Nature in lockdown

It all started with some poop. Taking a quick stroll round the garden on March 23rd, just hours before the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, I noticed some unfamiliar droppings beneath the bird table. And near the apple tree. And indeed, just about everywhere. I say "unfamiliar" as I am well acquainted with the sight of... Continue Reading →

Mandolin lesson #4 : Embellishing a melody

I recently had the opportunity to teach a beginner's mandolin workshop at Sore Fingers October Weekend. The basis of this session was to show that developing a creative, colourful solo doesn't have to be overly complicated or technical. I ran through the song You Are My Sunshine, showing how you can take the basic melody... Continue Reading →

Mandolin lesson #3 : Hamilton Ironworks

Welcome to the latest of my free mandolin lessons, which this time is for the fiddle tune Hamilton Ironworks. About the tune Hamilton Ironworks is an old-time fiddle tune that I learnt from the John Hartford album of the same name. This album was the third in a series of old-time fiddle albums that Hartford... Continue Reading →

One Earth Festival

I was recently invited to be official photographer at the One Earth Festival in Winterbourne, near Bristol. This festival was a fundraiser for Stop Ecocide, an organisation dedicated to changing the law to protect the planet. It was held in the beautiful setting of a farm orchard, and perfect sunny weather ensured the day was... Continue Reading →

Lovely lemurs

A quick trip to the Wild Place Project in Bristol this week resulted in some lovely photos of the red-bellied lemurs. For more photos like this, check out my Flickr.

Mandolin lesson #1 : Trollrikepolska

This is the first in a series of posts where I will share details, tab and recordings of some of my favourite tunes to play on the mandolin. These mini-lessons will help you build up a repertoire of tunes that (I hope) are challenging but fun to play. This first lesson teaches the Swedish tune... Continue Reading →

How to make gifs from video

I recently shot a few short videos of birds and wanted to turn them into gifs to share on social media. I discovered there are a plethora of apps and websites that do this, but they usually add a watermark to the resulting file and none provided the level of control I wanted over the... Continue Reading →

Bluegrass in Bristol

This March I was lucky to get the chance to do a bit of event photography at the Bristol Bluegrass Festival. This two-day festival has been held annually for around 10 years at The Folk House, though last year's was cancelled at the last minute due to heavy snowfall, leading to doubts that it could... Continue Reading →

Springtime on the marshes

A beautiful, sunny February day presented the opportunity for a visit to the Somerset Levels, seeking out wildlife at several of the nature reserves that make up Avalon Marshes. The main aim of the day was to watch the starling murmuration at dusk, an event that can involve close to a million birds. RSPB Greylake... Continue Reading →

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