Wednesday 3 January 2018

Top ten not bird images from 2017

So here are my final ten images from 2017, none of them featuring birds! I tried to combine the two but it was an impossible task  - the styles are very different and I like the process that goes into both. Birds will always be my first love, that feeling of satisfaction from getting a clean and sharp image of a bird with just the right amount of head angle, just the right light and so on, is very hard to beat. It happens so infrequently that when you do get it right you feel like jumping for joy, but landscapes and portraits (which I find very difficult) require a different mindset and different technique and can be equally rewarding. Most of these are taken at the very beginning or very end of the day. As ever it is all about the light.

I took this from the observatory in Greenwich Park at the very start of the year on a bitterly cold and clear evening. Henry and I were experimenting with filters and exposures, and this is a 54 second exposure at f8 with a 1000x neutral density filter on the lens. This is just the central portion of the lens, at 35mm on a full-frame body. I like it so much that I use it as my desktop background across both of my monitors - I've sized it to precisely the required resolution of 3840 x 1200.
A magical January morning on Wanstead Flats, this is full frame at 16mm just after dawn. I am hoping to take many more like this in 2018 as no two mornings are ever the same. This, for me, is why photography means painting with light.

We went to Hong Kong and Vietnam en famille in February to celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday. He sadly didn't make it out there as he had a serious accident, but we all went anyway and toasted him in his absence during a fantastic meal overlooking the harbour. This photo was taken during the central part of the trip in Hoi An, Vietnam. This is a vibrant town whose specialty is silk lanterns and tailoring, and this is my favourite representation of the the place. 
Mount Haleakala at sunset, a memorable experience on the highest point of Maui, way above the clouds. Photographs can in no way do this justice of course, but by looking at this one I can transport myself back and be entranced all over again. I realise that I am very lucky, but work hard play hard. 

Despite all the places I've been to this year, half of my favourite shots are actually from close to home and this is another from Wanstead Flats. This is from a chilly morning in January and has a bit of human interest, a couple of people out on a morning stroll. You can see their breath in the cold air!

This image was taken the day after the one above - I was eager for more! Cold and crisp conditions make for interesting photography, and I always find it amazing how it is possible to create so many different pleasing images in a short space of time when the environment is with you.

Another morning of spectacular light on Wanstead Flats but at the opposite end of the year. I took all sorts of photos over the course of a couple of days, and this zoomed-in view of sunlight shining through the autumn leaves is the one I liked best. You can see the full series here.
In October I took my eldest daughter Kate on a horse-riding holiday. Normally none of the kids like having their photograph taken and make stupid faces or turn away. However the horses won the day here and just before dinner I was allowed to take a few as she wandered around the paddocks saying good night to them.

Ah Bologna! I have wanted to go here for ages, and particularly to climb the Asinelli Tower which affords an amazing view of the city from close to 100m above. The stairs were endless but me and my dodgy knees and ankles made it up and this is one of the results - 16mm full frame straight down! Henry and I had a great half hour up here mucking around and followed the descent with an epic lunch at the Osteria dell'Orsa. Try the ragu!


  1. Bologna for me, despite my love of wide, open spaces. I'd been staring into that image for maybe over a minute, just losing myself in the courtyards and crazy angles. So worth all those endless stairs (that I didn't take, haha!)

  2. Holy crap, I just Googled the Asinelli's incredible! What the heck was going through their minds when they dreamed that one up???

    1. Imagine what it must have been like when there were 200 towers in the city! There are some old drawings that show this. There's keeping up with the Jones's and then there's keeping up with the Jones's!! Medieval Bologna took this to a whole new level!

  3. Really difficult to pick a favourite but the sun through the trees on a crisp morning is lovely. And your personal image with daughter Kate is a really sweet photo and one you will look back on in years to come with extreme fondness I’m sure.

  4. I like the frosty morning with the sun peeking through the trees. I also like the personal photo of daughter Kate with the white pony - a really sweet image and one that you will no doubt look back on in years to come with much fondness.

  5. Beautiful shots Jono, both the birds and the non-birds. I'm learning to look at birds in light of your enthusiasm. At our beach house there were two hooded plovers nesting this year - in fact they have been coming back for years. What they lack in common sense (why do they lay their eggs in such a visible open space?), they make up for with ferocity and will attack anything that ventures near.