From the outset it was going to be tough to get organised - as many people as
possible from the south east of England to one location at one time to take some
.hang on, hold it, rewind
..it was never going
to be difficult for God's sake! This is the South East, as Mr Carabosse described
it, the most populous part of our country and so it began. A date was set, the
first Sunday of March, the location was decided upon - a day at Wildwood, www.wildwoodtrust.org
between Herne Bay and Canterbury in Kent for the ePhotozine
South East Meet
. Watches were synchronised and the time was fixed - 10am (on
a SUNDAY morning, are we mad? No, we're photographers
A thread was started, people claimed they would turn up
others claimed they couldn't
..and so the fellowship was
born. Despite a poor weather forecast for the day, half a dozen people converged
on Wildwoods at the appointed time, they had never seen anything like it
field hardened photographers (and two wives, with cameras!) wearing an assortment
of camo gear, bright hats woolly jumpers, long coats, boots and trainers and
between them enough camera equipment to keep Jessops in business for a while.
In we went, greeted by a cold breeze, grey skies and the hint of rain (someone
had suggested that Sunday would be best as the weather would be fine
I can't remember who that was now
Planned congregation was at 10 am and in order of appearance in the car
park were Mike Taylor (Greyheron53),
Ian Andrews (Characterboats)
and his wife Shirley, Dave Newton (Onewildworld),
Terry Boyd-Longley (Boyd-Longley)
and his wife Sharon (Aunt
Sally). Apologies were received from Katie (Kyd).
The group pictured here from top to bottom Dave, Terry, Ian and Mike
|Once everybody had figured out who was who and
introductions finished, the comments about waving monopods at total strangers
across a car park started!! And that set the tone for the day. The tribe
entered the park at 10am and were kicked out at 4 pm! By that time, the
somewhat bewildered staff at wildwood knew who we were! So did another lone
photographer that wandered around for a while wondering how a Camera Club
could be based "all over the world!"
From the outset the fellowship was in good spirits, despite the lack of early
morning caffeine! We set off around the park. First up were the egrets and spoonbills,
soon followed by the deer (who thought head the cabbage was a good game) and
then the Arctic foxes
..there was one (there always is) who fancied himself
as a bit of a model, patiently he sat there while a variety of long lenses were
trained on him - he even managed a yawn at one stage! It was this enclosure
that set the scene for the day - Mike was standing on the railings, Dave didn't
need to and Ian was wondering around looking for his own shots! Sharon and Shirley
provided some useful comments, and Shirley did keep reminding Ian that he'd
been X hrs without coffee (apparently some kind of record!) as we left the artic
foxes our numbers swelled - the arrival of Terry (Boyd-longley) and his other
half, Sharon - we knew it was them as a wave through some undergrowth to a photographer
looking person elicited the same response!
At this point (and before anyone got injured, had laughing pains or gave up
the ghost) we decided to take the group photo! So the cameras were set up, the
four of us posed and the moment was captured - four lovely deer in the woods!
A little further round the fungi saga started - Dave had noticed some nice bracket
fungi and thought they'd make a nice picture so Mike obliged by re-arranging
some of the wildwood fencing to get the little clump in just the right place.
Dave set up his camera, borrowed a macro lens, added some extension tubes and
started messing around with a flash and a soft-box - much to the amusement of
..pictures were being taken left right and centre, of the assembled
group and all the while Mike and Dave fettered around this piece of fungi. Terry
added his input - some gratuitous laughter and some light hearted banter and
Sharon offered her services as a photographer's assistant to hold the soft box.
With half a roll of velvia gone, Dave borrowed Mikes 10D to take a digital snap
to see how it was going to look
..the result was ok, and we decided to
By now, Ian had found the otters and was happily snapping away as they frolicked
in the water (the otters, not Ian!) and Mike decided he wanted some of the action
so once more he found himself standing on the fence straining on his little
legs to get higher so he could see over the railings
..all seemed well
then a choice comment about the otters and valium brought him crashing to the
ground in fits of laughter - just as he was about to take the otter "shot
of the century!"
We moved on a little further to the wolves, well, wolf. And he looked like
an Alsatian! Sitting there on his bench doing nothing, until Terry mentioned
wild boar - that pricked his ears up!
Then it was back to hands and knees as Dave decided on trying to photograph
some drops on a little honeysuckle sapling and Mike thought the moss looked
particularly attractive! With reflectors set up, the breeze abating and the
shots taken, we moved on.
|Having taken a good circuit of the establishment,
stopping from time to time to take the odd photograph, the group decided
that this was an ideal opportunity to sample the cooking at the Wildwood
café - and very nice it was too! With chips all round, some with
Lasagne, some without and Ian consuming coffee like it was going out of
fashion, lunch passed in a blur of discussion - mainly about ePz and how
great it is and how it could be improved in places We also discussed Kyd's
..and how she would have been better coming (Kyd, if you're
!) At that point it started to rain, and then rained
some more. After an hour in the café we ventured back out to begin
a second and slightly longer circuit, leaving the women, who'd quite wisely
opted out, to sit and chat inside!
This time the forest area to the back of the park was also taken in,
where were found a couple of unexpected extras such as a group of wild
boar piglets being guarded by Daddy!
The foxes were our first port of call - it was feeding time! And there
was one fox who was intent on the attention that four camera lenses give!
He ran around, came and had a look, moved away to a long shot, moved back
in for his close-up, got really close (we discussed the need of a macro!)
and then disappeared to be fed!
past the egrets we went, watched them all scamper away from the keeper, only
to return when the food had been put out, then onto the Pine Marten, who was
busily burying his food for later! The artic foxes had all but disappeared,
the deer were still playing with the cabbage
..and then we found the wild
..Terry resisted cooking them, but Ian was intent on smoked pork!
The even had suckling piglets! The boar unfortunately we in a dark forest area,
not great for photography on a grey overcast day with a light rain falling but
we did try!
Further round we found a red deer herd feeding, lovely open enclosure with
great opportunities to get a natural backdrop but no real light to speak of!
Mike kept finding clumps of fungi - and then not taking pictures of them - and
we all talked about how great it would be with shafts of light here, shafts
of light there
We moved onto the polecats and ferrets - both inquisitive animals, Dave showed
his inquisitive nature by putting his hand into the enclosure and picking up
the ferrets (see his new profile pic!) and the other three took photos of the
soppy sod with a ferret
.and a big hat!
As the four men re approached the canteen,we were informed that the staff were
about to let the wolves out in order to round us up! All in all, a brilliant
day out, and the six hours was just not long enough.
As we packed to leave the law of sod was again in evidence
came out, the sky cleared and the drives home were blessed with a fabulous sunset
(well, mine was!) But we'd all had a fantastic day, some friends made, experiences
shared and some great shots taken.
The next meet has been arranged - we don't have a date yet, but at least we
have a location! If anyone else fancies joining the self titled "South
East Nature Group" (SENG) for our next wildwood meet, then please let us