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Olive-backed sunbird

This is a tiny bird – around 7-9 cm at a guess. This pair visited a flowering shrub on our Phuket balcony over a period of several days. Mr Sunbird is the one with the iridescent blue breast (two shots) while Mrs S is a little plainer. She was shyer too, she didn’t like the sound of the high speed shutter release of the Canon 40D. Shots are a mixture of the 40D with a 70-200 zoom on 200 and a Canon G3X at full zoom. Frankly, there’s not much to chose between them for quality and sharpness.

Olive-backed sunbird

Welcome to dgcPhoto!

Hi! Thanks for dropping by. This site is a collection of some of the thousands of images in my portfolio. I shall be adding to it regularly, particularly on the Posts page where each post features one image, so please come back often.

If you are interested in buying any of the images for whatever purpose, a number of them are available on my RedBubble page as cards, prints and posters. Alternatively, you can contact me directly via the contact button in the menu above. But please don’t just screen grab them and post them elsewhere. Instead, be friendly and ask. I’m happy to give many of them away for certain uses, and otherwise charge nominal amounts.

The Gallery that you are now in is a series of groups of photos displayed as sliding sets. The same groups also appear in the Showcase but here each image can be viewed separately in a lightbox display.

The fruits of other non-photographic labours are on the Other Projects page. Here you will find details of my three novels in the Rare Traits Trilogy, and my latest novel, Irrefutable Evidence. There are also details of my wife Gail’s five illustrated children’s books: Patrick’s Birthday Message, Searching for Skye, Cosmos the Curious Whale, The Chameleon Who Couldn’t Change Colour, and Sharks, Our Ocean Guardians.

For even more details on any of these you can go directly to davidgeorgeclarke.com or gailclarkeauthor.com

Enjoy!

David George Clarke

Welcome to dgcPhoto!

My Books

I have now published four novels comprising the three books in the Rare Traits Trilogy: Rare Traits, Delusional Traits and Murderous Traits; and a modern-day crime thriller, Irrefutable Evidence.

The Rare Traits Trilogy centres around the long life of 600-year-old John Andrews, an old master artist who was born in Renaissance Italy in the 15C and is still alive today. The books are thrillers that will keep you up at night wanting to learn more about the lives and life-threatening challenges through the centuries to John and others with a rare DNA make up that prevents them from ageing and makes them immune from all disease. Many five star review on Amazon, Goodreads etc.

Irrefutable Evidence is a crime thriller based in England, another page turner about a serial killer highly skilled at framing others for murder.

All are available from Amazon as ebooks for the Kindle/Kindle reader and as paperbacks. And as a bonus incentive that should see you rushing to click on the link, the ebook of Rare Traits is free!

The link for buying the books and for your free downloading of the Rare Traits ebook is Author.to/DGClarke

My Books

Hong Kong Lions and Dragons

Lion and Dragon dances form an essential part of every Chinese New Year celebration. The spectacle never changes; it is always noisy, exciting and often balletic and gymnastic, with dragons scuttling up poles to let down banners, having first entertained the crowd to various antics.

This set of dragon and lions’ heads formed part of an exhibition held at Hong Kong’s Times Square in February 2016. It was an opportunity to get up close to a wide variety of colourful masks and costumes. Also included are a couple of shots from the Lantau Island town of Mui Wo where the local lion dance association spent several days touring shops and businesses around the ferry pier bringing good lock to all those who fed the lion with a Chinese choi and of course supplied a red packet with a few crisp, neatly pressed HK dollar bills.

Hong Kong Lions and Dragons

Honey Bee Swarm

This swarm of honey bees picked out a tree in the valley below our house in Tuscany and has spent the day growing and growing. The were initially several small clusters that eventually fused into one large shape. How long they stay remains to be seen. This set of photos shows the swarm from different angle and at different magnifications. Some of the shapes resemble other creatures – there’s a leopard gracefully descending the branches, and a sloth or perhaps an orang-utan swinging by one arm.

What is less obvious from the photos is the constant movement over the surface of the swarm and the low buzz surrounding it.

Honey Bee Swarm

Adriatic Lizard Orchid

The Adriatic Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum Adriaticum H. Baumann) is described as a perennial herb with an erect stem 30-80 cm high. It has 15-45 flowers per stem which are green white with reddish brown markings up to 5 cm long sepals and petals forming a hood. It occurs in countries around the Adriatic including northern Italy and including our garden where this year there are at least 25 plants growing among the grasses. It is protected in some countries and by CITES. It is found in calcareous ground up to 1600 metres.

Although described as ‘quite attractive’, when you get close to the flowers and examine their delicacy and structure, the beauty becomes apparent. If you peer into the hood, there appears to be a face peering back at you.

Adriatic Lizard Orchid

Year of the Snake Fireworks

The first Chinese New Year fireworks display from barges in Hong Kong harbour was in 1982. I was there for that one and I’ve seen a lot since. It’s always a spectacular event and this year’s to welcome the Year Of The Snake was no exception. Twenty minutes or so of crashes, bangs and brilliant patterns in the sky, all perfectly coordinated. I took these shots from the vantage point of the breakwater of the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter, a spot that give a great view straight up the harbour, and not surprisingly, packed with photographers.

Year of the Snake Fireworks

Burj Al Arab

Location: Dubai

The Burj Al Arab hotel is a seven star – yes seven – establishment that dominates the skyline along the coast of Dubai between the ‘Palm’ islands development and the even more exotic ‘World’ development – the latter still just a series of undeveloped islands of sand at present.

The hotel (burj is ‘tower’ in Arabic) is a magnificently impressive building from the outside. It soars up over 300 metres and is designed to resemble a sail. Inside it is no less impressive and leaves you standing there with your mouth open. If you stay there, you will develop a huge hole where your wallet used to be. All rooms are suites and the most modest of them costs around US$1000 per night. Interestingly, there are people who live there permanently.

My son, who worked in Dubai when these shots were taken, knows one of the senior staff at the hotel who kindly arranged a tour for us. Without exaggeration, it was truly amazing! The gold you can see on the various structures is just that – gold!

Canon 40D with Canon 10-22mm EFS lens at 10mm; ISO200 f6.3 1/100.

Burj Al Arab

Hawkmoths

Location: Tuscany,  Italy

These amazing insects visit the lavender in the garden at our house during the summer months. They spend their time darting from flower to flower at incredible speed. They don’t settle on the flower but grasp it with two legs, their probosces flick out and back in a tiny fraction of a second and then they are off to the next flower. Capturing their images therefore required a bit of patience and experimentation. I used flash for some, extension tubes and various lenses. Some of the shots remind me of old photos of military aircraft refueling in mid-air.

There are several types of hawkmoths of which two are shown here : The Humming bird hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) and the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth (Hemaris fuciformis)

 

 

Hawkmoths

Honesty

Honesty (Lunaria annua) is a fairly common wildflower in temperate climates. A pretty purple flower, it really comes into its own when the papery seed pods form. It is also known as White Satin, Satin Flower, Money Plant, Silver Plate and Two-Pennies-in-a-Purse. According to wildaboutwildflowers.co.uk, the folklore surrounding it is that for sorcerers, the plant aided shape-changing, flying, finding lost property, unlocking secrets and bringing the dead back to life. It was also used in witches brews and also to dress wounds and treat epilepsy. In Tudor times, the roots were boiled and eaten with meat or grated into salads, while the Victorians painted the seed pods for winter decoration in their homes.

We’ve certainly found that the dried pods are a lovely decoration in a vase indoors, but as for flying, I’m clearly missing something out of the recipe!

The abundance of honesty is our garden varies enormously: some years there is loads in the wooded parts; other years there is very little. However, it is always pretty, even when in an advance state of decay, as shown in the black and white images.

Honesty

Hong Kong Night Views

Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong is a city that never seems to sleep. Downtown there are always people everywhere. Yet, despite the constant hustle and bustle, the place has a magic, a vibrancy that is unmatched anywhere else. The majestic highrise buildings that every year seem to get higher and more numerous disappear at night down at street level where the almost daytime brilliance of the hundreds of shop signs and advertising hoardings dominates your vision.

Hong Kong Night Views

Portraits 1

Five very cropped portraits of my five grandchildren. These and twenty other shots were prepared for a series of twenty-five 20cm x 20cm prints that are arranged as a collage on our study wall in Phuket. For five more ‘wet look’ shots, see Portraits 2.

Portraits 1

Portraits 2 – Poolside fun

Five poolside shots of my five grandchildren cropped and printed in B&W as part of a series of a large collage.

Portraits 2 – Poolside fun

Railay Beach, Krabi , Thailand

The limestone cliffs and sheer rocks soaring out of the sea are a magnet for rock climbers from all over the world. The scenery here is stunning and the skills of the climbers awesome. Others, like us, arrived for R&R, walks on the beach, stunning sunrises and sunsets and all the other stuff of paradise!

Railay Beach, Krabi , Thailand

Samburu Birds


Location: Buffalo Springs, Samburu, Kenya

The Buffalo Springs National Reserve is one of three adjacent reserves in the north of Kenya, about 200 miles from Nairobi. It butts onto Samburu, while Shaba is a few miles to the east. The Uaso Nyiro river runs through all three reserves and forms in parts the border between Samburu and Buffalo Springs reserve.

Buffalo Springs is the least arid of the three and there’s plenty of bird life in the acacias and Doum palms, along with a wide range of four-footed wildlife of various sizes. A small example of what’s around is shown here – in order from left to right:

Superb Starling, White-throated bee-eater, Lilac-breasted roller, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Red-billed hornbill, 2x Superb Starling and  Dodson’s Bulbul.

 

Samburu Birds

Sparkling Webs

On a crisp autumn morning, the overnight constructions of thousands of spiders in the valley below our house in Tuscany are on display in the first glancing rays of the rising sun. Their complexity is breathtaking; their variety seemingly infinite; their beauty stunning.

 

Sparkling Webs

Speke’s Weaver

Location: Timau, Kenya

These photos are of a bunch of enthusiastic Speke’s weavers that were nesting in a tree above our safari tent in Ben and Karina’s garden in Timau, Kenya. Timau is at an elevation of around 7500 feet in the foothills of Mount Kenya, a few miles north of the equator.

The tree was full of nests, all of which were works in progress. The male weavers would spend their days flying back and forth fetching blades of grass to weave into the construction. They commenced their morning song around 5 a.m. prior to their day’s work. When not charging back and forth to collect materials for their nests, they would hang upside down whistling madly to attract the attention of any passing females. The girls in turn would inspect the nests and often fly off with a disdainful whistle, leaving the males all of a fluster and literally chasing each other round in circles.

My aim in these shots was to capture the birds in flight as the arrived at or left their nests. However they move fast and I collected a lot of empty frames!

Mr Wikipedia has this to say on these pretty little birds: ‘Speke’s Weaver (Ploceus spekei) is a familiar East African songbird. The eyes are pale and the bill is on the large side for a weaver. Unlike many weavers, it has the same plumage all year. The adult male is yellow with black throat (edged rusty), face, and bill, and variable black mottling on the back. The adult female’s upperparts are dull olive-gray with dusky brown streaks; the underparts are pale yellow, whiter on the belly and grayer on the flanks. The juvenile is similar but duller.
The song is variable; one version is transcribed as “pew…pew…tew, chinkichi-chewchew-skerinkitsitew. Calls include harsh chatter at the nest and “a sharp tseep!”
This species nests in colonies or occasionally singly. The nest, often woven in an acacia, is spherical with a short entrance tube opening sideways or downward. Many grass stems project sloppily, sometimes obscuring the shape. It nests in both the short rainy season and the middle of the long rainy season. Typical clutches comprise four eggs, which are unmarked deep blue, somewhat pointed at both ends, 24 to 26 mm long and 15 to 17 mm wide.
Speke’s Weaver is found in northern and eastern Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya (mostly the central highlands), and northeastern Tanzania. It inhabits savanna, bush, agricultural land, and towns. In parts of its range it is common, notably the densely populated area of Nairobi and environs, where it visits bird feeders.
This bird was named in honor of John Speke.

Canon EOS 1DMkII with Canon 300mm L IS lens and Canon 1.4 extender; ISO400 f4 1/1600 – 1/3000

Speke’s Weaver

Spello Infiorite

Images from the 2012 Spello Infiorate, an annual religious festival in early June at Spello, a hill town in Umbria, Italy. After weeks of planning and preparing literally millions of wildflower petals, categorising them by colour and shade and breaking them up into small fragments, teams of Spello inhabitants prepare a huge number of collages on the streets of the town, the pictures made almost entirely from the fragmented flower petals. They start the pictures at 9pm Saturday night and have to finish by about 6am Sunday morning in time for the crowds arriving. There are different categories, some pictures being prepared by kids. The quality is staggering. The crowd steps round the pictures, some of which aren’t even roped off. Then at 11am, there is a procession of clergy from one of the churches that parades through the town, with the priests walking right over the pictures, effectively destroying them!

 

Spello Infiorite

Tin Hau Temple

Location: Shek O, Hong Kong Island

The Tin Hau temple in Shek O, on the south-eastern corner of Hong Kong Island, was renovated in 2011, with a dedication ceremony on 31 December. It is one of over 70 Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong, not very old, but certainly beautiful. Tin Hau is the Goddess of the Sea and a particularly popular deity for all on the coast of China. There is an annual festival in her honour, held on the day 23 of the third moon in the Chinese calendar – mid April to mid May.
The HK Tourist Board site has the following additional information:
All those who owe their livelihood to the sea praise Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea.
Tin Hau’s birthday is celebrated to bring safety, security, fine weather and full nets during the coming year. There are celebrations at Tin Hau temples all over Hong Kong. Seafarers adorn boats with colourful ribbons praising the goddess for past protection and praying for future luck. Boats are loaded with symbols of devotion and offerings to the goddess.
The festival in her honour culminates in a procession and is characterised by floral paper offerings known as fa pau. Every year Joss House Bay, in Sai Kung, hosts a vivid celebration, where traditional rites are observed at the temple. In Yuen Long, in the New Territories, a parade takes place with lion dances.

Tin Hau Temple

Butterflies

Location: Butterfly Farm, Phuket, Thailand

These images were all captured at the Phuket Butterfly farm, a well-presented attraction that all visitors to Phuket should take time to see. Bit of a cheat from the photographic point of view in that the butterflies are all there waiting for you, but it saves spending weeks trekking around the hills in tropical heat – the heat is fierce enough under the netting at the farm. The delicate beauty of these insects is captivating, and their variety amazing.

Butterflies

Cape Penguins

Location: Boulders Beach, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Boulders Beach, just south of Simon’s Town on the Cape Peninsula, is home to a colony of African Penguins. They come here to breed, moult, and generally chill out. It is a protected area where this threatened species has been given a chance to increase its numbers. The penguins are not worried about people who swim and sunbathe on one part of the beach. They sit on the rocks and with rather bemused expressions watch this strange species sharing their space. Elsewhere, access to them is from a boardwalk onto their own beach where they take a dip, smooch, pass the time of day or show off the latest in penguin fashions.

Cape Penguins

Chameleon

Location: Mtwapa on the coast of Kenya

When we were staying on the coast at Roger & Carol Jessop’s place (see the link to Roger’s Art of Africa site), Roger found this fellow on the drive and brought it in for us all to look at. Chameleons are docile creatures, quite unfazed by being picked up. However, they do always seem to manage to keep one of their beady eyes on you. They must have true ’split screen’ vision.

Chameleon

Crab Spider

Location: Tuscany, Italy

This fellow’s modus operandi is to sit motionless for hours on end on a lavender flower stem with his several arms outstretched, waiting. He knows that sooner or later one of the many insects – mainly bees – that visit the lavender will touch him and when that happens, he will pounce. On the day I saw him, I reckon he waited about five hours and then he had his meal: a nice juicy bee.

Crab Spider

Dew drops, a spider’s web and morning mist

Location: Tuscany, Italy

Sunday 28th June, 2009, was a misty morning in our valley, following heavy rain and thunderstorms on the previous day. The mist ebbed and flowed through the valley, revealing then hiding the trees on the slopes opposite. The saturated air was soaking all surfaces and dew drops were hanging from all the leaves, buds and branches. As the sun rose and started to disperse the mist, the dew drops sparkled in the increasing light.

In a cedar tree outside the house, a spider had woven a huge web between two branches that were at least three feet apart. He was, however, no longer at home.

Getting close to the dew drops with a long lens and extension tubes, each one could be seen acting like a miniature crystal ball and showing a reversed and inverted image on the scene around.

Dew drops, a spider’s web and morning mist

Golden Palm Weaver

Location: Kilifi, Coast of Kenya

This pair of Golden Palm Weavers chose to build their nest over a period of two days in a tree very close to the verandah of the house where we were staying. The male of course did all the work, while in between checking out his progress, the female brought along some tasty caterpillar snacks. The intricate spherical nest grew by the hour as the male laboured away through all the daylight hours.

 

Golden Palm Weaver

Grey Plovers

Location: Mtwapa on the coast of Kenya

This flock of grey plovers were mainly in their non-breeding plumage, but there are one or two visible with the strong black from face to belly of the breeding plumage. The in-flight images show the characteristic ‘black axillaries, white rump and obvious wing bar ‘ ( Birds of East Africa; Stevenson and Fanshawe). They were all having great fun up and down the beach, playing in the shallows and on the sand. They allowed me to get fairly close and then almost as one they lifted off into the air for another pass along the shore before landing a little further away.

Grey Plovers

Little Spider Hunter

Location: Phuket

This pair of little spiderhunters chose to build their nest almost outside the door to our bungalow in Phuket. They are small birds – 16 – 16.5cm overall – and they move fast. Native to SE Asia, they build elongated nests with a side entrance – almost a porch! – that are fixed to the underside of leaves.The male was of course doing all the work, but Mrs LS was always on hand to make sure that he didn’t get sloppy. From some of the shots of him leaving the nest, you can see that launch often involves falling upside down with the head turned first, followed by the body.

Little Spider Hunter

Panoramas

Location: Many!

I constructed a few panoramas for an earlier version of this site. In the end they weren’t used but they are quite fun to look for in any shot as an alternative crop.

Panoramas

Poppies

Location: Tuscany, Italy

May is poppy time in Italy. You don’t have to go far in our neck of the woods to find fields, hedgerows, embankments and olive groves with poppies bursting out of them. The contrast of the vivid red of these paper-delicate flowers with the wonderful green of the countryside is fabulous.

I took these photos in the field immediately below our house, just in time as it turned out since the following day our neighbour, who owns the field, turned up with his strimmer and removed the lot! However, poppies are pretty tenacious as well as widespread – there are plenty more around here safe from strimmers!

Poppies

Starling Clouds

Location: Arezzo, Italy

Every evening in the late autumn, clouds of starlings arrive over Arezzo & other cities in Italy to roost for the night. There are huge numbers of them and as they arrive, they put on the most incredible show. Gathering in ever changing groups, they swoop and swirl through the sky, forming into any number of shapes and patterns that are constantly changing. It all lasts about ten minutes at dusk, after which they are in the trees, chattering away. Each pattern lasts a fraction of a second – the killer whale shape formed momentarily from shapes in the two shots before it, and then was gone. Same with the over-balancing man.

An Italian photographer won wildlife photographer of the year a while ago for shots like these taken in Rome – ok, his had the added drama of a prowling peregrine falcon.

Starling Clouds