Wednesday, 27 August 2014

One Jacket, Two Great Photos

The book has now gone to the printers and this is the final version of the front cover -- a bit spruced up from the earlier dummy.  It's a  clever combination of two great photos. The idea came from my publisher, the redoubtable Anna Goddard at Carnegie. It was executed by talented designer Lucy Frontani.

The photos were taken by two different photographers: Ben Locke captured the silhouetted marsh harrier, Brian Rafferty the running deer. 

I thought it would be good to share the photos in their full glory.

Ben Locke's moodily magnificent silhouette of a marsh harrier over the reedbed

Ben is a freelance who often works with BBC Springwatch. When the opportunity to take the marsh harrier picture came up, he didn't even have his main camera gear with him.

"That particular picture was a bit of good fortune if I'm honest. I was helping with filming of a Starling murmuration and spotted the harrier and reached for the only stills camera I was able to carry - the one in my pocket." 

Brian Rafferty is a very experienced photographer who devotes much of his time to capturing memorable wildlife shots. 

The running of the deer: Brian Rafferty's exciting and colourful capture

He took his photo from Leighton's Grisedale hide on an August afternoon.

"I could immediately see a number of deer both hinds and stags and all were lying down in the reeds and grass to shelter from the very warm afternoon sun. There was little activity until something spooked all the deer and I was treated to a magnificent sight as a number of stags  charged across the open area and into the dense reedbeds in front of the hide . Needless to say I fired off a salvo of shots with the camera hoping to capture the fast moving action. The stags soon vanished into the reedbeds."

Ben's moody, almost monochrome harrier shot contrasts beautifully with the colourful pell-mell charging deer in Brian's photograph. Both show the importance of being able to react decisively when the photo opportunity presents itself.

The combination captures a magical and timeless quality which visitors to Leighton Moss often experience....although (historian's footnote) 100 years ago the landscape would have looked utterly different: a drained network of fields laid down to arable crops. (See earlier blog posts on drainage of the Moss). 

More of Ben's photos

...and more of Brian's photos

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