Live in Harrogate area and started with a Zenith E, progressed to a Practica and had a Durst 35mm B/W Enlarger! To be honest as you will tell, originally it has been a second hobby to me with Squash, Football, Cycling and Beer Drinking taking the forefront. A recent "Happening" and getting old brought me to my current dilemma of pretending to be a photographer! Have become a "Canon Man" and probably spent more on equipment than I can afford. "We only come by this way once"

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First Year Of Retirement


Well I certainly had more time to fill up!! First thing I learnt was evading the list of jobs that I never had to do when I was working. "Clean the car" What!! I usually leave the rain to do that. "Wash the Windows" Ok so I did that and honestly there was no mention of the windowsills and frames to be included. " Hoover up yer mess" Well that's a fair comment but on a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner there are more buttons than on my 1DX2 and no instruction manual. "Why don't you get out of my way and go photograph something Mmmmm Ok then!!

So having escaped, these are my month by month images inspired by Rob Stubbs last blog. January brought me this Bearded Tit (Reedling) I spent 2018 camping out at -7C and never really got an exceptional shot. Weirdly this was from a place where there are few Beardies called RSPB St Aidans near Castleford. I got the safe shots then tried some into the low sun.

On one of the wife's working days in February I snuck back and decided to have a play in the kitchen. No I was not going to make a Shepherds pie but I did get my hands on the extra virgin olive oil (Get down Howard!) This shot was an oil and water shot through a pyrex dish with some coloured discs below and flash. (Not the stuff you clean sinks with!) When finished I boiled a couple of kippers to make use of the culinary products used

Exiled again in March I did another trip to St Aidans, (I make it sound like a pilgrimage!) This time for Black Necked Grebes. They actually nest here which is uncommon in the Uk, but fairly common in Southern Europe 

Felt a bit of an April Fool having Pressure washed the stone set drive and taken out all the sand grouting I decided to go on a quick escape on the hunt for Great Crested Grebes and I found this loved up pair on a small lake in the middle of Stockton on Tees. A good tip here is look on small lakes as you get a much better chance of a closer image. 

Having snapped the washing line I thought it looked long enough to be hung from a tree, ( I am on about me!) so a quick exit left me in May looking for Mayflies. I think this particular one was asking me a question about escapism!

Talking of Pilgrimages this was the Fotobuzz trip to the Farne Islands in June which was fantastic I got this shot courtesy of Andy Wakefield who noticed them on this Iceberg!!!! When I went on the trip I told the wife to get her hat and coat, she said "Are you taking me?" I said no, I am turning off the heating!

We are now into July and just passed the wife's birthday. I bought her this second hand Canon 200mm macro lens which gives you that extra distance when photographing dragonflies, damsel flies and butterflies. She wasn't best pleased, even when I told her I would get her a camera next year!

August at Staveley Nature Reserve and really enjoying the Macro Lens It does not have Image Stabilisation though and you really have to concentrate on the focusing and holding steady which I find difficult (I think it is the two black eyes I have)

September now and it brought the UCI World Championship to Harrogate. I called this shot Lonely Cyclist. He was a 17 year old lad from Toronto, back of the field having come off, damaged his knee and shoulder, wet and freezing cold not looking forward to the last few miles home ( I know how he feels!) 

October and the rain came. I was asked by my local camera club to help out at the Harrogate Rugby Union Club Ladies match against local rivals Leeds. I didn't get paid but it was fun in the showers afterwards (Rain Showers Howard!)

I got this Barn Owl on the top of Greenhow Hill Nidderdale on a cold November afternoon. I did not even have a flask of tea as the kettle had broke. Lynda told me to get a new one from Curry's on my way home made by Kenwood. When I went no-one knew who he was!! 

I went to St Aidans in December as there was talk of 5 short eared owls there which I saw but they were hunting a long way away and got a few record shots. This kestrel made up for it literally hovering in the late afternoon sun.

This brings my blog to a close and I am seeing Lynda in the pub where I am taking a couple of the now loose stone sets in with me. I order two pints and a half for Lynda, she asks why I am ordering two pints and I tell her one for me and one for the road BOOM BOOM Happy Christmas!!



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