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ePHOTOzine trip to Mole Hall - ePHOTOzine members take a trip to Mole Hall Wildlife Park.
Driving through the sleepy Essex village of Widdington on a calm, sunny Sunday morning sets the scene for the latest meeting of the Motley Crew.
Group picture from left to right; Terry (Boyd-Longley), Mike (Greyheron 53), Ryan (Mephistopheles), Sharon (Aunt Sally), Chris (Vfr400), Shirley (Shirley), Dave (Onewildworld) & Ian ( characterboats)......Siobhan (Fizz) was looking after the gear, bless her.
|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 welcome!