|The meeting place was the small, but friendly
Mole Hall Wildlife Park, set in 20 acres of grounds which include deer meadows,
a butterfly pavilion, a couple of moats filled with wildfowl & offspring
& many more attractions too. It was certainly going to provide plenty
of photo opportunities for nine keen photographers & that was just the
ePHOTOzine contingent. Ian was wearing his ePHOTOzine T-shirt & many
of the other photographers were very interested in who we were. Information
was duly given out...we all felt that a badge or those baseball caps with
the logo on would advertise the site very well indeed.
The Motley Crew met in the car park at 10 a.m., half an hour before opening,
for coffee & a chat. Thanks for the rhubarb Terry, it's going down a
treat with custard & ice creammmmmm ;o) The headcount included Ian (Characterboats),
his wife Shirley (Shirley), their son Ryan ( Mephistopheles), Terry (Boyd-Longley),
his wife Sharon (Aunt Sally), their daughter Siobhan (Fizz), Chris (Vfr
400), Dave (Onewildworld) & Mike (Greyheron 53). Edward (Kit-Monster)
was unable to attend the meet as he was suffering from a playgroup bug courtesy
of his young son. Hope you are both feeling better now. Tony (Marsa) was
also hoping to attend but his girlfriend was recovering from jet lag; we
look forward to meeting you (both) at the next meet.
Our first port of call was the butterfly pavilion. After waiting for the
camera equipment to acclimatize to the hot, humid conditions (the photographers
never did...boy was it hot in there !) the shutters were soon working overtime.
A good selection of butterflies could be photographed - if you were quick
enough! - and there were I.D. charts to help put a name to a 'face'. Other
attractions in the pavilion included free flying & ground dwelling birds,
some with nests & eggs, terrapins & some rather frisky primates
which raised a laugh or two! The heat soon took its toll on some members,
who retired to the cooler climes of the cafe for some light refreshment,
while others decided to make like Rambo & don bandannas & really
'fit' into the jungle atmosphere.
After spending a couple of hours with the flutterbies we moved into the
grounds to photograph otters, peacocks, wood & mandarin ducks, flamingos,
a praying rabbit, piglets & wallabies together with many other animals
& birds. The other attraction was the lesser spotted ePHOTOzine photographer.....in
his element: crawling on the ground, adjusting reflectors, tripods &
monopods, hoping for the scoop shot of the day. Dave just feels the need
to be close to the animals.....VERY close & just grubbed on down with
the piggies in the mud. He cuddled them & tickled their tummies until
they rolled over onto their backs in pure delight at all the attention.......!
After a bite to eat & a chat, we all felt refreshed enough for another
tour of the park. We watched the otters being fed & listened to an informative
talk about their lifestyle. It was at this point that Ryan made like a monkey,
climbed a tree & bagged the best location to see & photograph the
young otters.....oh the joys of being young!
Opportunities for photography or just sitting quietly & chatting were
many & varied throughout the day. As the sun headed for the horizon
one observant individual saw an unmissable chance to photograph backlit
rushes....he had FILM in his camera that just HAD to be finished.....&
spent a very happy half an hour doing just that.
Tired & hungry after a happy day spent in great company we said our
goodbyes & departed .....but not before setting the time & date
for the next Motley Crew Meet.....watch the forums for more information....all