News archive

February 2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013

HOME GROWN TALENT

MANY RSPB Local Groups have keen photographers among their membership.
The advent of the digital age has seen lots more people taking up the hobby, particularly when it comes to bird and other wildlife photography.
But Bolton Local Group is doubly fortunate in having two highly talented photographers in their midst, whose work is so outstanding that both men are included in the list of speakers for the 2013-2014 season, which gets underway in September.
It means they will be lining up in the same programme as such illustrious names as Ben Hall and Mark Sisson. Yet both are relative newcomers to wildlife photography, even though both have had a lifelong interest in all things nature.
The format of our new website makes it impossible at the moment to do full justice to their work because it's possible to use only one photograph with each written article. So we have briefly profiled John Barlow and Dennis Atherton separately so that we can use just one image from each of their portfolios.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

JOHN BARLOW

JOHN BARLOW

EVEN before he got his hands on a digital SLR camera, John Barlow was turning out pictures of the birds and other wildlife he saw on his country walks.
But they were sketches.
From the age of about eight, John, now 48, was smitten by the natural world but it wasn't until 2009 when the craze for digiscoping (taking a picture through a telescope with a compact camera) really took off that he turned his attention to photography.
He was never happy with the quality, though, and in January 2010 bought a Canon 7D body and the lens that is still his pride and joy, the celebrated Canon 300mm f2.8. His occasionally uses a 1.4x or 2x converter to boost the focal length, but prefers to get close to birds with a variety of hides or his own stalking skills.
His presentation, concentrating on the birds around his Turton home, rounds off the season on April 10, 2014.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

DENNIS ATHERTON

DENNIS ATHERTON

DENNIS Atherton is booked for the Bolton group's meeting on January 9 - the first show of 2014.
He will show images from a memorable trip to Gambia last year.
Dennis, aged 42, had dabbled a little in photography but had never really taken it seriously until he bought a Canon 550D and Canon 400mm, non-stabilised prime lens in early 2010. Then he really got the bug.
Before long, he upgraded to a Canon 7D body and took so many pictures with the first one he has just replaced it with a new 7D. But he still loves his 400mm lens and uses it for most of his bird photography.
This cheeky picture of a red bellied woodpecker was taken on a trip to the USA.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

DOOMED to die

DOOMED to die

Wildlife photographer John Barlow, a Bolton Local Group member who lives with his family close to Wayoh Reservoir, near Bolton, heard a frantic banging on the door to find a couple holding this pitiful mallard.

A bottle-top binder - the plastic ring below the cap on wide necked drinks bottles, like those used for sports energy drinks - was jammed tight between its head and upper and lower mandibles.

As John's wife Nikki dashed for the kitchen scissors, John took a quick photo of the ensnared bird, but admits that his hands were shaking with rage as he pressed the shutter.

He rushed the sick bird to Greenmount Wild Bird Hospital, about four miles away. But it died about an hour after he left.

John said: "It was hard to work out how the duck had got the plastic ring in such a position, but it had obviously stopped it feeding and it led to a slow, agonising death for the bird."

Group publicity officer Frank Wood said: "The reservoir has a path all the way round which is very popular with walkers and runners. I walk there a lot and it is invariably littered with drinks bottles and cans. They are even floating in the water in places.

"It makes the blood boil to think that people have carried a full bottle of drink there, but they are too lazy to carry the empty container home or to the nearest litter bin.

"I have seen pictures in Birds Magazine of birds killed by those four-ring plastic binders used to hold four drinks cans together. But I have never seen anything like this. This mallard must have suffered terribly."