Whilst visiting my daughter we were walking along the river Chelmer – near Chelmsford in Essex – on a bright autumn day. I saw a swan bathed in sunlight and was hoping for it to open its wings as it preened itself. Unfortunately it was disturbed by a couple of fishermen, so for this painting I had to make something up, but I managed to capture the lighting effects against the darkness of the background which had first caught my eye.
One morning, a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the canal edge painting when this entourage drifted by. They came up from behind me and I had to drop the painting, brushes and palette and scramble around in my bag for the camera, all without upsetting the group. I crept along the bank taking a number of shots from which
I compiled this painting.
I must admit to doing this a couple of weeks ago, after the giraffes, but I thought I’d hold it back and release it on the eve of the Chinese year of the dog. With global politics being what they are, I thought an hyena carried some resonances.
This particular one was part of a family living in a drainage culvert under a road in the Etosha Pan in Namibia. Apparently they gave themselves away by their white faeces which is a result of the bone they crunch. With the lorry sitting directly over them, the low frequency reverberations of the engine forced them to come out and investigate.
They did have a look of vulnerability, but I wasn’t going to extend an arm in sympathy.
I was looking at my holiday snaps and some African penguins caught my eye. I combined a couple of shots and came up with this. This was at Simonstown, near Capetown, and the wind was blowing the sand in my face and my camera and the penguins didn’t look too happy either. I wouldn’t have bothered, but the wife likes penguins, so I stumped up the entry fee.
I think that these are Bewick’s swans that I photographed at a local bird sanctuary. In hindsight I should have done this in a landscape format, but I wanted to really focus on the birds and then one thing led to another and I included extra birds and well… here we are.
Back to the Bolivian Altiplano and the flamingos that inhabit the lakes. As the morning sun burns the mists away it also warms the birds enabling them to move and start feeding on the algae which colour the lakes.