Off the Beaten Track

I am lucky enough to live near one of Nottingham’s best nature reserves – Attenborough Nature reserve – if you live in the UK and haven’t been here, I really recommend it. Often, I will wander here with the camera, hoping in a very opportunistic way, to be in the right place at the right time to capture a little wildlife magic.

Now, I know that goal-less wandering with a camera will always yield fewer results than a committed stakeout in a hide of an area where interesting things are known to happen, but here’s the thing; if you sit for 8 hours in a hide, and photograph every interesting thing that happens, you will share those photos with whoever else was in the hide with you. They will have almost exactly the same images, and to me, that reduces their personal value. So I like to roam.

A few years ago, I was walking slowly around an area that I know well, and decided to leave the usual path and take a little meander that goes to the end of an overgrown pontoon and back. Very few people come here, because it doesn’t go anywhere. When I reached the end, there was an adult swan, accompanied by a single cygnet. I approached carefully, and was able to sit on the edge of the pontoon, about 10 ft away, without the swan showing any particular concern about me being there.

In the brief time we spent together, I was able to quietly capture feeding behaviour that I haven’t ever seen before, and the white bird with dark water was almost a ready made, gorgeous black and white

June17c 4star-3

A pleasing shot, and more importantly, a personal one. No one else was there to see or capture this, and to me, that makes it all the more valuable!

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*Originally published on 11th June 2017

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