August 2012

Prosciutto on the run!

Every year in August, as the summer heat continues and there’s no rain, the wild boar in the woods around us become ever more desperate and ever bolder. We see them daily at the moment in the afternoon, snuffling around the field below our house, and of course we hear them at night. Things will change next month when the hunting season begins.
For this image, I heard them grunting outside the window, grabbed the camera and fired off a few shots, only then to realise that the Canon 40D dial had turned from Av to M and the shots had been very much overexposed. However, rather than delete them, I pulled them back a bit on Lightroom and I think the effect is quite dramatic. Mistakes aren’t always disastrous!

Canon 40D with Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens and Canon 1.4x extender; ISO 400 f4.5 1/60.


Vernazza is one of the five ‘Cinque Terre’ towns on the Ligurian coast of Italy, and for me, I think, the favourite. Maybe that is as much to do with a couple of delicious meals of fresh anchovies I’ve eaten there as the picturesque nature of the town.
The Cinque Terre is a beautiful area of rugged hills on which vineyards and olive groves cling for dear life, tranquil walks along the 12 km coastal path and four lovely towns – I wasn’t so taken with the fifth, the larger Monterosso, which can be seen in the distance in this shot, although it’s a good place to start your walk.
Very busy in the summer season, the area is probably best visited in the spring, autumn or even winter since its benign climate means that it’s never really cold.

Canon 1D MkII with Canon 17-35mm f2.8L lens at 20mm; ISO 200 f5.6 1/1000

Vervet monkey and baby

This vervet female with her young offspring were photographed at the Solio Game Reserve in Kenya where there is a thriving population.
Man is the biggest threat to vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) in the wild.

Notes from the Enkosini Eco Experience website:

In addition to habitat encroachment and urbanization, thousands of vervet monkeys are trapped and sold every year to laboratories worldwide for medical research. Due to the misconception that they destroy fruit crops, vervet monkeys are also systematically eradicated by farmers. In fact, the farming community is responsible for a major portion (73%) of the many orphaned vervet monkey babies that are found in the wild. The vervet monkey is currently listed as a vulnerable species on Appendix Two of CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species).

Notes from Wikipedia:

The native range of vervet monkeys is sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and Ethiopia down to South Africa. However, in previous centuries, a number of these monkeys were taken as pets by slavers, and were transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean islands. The monkeys subsequently escaped or were released and became naturalized. The descendents of those populations are found on the West Indian islands and there is even a colony in Florida.

Canon 1DMkII with Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens and Canonx2 extender; ISO 400 f5.6 1/1000.

Mount Kenya

This shot was taken from a helicopter as we flew round the peaks of Mount Kenya. Here we were to the north-west of Batian, the highest peak on the mountain at 5,199 metres (17,057 ft). The second highest peak, Nelian, at 5188 metres (17,021 ft), can be seen on the image just to the right of Batian. The large glacier beyond Nelion is the Lewis Glacier while in the foreground are Northey Glacier (higher) and the Forel Glacier (lower left). The green lake to the right of the image is the Teleki Tarn.

Image taken on a Canon 40D with a Canon EFS 10-22 mm lens at 10mm; ISO 400 f4 1/800

Cherry Blossom

Not a very seasonal shot but it’s pretty. Spring was a little late this year in Tuscany which has meant that following our return from Thailand, we were able to enjoy the beauty of some of the blossom in the garden. This image is of a favourite and very happy cherry tree : it loves the spot where it lives – plenty of water!

Postscript after summer – great harvest of delicious cherries back in June/July.

Canon 40D with Canon 10-22mm at 10mm; ISO 200 1/400 f11

Zebras in the rain

After a sunny morning and lunch by a water hole, the clouds gathered and the heavens opened in Buffalo Springs Game Reserve in northern Kenya. It was Friday 13th!
This young Zebra looked suitably bedraggled as he followed his mother, who was oblivious of the weather and content to continue munching.
Note the perfect alignment of several of the stripes on the necks of the two zebras.

Canon 1DMkII with Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens and Canon 1.4x extender. ISO 400, 420mm 1/500 at f5.6


Bratislava isn’t a very big city, but it is home to a number of breweries, including Budweiser, and hence now suffers from being a Ryan destination for lager louts on a weekend’s boozing and stag nighting, and loutesses on hen weekends.  This can’t give the Brits much of a reputation around town. There is, however, quite a quaint and historic city centre. On a sunny day, there are street cafes among the old buildings and plenty of activity. Near the main square, which is surprisingly small for the main square of a capital city, you come across a number of odd statues  including this one of a paparazzo of 100 years ago peering around a corner with a rather modern long lens.

S is for …

This flamingo was posing in perfect flamingo fashion in the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological gardens. The S-shape formed by its head and neck is reminiscent of the sort of heading you see in children’s alphabet books.

Taken in pre-digital days with a Canon EOS3 and Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens using Fuji Provia transparency film and also in pre-bird flu days – since then the fencing in the park has ruined getting good shots of the inhabitants.

Donna alla finestra

This interesting sculpture can be found in Siena on the way into the town after leaving the piazza in front of the church of San Francesco.

It is a modern work – 1995 – but it is connected with one of the ancient contrade of Siena: the Bruco (caterpillar). This contrada has always been associated with the silk trade and on the sculpture can be seen a rose hanging by a thread on which there us a crowned caterpillar – the symbol of this contrade. The Bruco contrade is part of the huge spectacle of the Palio every year in the Campo di Siena. It is one of only four ‘Nobil’ contrade, having been given this title back in the 14C.

The small image on the right shows the sculpture in relation to the surrounding buildings, as well as the flag of the Bruco contrada.



Lion Cubs


This pair was part of a group of five lion cubs relaxing in the fading light after sunset in the Loisaba game park in Kenya. Their mother, Pussy Galore, whom the ranger had located by way of her radio collar, was standing by to protect her offspring in case anything or anyone wandered too close. We were happy to keep our distance and admire these beauties through the binoculars and telephoto lenses.