Shad takes a walk around the garden

I’ve got ‘the wild’ right on my doorstep in the form of a rather overgrown back garden.  John says he’s let it get back to nature, but I suspect this noble sentiment is an excuse for not mowing the lawn!  Nevertheless, we both enjoy looking at the garden and all the treasures it holds which is why I like to take a stroll around it from time to time, admiring Mother Nature while I think about my work.  In the 2 ½ years that John and I have been running Shadow Photography, I’ve been involved with happy couples planning their wedding day, excited exhausted mothers eager to have pictures of their young baby for the mantelpiece, highly strung horses next to shiny horse boxes and wily creatures who shy away from the camera. You can find stories about my experiences and examples of the colourful and dynamic images I have produced during my work if you look back at https://shadthecat.wordpress.com/.

 

Weddings are great because people are always happy and the atmosphere is one of romance and optimism.  A bit like the mood created by these adorable garden birds who decided to have a splash together in the bath while I was crouching under the shrubbery with my camera.  Some of the birds in the garden (like the sparrows, blue tits and great tits featured in the photos) are so small I’m amazed they don’t get blown away by the wind.  Don’t worry, I’m not tempted to chase them, I’m far too busy analysing the light and shade in the frame, judging depth of field and generally perfecting my photography skills to be dashing around after my feathered friends.  I was really lucky to catch a glimpse of a green woodpecker as you can see from the picture and I would have taken more shots only this worker bee kept buzzing around the flowers right next to me and it really put me off!

 

I like to take pictures of the flowers because I can play with the focus and emphasise the colour to create some striking shots, like these views of the cherry blossom and bluebell-type plants in the garden.  I have produced a number of beautiful prints from these shots as well as more abstract images from the magnificent architecture that lies at the heart of history in this country.   They make a lovely gift to yourself or someone you care about so if you’re tempted, check out http://www.shadow-photography.com/.  On the website you’ll also discover the portfolio of work that John and I have developed over the last couple of years which gives you a flavour of our style.  Please remember us if you want a professional portrait at a preferential rate, or if you have a friend who plays in a band or a family member getting married and you want to capture the fun on film.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to share my thoughts and snapshots with you in this blog while I beaver away at building the business.  Shadow Photography is there for all your photographic needs and John and I only require a cup of coffee and a saucer of cat milk to keep us happy and working hard!

 

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Shad’s Garden Birds

As a well-loved pussy-cat, I’m lucky enough to have regular meals and a selection of warm cozy places to sleep.  I have also put many hours of practice into refining my techniques for charming John into giving me extra treats (no doubt he would describe it as harassment)!  But for the garden birds, finding food is hard work, so an extra meal from your kitchen or some commercially available bird food will help them keep going, especially during the winter months.

October is a good time to start putting food out for the birds.  Feed them until the end of April when they should be able to find plenty of food for themselves.  Although in long dry summers, the chaffinches will be searching for seeds that may be scarce, plus the hard ground might make it difficult for the blackbirds and thrushes to catch worms.  Treats you can put out include natural peanuts in their shells, wild bird seed, suet or fat balls (always remove and cut up any netting which can trap and kill wildlife), cooked rice, potato or pasta and bruised fruit such as apples or pears.

Now you might be wondering why a carnivorous member of the felidae species would know so much about birds.  Well I’ll tell you.  John and I like to photograph them and have spent many a happy moment watching them through the windows.  Feeding the birds has brought me closer to them and I marvel at their fascinating behaviour and wonderful colours.  I’ve watched them flirting with each other at the bird table and squabbling at the feeders, I ‘ve watched them play together in the snow and huddle up on a branch to keep warm.

According to the RSPB, over half of adults in the UK feed the birds in the garden, so that’s a lot of extra help for the birds!  But its important to feed them responsibly and safely.  There’s lots of advice about bird tables, hygiene, feeding and what birds to expect on the RSPB website.  Don’t forget to avoid foods that may be toxic to the birds or other wildlife as well as domestic animals such as cats and dogs.

Talking about cats, many of my feline cousins are hunters who might be tempted to lurk in a garden that attracts the birds so try to reduce the risk of cats catching them.  Any food on the ground should be at a distance from shrubs and thick grass where a cat could lie in wait ready to pounce.  Place feeders up high and away from surfaces from which a cat could jump and use spiny plants like holly around the base of a feeding stations to stop them loitering there.