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Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

Photographing otters in the wild, having my D3 fall off the end of my 600mm and actually wanting to get out of the car, in just my underwear to photograph a turtle in the road during a full on tropical storm in Florida (more on that later!)…yep, it’s been a fun year photographically! As we step in to 2010 I thought I’d take a quick look back at 2009, as many of us like to do, and some of the things that stood out for me whilst pursuing my love of photography.

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has visited and contributed to my blog over the previous year. All your visits, comments and emails are always welcomed, so thank you.

The Blog
Without a doubt one of the biggest leaps forward for me this last year has been the growth of my blog. It’s just over a year old now and what started off as a very simple and basic site has now grown in to something far bigger and more involved…partly thanks to the redesign but also due (I hope) to the content I’ve put on it this year. Although said redesign did at one point have me wondering if WordPress was in fact going to send me to an early grave! However, I had over 70,000 unique visitors last year, or almost 6000 a month, which is something I really hadn’t expected so all that cursing at WordPress has paid off and the creators of it are back in my good books!

This is all still just a hobby for me so I don’t get to spend nearly as much time on it as I’d like. So I thank all of you that paid me a visit and again an even bigger thanks to those that have contributed in some way, through your comments and suggestions, I really appreciate it. Like I said I don’t always get the time I’d like to spend writing articles for it but during the course of 2010 I aim to include more trip reports, product reviews and, as you’ll have noticed from most of my recent posts…

I think this has been a great addition to the blog and is something I am really enjoying learning. I only started adding them recently but I am trying to remember to carry my little Panasonic Lumix TZ7 about with me whenever I go out shooting now. That way I can record little snippets here and there so that I can share the experience of taking the photos I do, as well as showing you the end results. I also plan to add videos to future equipment reviews and processing tips, as well as anything else that I think of. During the course of the coming year I aim to get my hands on a DSLR that also does video so that I can bring you even better quality moving images, so watch this space…

Becoming a ‘staffer’ at Naturescapes
During the later half of 2009 I had an email from Greg over at asking if I would like to go on staff as a contributing writer. Naturally I jumped at the chance and have already had some reviews published on their site. A couple have just been lifted straight from here but I will also be doing more exclusive content for them, only available at NSN over the coming months…my first exclusive review was for their Gitzo Safety Plate.

I experienced some amazing things through various trips in 2009, from having a wild Otter pop up not 8 feet in front of me whilst I lay photographing it on a rocky shoreline on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, to watching Space Shuttle Discovery lift off at Cape Canaveral, to seeing the very elusive Florida Bobcat stare me down for several seconds (of course, he managed to evade the camera…but we did see it…honest!).

Otter eating crab

Crab eating

My travels have also led me to meet some great people that share my passion for photography including and with a week long trip to the Island of Texel in Holland coming up in February, I hope that will be the start of many more adventures throughout 2010. I also recently picked up a MBP so that I can hopefully share my photographic travels with you whilst I’m still away on location – which I hope will bring an added element of interest to my trips.

Lift Off

D300, 200-400 + 1.4x, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 200

A brief appearance on TV
Back at the end of summer I also had the great experience of being on the pre-judging panel for the BBCs 2009 Countryfile Photography competition. Myself along with three other previous winners spent a great day at the Birmingham BBC offices where we were filmed for the show going through over 45,000 entries to the competition. A great day and definitely one of my more memorable experiences from this past year.

2009 was also the first year I felt brave enough to enter the very prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, with one of my images making it to the final round of judging and two to the semi finals. I never thought I would get that far but it has inspired me to enter again next year, providing I get any shots I think are worthy that is…!

Not enough hours in the day
So there we have it, my 2009 photography adventures summed up. As I’m sure many of you out there will appreciate, I often find I just simply do not have enough time to get out and make the most of the hobby I enjoy so much. My full time job and of course life in general so often get in the way of me doing what I enjoy the most. But such is the course of doing something as a hobby…but then I wonder, if I did this full time would it take the fun out of it? Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find out…but then maybe not. All I do know is, I look forward to seeing where my photography takes me in 2010 and hope you stick around as I share those experiences with you, here on the blog.

As ever, if you have any suggestions, questions or comments then do let me know. I’ve changed several aspects of the site based on feedback as at the end of the day it’s all aimed at you, the viewer, having a fun and informative viewing experience.

Have a great 2010 everyone 🙂

Hang on, what about the underwear story?!?
Oh yes, almost forgot! Guess I should explain that…basically during a visit to Florida back in the summer, we found ourselves caught out in a huge storm. I’m talking full on thunder, lightening and rain like you simply would not believe with the fields and roads starting to flood within minutes of the rain starting. Needless to say being caught out in this storm away from the car resulted in getting absolutely soaked through to the bone – as the umbrella was being used to protect my camera gear! Now, the only thing to do when you are this wet is to get out of your wet clothes as soon as possible. So that’s fine, I can handle having to drive around in my underwear if I have too – after all, to most people outside the car you’ll just look like you are topless and that is not an unusual sight in the summer months. However, in my infinite wisdom, whilst driving down a back road I spotted a turtle who was being absolutely drenched in this heavy downpour. Of course most normal people would drive on but me being a photographer and always looking for a shot saw the potential…a low level photo of this turtle with a nice slow shutter speed to show the streaks of heavy rain and splashes as the droplets hit the floor. What a fantastic shot that would be…right?

My clothes were all drenched, the rain was falling out the sky hard and fast, I had no cover for the camera and the turtle was making his way towards shelter so I had to act fast. So my plan was simple…just get out the car in my underwear, lay on the ground and take the photos! Forget the lack of rain cover for the camera and forget the lack of clothing, I wanted the shot and I’d do what I had to to get it. Well, as you’ll notice from the lack of photo, unfortunately by the time I turned the car round to get to a good position the turtle had made it to shelter so I missed my chance! Maybe next time…

What is it about having a camera in hand that makes an otherwise rational person throw caution to the wind in order to get the shot? Who knows! One thing I do know however, is I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of that totally irrational and slightly crazy man during 2010…!

About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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