Sunday, 10 February 2013

Third place still counts as winning, right??

I've never been lucky when it came to winning stuff. I've won £10 on the lottery a few times, I think I even won £67 once, but my wins are few and far enough between that they are memorable occasions. I remember winning the 'Now That's What I Call Music 7" album and video in a branded carrier bag from a Smash Hits competition when I was at school. Until the lottery was launched, that was the extent of my winning streak.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I'm a keen amateur photographer. We're lucky enough to have a garden which attracts a bit of wildlife, so I'm fortunate enough to be able to get some reasonable photos from our kitchen table. When I was living back in the Midlands, Garden Bird Supplies was one of my audit clients, so out of a somewhat misplaced sense of loyalty (the company was sold by it's then owners a number of years ago), I tend to stock the bird feeders with supplies I buy from them. I looked them up on Facebook a few weeks ago, and noticed they run a monthly photographic competition. By coincidence it was at the same time as all the snow was on the ground; I thought that might make for some good photographs. I looked out of the window and as if by magic, a flash of red flying past indicated that the green woodpecker had arrived. Taking this as fate, I grabbed my camera, zoom lens and ran down to the kitchen. I spent half an hour or so photographing the woodpecker, plus a robin, blue tit and a family of long tailed tits that turned up. With that I retired to my computer to see what my results were like. These were my favourite photographs.

I narrowed them down to three and sent them in to the competition, nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. 

Fast forward to Friday. I logged in to Facebook and saw that they'd announced the competition winners, I wasn't optimistic as I'd seen a number of entries and several were more striking than my photographs. Suffice it to say I was gobsmacked that my green woodpecker photograph made third place! You can see the results here.

It's fair to say that this will only drive me to take more photographs, and see if I can make second place some time. That said, if I only win a competition once every 25 years, I may have a long wait!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Enjoying the spring sunshine at Bristol Zoo

As we woke up yesterday to beautiful blue skies, it seemed rude not to go out and make the most of it. We've been members at Bristol Zoo for a few years, which means we can go for just a quick wander round, without feeling we've not made the most of the entry fee. We both took our cameras, Andrew took his macro lens and I took my zoom lens. The photos below are my favourites out of all the photographs we took yesterday.

At present there is only one lion on show at Bristol Zoo, Shiva. She had cubs before Christmas but they are currently being hand-reared behind the scenes following their father's death in November. The last two cubs, born in late 2010 have been transferred to other zoos as part of a breeding programme.

Despite the sun, it was a bit of a chilly day so we spent some time in the reptile house. Trying to spot the chameleons always passes a bit of time and the apparent smiles on the faces of some of the lizards amused us.

The red pandas are apparently one of the most popular animals at the zoo, which astonishes me, as they're normally out of sight or, as they were yesterday, thirty foot up in the air tucked up in a tree!

 The capybara is like a giant guinea pig, he seemed pretty displeased that there was so much mud between him and his food!

The meerkats had a huge crowd around them, partly as it was feeding time. I particularly liked the one who looked as if he was hiding behind a stone, worried about being crept up on!

The butterflies are both impressive and incredibly difficult to photograph. Although we got a few images, they really don't do them justice.

 Look out for more photos when the lion cubs are on display as I won't be able to stay away!