Andy Fox, whom I met a few years back whilst out with my camera close by a lake where he was an angler has been heavily involved in voluntary work to conserve the old church and now the fund-raising to add eco lodges to the venue to preserve the work done at the church. The Old St. Mary’s Church lies approximately at the midpoint of the Greensand Ridge Trail and is itself composed of this local sandstone.
Andy it was who asked whether I would like to make my contribution to his pet project by joining a group of hopefully at least six photographers and join a Day photographing a series of raptors that he would be providing as subjects. This was an opportunity not to be missed and I sincerely hoped he would get the required number for the venture to go ahead. I had thoroughly enjoyed a similar day at Old Warden, so it was not a difficult decision; ahead of the day, I was hoping England’s notoriously fickle weather would be kind to us, and although I set off in rain, it had all but stopped by my arrival at Clophill.
I met up with other participants, both at Andy’s house and later at the eco lodges where we assembled ourselves and our assorted camera gear; as one of only two Canon users I was joshed for my choice, but it was all lighthearted banter that I might have meted out were the boot on the other foot – there was certainly no malice, simply a typical way of breaking the ice amongst a small group. After a short talk about the aims of the Trust for the church and the eco lodges site, Andy explained the plans for the day; it was to be static birds in the morning session and hopefully the birds in flight at some time in the afternoon, with a break for refreshments before the afternoon session.
We were introduced to Emily who was looking after and providing our models for the day before setting off for the ruins of the church where, amidst the first signs of Spring; small clumps of snowdrops amongst last season’s autumn leaves, we were to find backdrops for the subjects of our images. I chose to use the 5D MkIII and the Canon 100-400mm for the morning and in the afternoon I used the 7D MkII and Tamron 150-600mm.
Due to earlier commitments I already knew it would be some time before I would be able to do any of the post processing of the files and so it will be nearly a week before these are up in a gallery on my blog. I hope that despite the number of images there is sufficient variety to enjoy the experience of looking at what I shot.
The birds featured are a tawny owl, a barn owl, an eagle owl and a kestrel.