.

Benefits for your shoots

Anything that focuses the photographer prior to embarking on a shoot has several benefits:

  • Minimises the equipment taken to that required to fulfil the expected outcome – no more lenses in the bag ‘just in case’.

  • Increases knowledge  of the species in question – you need to know its behaviour, locations and patterns prior to the shoot.

  • Understanding a species minimises disturbance, e.g. interrupting displays, inadvertently disturbing nests.

  • Better planned shoot has more chance of success.

  • Less chance of missing a shot because of distractions – you have a goal.

Portfolio selection

As the photographer gains an increasingly diverse range of images of a species portfolio selection becomes easier. Images are added as they show different behaviours yet are part of the same, or similar, themes.

The selection of images within this post are all taken of one species (pine marten) from one location (my hide) yet cover a range of behaviours (climbing and on the ground) in different seasons (summer & winter) and with the animal wet and dry. The gallery Mammals of Scotland have more.

Africa in Mono - Icarus Owen

Icarus Owen Exhibition

Delighted to announce that I am exhibiting a series of prints entitled 'Africa in Mono' at Photoghost, WASPS Studios, Aberdeen, Langstane Place, AB11 6EN.

The exhibit comprises photographic prints depicting various iconic African species.

The exhibition is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 - 18:00 hrs.

Prints available for sale.

 Icarus Owen exhibiting at Photoghost, WASPS Studios, Langstane Place, Aberdeen.

Icarus Owen exhibiting at Photoghost, WASPS Studios, Langstane Place, Aberdeen.

 'Africa in Mono', series of African wildlife printed in monochrome by Icarus Owen exhibiting at Photoghost, WASPS Studios.

'Africa in Mono', series of African wildlife printed in monochrome by Icarus Owen exhibiting at Photoghost, WASPS Studios.