Cue the usual apology for not posting here as often as I should - but I'm sure you're well aware of the couple of more popular blogs I've been writing for on a far more regular basis. I just figured I'd pop in here and provide a small update about what's been going on for the last few months, and what to expect in the near future - taking for granted things go according to plan.
For starters, we are still tucked away in the rainforest of Tobago. Idyllic location, but those of you attempting to contact me via telephone may beg to differ. Our time here is drawing to a close, however, and we may soon drift back to the larger island of Trinidad. This has impacted our annual calendar sales - in past years we have always done free home deliveries. While still possible for interested persons on Tobago, on Trinidad they will be available at Paper Based Bookshop at the Normandie within the next few days. Further to this we plan to be at an UpMarket event on December 3rd - so catch us there if need be.
This calendar - a celebration of the beauty of birds and their habitats - is set to be the last in the series of calendars we began in 2015. Check it out and reserve your copy here. Future calendars may happen, but they may be under a different designation.
This brings me to another project we have been working on. Unfortunately I am not at liberty to disclose much about it at this moment, but in the interim I can affirm that it will continue the work I have been doing for the last decade or more within the spheres of ecotourism, education, and conservation.
Recently I have also begun some local outreach that has been met with much enthusiasm. Expect more of these in the future, especially as we return to Trinidad. We were invited to speak to students at Brazil Secondary School. Tough to ask for more than attentive children who couldn't stop asking questions! The time simply wasn't enough but we plan to return. I'd relish the opportunity to speak to more interested children - so if you can help in having this materialize please reach out!
On the topic of speaking I've also been doing several talks to various organizations within the USA. From the classic virtual birding tour of these wonderful islands we call home to a fairly recent foray into the union of birding and philosophy - I've thoroughly enjoyed sharing my perspective.
Further to this, I eventually caved amidst throes of vacillation and threw in five images at the last gasp to the prestigious Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) competition. Incredibly, one of them resonated with the judges and was Commended in the toughest category of all - Portraits. The awarded photograph, entitled "The Soloist" is the first image in my "Forest" gallery here on this website which speaks to my opinion of the piece itself. It is also the very first image I made of an Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, fresh after ascending upward of 800m on Trinidad's highest peak, El Cerro del Aripo in April 2021. I made many images of this same species during the following few hours in the cloud forest - but this frame was undoubtedly my favourite and remains at the top of the pile. Certainly reinforces my penchant for including considerable habitat within the frame. You can view the image here. It is included in Collection 7 of BPOTY's annual coffee table book featuring the top 300 or so images out of a selection of over 20,000 submissions from all over the world.
I've never been a fan of competitions as I believe art to be somewhat subjective, but this result has provided some much needed encouragement and boosted my faith in my own ability to create content that is appealing to others. Perhaps this is the nudge necessary to push me to exhibit?
The most recent and arguably the most significant development is my migration to mirrorless camera technology. Rave reviews from several friends in the business along with news of some of the major camera manufacturers ceasing production of flagship DSLR models threw me over the edge and I absolutely do not regret the decision. To expound further would require several blog posts, however!
I leave you with a teaser image of sorts. Tracking a bird in flight - even a medium sized bird like this Striated Heron - in the gentle light of dawn would be something destined to remain in my dreams. Not any more!