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Lindo Junio 💛 linda Bogotá; epicentro cultural, artístico, económico y social de Colombia, tan variada en sus calles, en su gente, en sus formas, en su ánimo y en su clima 🌞🌦️🌧️🌞 Una ciudad abstracta e ingeniosa que le da una oportunidad a cualquiera que la pise, donde muchos hemos crecido, sucumbido y renacido 🌈 Para el calendario de éste mes hago un homenaje al centro de Bogotá, la Candelaria ❤️ por donde los paseos son únicos e intensos, estás calles hicieron parte de mi formación artística; mañanas, tardes y noches en el centro de la ciudad, comiendo todo su paisaje multicultural, atenta a cada movimiento, cada luz, tráfico, comercio, cada persona, un lugar donde debes estar más presente que nunca, atención consciente al 100 🌃☺️ muchas de esas noches fueron resguardadas por los Perros de vigilancia ❤️ perros con la misión de protegerme de cualquier calle oscura o solitaria. Gracias bebés por tranquilizarme en tantos momentos de sutil inseguridad 🐶 Mi dibujo está dedicado a todos estos perros que trabajan en vigilancia de distintas formas, amor, inteligencia y servicio unidos en un solo ser! ❤️❤️❤️ Hermoso Junio y mucho Ánimo a todos!

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In continuation form my last post half an hour ago: Photos of mine on my 2021 wildlife calendar: October-December and five reserves 

Like the last post, mentioned below in order of appearance in this photoset 

October: Collared Dove in the garden taken March 2020 

As one of my prominent lockdown/working from home era photos this one sums up those days in when I loved taking pictures of birds in the garden, but had to battle more than most to make this calendar. Against Puffins, Seals and Bewick’s Swans this simply point and shoot taken Collared Dove cut a more modest figure in my shortlists. But in the real close looking at the pictures this darkhorse made me realise it was simple yet effective and a picture I really liked the quality of with its nice little bit of sun bringing out the bird well on a memorable sunny day so it made it. What I didn’t realise until recently is I believe its the first of my garden bird photos ever to make one of my calendars a huge personal thing to take from the days working from home/in lockdown. 

November: Grey Seal, Farne Islands from June 2019 

Another of the Farnes photos I liked so much, in my strongest year for them seeing so many Grey Seals and up close too helped make the Northumberland adventure so special too. This one just had so many elements I liked about and I rather hoped I might be able to put it in my calendar line up only the second seal picture to make it for me. Whilst its a summer photo I know November is a key part of the Grey Seal breeding season on the Farne Islands bringing back memories of a BBC Autumnawatch stint with them on the Farnes with Gordon Buchanan when I was younger when I first learned of this and longed to go so with many of the Farne photos competing for that June slot I took a bit of pleasure in giving this one the vacant (in terms of photos on the calendar taken in it) eleventh month of the year. 

December: One of my favourite birds the Puffin, Inner Farne, Farne Islands, Northumberland taken in June 2019 

When I finalise a calendar lineup I create a new folder (my shortlist is basically a folder of my photos on my laptop which after processing my photos on each trip/every time I take some I put copies of them/standout ones into to compete to be on my calendars) for the next calendars i.e. this year my 2022 calendars. I then pick ten wildcard photos so photos taken within six weeks prior to my lineup being finalised to put into the next year’s folder as they were taken in a time I was well into my choosing and maybe didn’t get a fair chance to stay around long enough for me to judge them truly so they effectively get a shot at being able to be ones I come to like enough over time and could make the next year’s calendar. I also do if I need to reverse wildcards where if I take a picture between finalising the lineup (creating the new shortlist folder) and my first social media reveal of the calendar that I think is good enough to go on the calendar I’ve just chosen instead of another I can do that. 

If it wasn’t for the fact my calendar lineups had already been revealed on social media for 2020 by the time we got to the Farne Islands this Puffin picture may have been on my 2020 one. Albeit, I took so many I was proud of on the Farnes this in a batch of three or four I picked out as my strongest when there among others it may have been unfair to accelerate only one to the calendar. I say that with a pinch of salt and just a way to explain finer details of my calendar selection process and mean no disrespect to the 13 of my wildlife photos from 2018 and earlier 2019 that made this calendar I’m so proud of on my wall now. 

As it happened this photo got the time to well and truly prove its worth among my others and make the calendar, but I feel as soon as I took it I knew it would probably make my 2021 calendar. There is just such an aura about it, I feel its again simple yet effective in the way I took the photo but its just such a memorable photo. As I said all those years ago for the good one I took on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire in 2013 of a Puffin with sandeels in its beak that’s the money shot that’s the picture everyone wants to take of a Puffin. I did that here and its my best Puffin picture, potentially my ultimate wildlife subject in the UK especially, I’ve taken since that 2013 one that hangs on a big printed canvass I got for a birthday once with another of my past photos beside me. With this picture I just can’t really put into words what it means to me I just love it so much, it sums up why I love Puffins and why the Farne Islands experience was one of my greatest in my life. It sort of fell into December’s slot with the packed amount of June photos making the calendar. But actually the cloudy sky and white wall may make it quite Decemberesque thinking of snow haha. Fitting that the photo I’ve known would likely make this calendar for the best part of the year will close it. 

This is the first year I’ve ever shown you them I believe but I normally like to have five photos that during the selection didn’t quite make the calendar as reserves. This is just in case a photo on the calendar doesn’t look too good in any format on the website I make the calendars or something happens with the file or anything like that. Its an easy contingency and these photos so close but yet so far are unlikely to actually be on the calendars. These photos in this photoset the fourth-eighth pictures in this photoset are a mixture of one that were provisionally qualified at one point and had to make way for other photos or the remainder of my final league I do where I pit eight photos against each other to see what looks best at the time and do a little scoreboard to determine the last few places on my calendars. 

The reserve photos are, another Puffin on Staple Island, Farne Islands from June 2019, Common Tern on Inner Farne Island then, Kestrel at Richmond Park in October 2019, Water Rail at WWT Slimbridge in January 2020 and Small White butterfly near to home taken in March 2020 the same day as the Collared Dove and this one was provisionally qualified so I nearly had two locally from one day.

So there we have it, my wildlife 2021 calendar. My landscape and other outdoors 2021 calendar lineups had their final decision done later so I will do posts like these for them in due course corresponding so they’re a month after the Twitter reveal of them on Dans_Pictures. 

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My photos that I’ve chosen to go on my 2021 wildlife calendar: Cover & January-September with some thoughts on each of the photos 

Just over a month ago I tweeted the lineup of photos that I’ve taken that I’ve chosen to go on my 2021 wildlife photos calendar. To those who don’t know I make two calendars for personal use and as my Christmas present each year, one from my wildlife photos another from my landscape and other outdoor photos. I make the calendars in August or September each year and leave it up to my family after that to order the calendars via the website we use, wrap up at the appropriate time etc. Its evolved that I finalise and reveal on social media the lineups for these between late April and June. There are many reasons for this and a key one being the hot, busy and long evenings/weekend mornings of summer are not a great time to be sat at my laptop choosing photos and looking at quality comparisons between photos I’ve taken. I wouldn’t want to be in a position of choosing them in September as I’d just worry if certain things come up I may not be able to get the calendars chosen in the right time frame for them to be made in time for Christmas. With other things happening in the build up to Christmas for me and the time between September and Christmas flying by every year it seems it just makes sense to get the calendar line up choosing done and dusted in the spring for them to be made in late summer/autumn and ordered in time to be my Christmas presents. 

That does then mean the photos I have chose from are any I took within about a year from spring to spring. So for example, the photos in contention for my 2021 calendars were ones I took from spring 2019 until spring 2020. I now operate a system of variety quotas of what types of pictures I want within the 13 pictures (cover and one for each month) of mine making the calendar. As part of that, using the example of my 2021 calendars, five photos on each calendar must have been taken in 2019 and five photos on each calendar must have been taken in 2020. This just makes it fair to ensure both years’ worth of photos that have fed into my selection process are represented on the calendar. So below are my Cover and January-September photos on this calendar, ordered in appearance in this photoset by their month. Below I shall say what and where each one is, when it was taken and a little bit about why I was happy to take it/its journey onto my calendar. 

I must confess I wrote this up the day after I finalised this calendar line up in late April (the choosing was sped up a little by the lockdown this year and the time I had on my hands because of that and with the amount of photos I take really increasing in 2019 and 2020 to previous years I had much higher amounts of photos to choose from so felt I had to really progress my choosing a lot in April to get it all done in time) 

Cover: One of my favourite birds the Guillemot on Staple Island, Farne Islands, Northumberland, taken June 2019 

Another reason I chose the calendar final lineups about now is because often in June we have our main holiday for the year which very often involves many photos with lots of wildlife up close and top views so for both calendars I don’t want them to be swamped by one holiday’s photos to give lots of photos at local and further afield places a chance. That can easily happen if when doing the final choosing I am still within the buzz of the many holiday photos not long after they were taken, so photos from a holiday in June 2019 say having to wait until the year after next for their chances to be on a calendar allows me to refine the choices and identify what was my strongest photos from that trip. That being said, six photos from my Northumberland holiday for the Farne Islands last June have made this calendar. This is because it was one of my greatest photography weeks ever, and this picture of a Guillemot sums up the sorts of once in a blue moon opportunities I had to take these types of close up and intimate photos with my very favourite creatures. I like how this one looks good in the sun bringing out the Guillemot’s brilliant colours. Its not only a Guillemot but a bridled one too with the ring and mark around the eye not something too common on coasts down here but there were many in Northumberland’s colonies so I was proud I could capture this in this way. When deciding my cover if felt natural to put a Northumberland one there with many of them on the calendar only one could actually represent the month they were taken in June and this felt like a natural photo to be the face of this calendar for me. 

January: Bewick’s Swan, WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire taken in January 2020 

The Slimbridge trip away to start this year also features multiple times on this calendar, this Bewick’s Swan photo taken on my birthday was one I was so proud of and brings a great closeup but not really needing sun to make it memorable vibe. 

February: Woodpigeon, WWT Slimbridge, taken January 2020

Features of the calendars I’ve made for wildlife the last couple of years have been handing places to photos of species that have never featured on my calendars before; Fox, Arctic Tern and Green Hairstreak among this year’s examples. But so also is Woodpigeon, a species I’ve photographed so much over the last couple of years and this one was such a memorable one for me I really like the colours especially the purple chest feathers and I think this one will look good printed. Common species can make what I feel are strong photos too.

March: Robin, Blashford Lakes, Hampshire, taken in March 2020 

An obvious choice for the calendar. At the time of writing this its without doubt the most pleasing photo in my view that I’ve taken with my new camera so far that I got in January. I’ve rarely taken photos like this for detail and it captures such an intimate moment with an iconic species. It was literally the first photo on the calendar that was taken in 2020 when the time was right to start to selections I knew it was going on. 

April: Green Hairstreak, Magdalen Hill, Hampshire, taken April 2020 

This photo is a week old as I write this and its taken me by storm to reach this calendar within seven days of being taken. Yes the timing was good with me into the very final stages of getting this lineup at this point, but I had to be happy enough with it for it to make it. Its one of the best butterfly pictures I’ve ever taken I think, like the Robin without doubt right now the best butterfly photo or photo all together that I’ve taken with my new macro lens that I also got in January. It sums up perfectly the detail I can get with this macro lens and type of picture I want to take with it. It displaced provisionally qualified photos to get on this calendar which shows how much I love it. 

May: Another of my favourite birds the Razorbill on the Farne Islands, Northumberland taken June 2019 

This was a dark horse as one of the unsung photos of my big Northumberland seabird trip. However in the selecting at all the stages I just appreciated how much I liked this photo and it just seemed to look stronger and stronger to me every time I looked at it, a personal choice I was glad I could make. 

June: Arctic Tern, Inner Farne, Farne Islands, Northumberland from June 2019 

Compared to trips to Skomer Island and Bempton Cliffs which have had many photos get onto the calendars they fed into in previous years the Farnes had something different, the terns. These Arctic Terns the standout bit of the trip walking through the colony and having them divebomb you so I just really wanted to include an Arctic Tern photo from that trip in this calendar if I could as I knew many of the photos from that time away would be candidates. This one got there on quality merit regardless of its species I feel. But it was another dark horse, at the time of the trip I did not pick this out as my favourite Arctic Tern photo of the trip of the lovely extensive set I took of this a new bird for me at the time on two visits to Inner Farne where the colony is. It soon became apparent it was though as I chose it for my “4 of my favourite ….” (pictures in categories tweets) on my Twitter Dans_Pictures in 2019 in December in a special unqique feature of the year category about the seabirds on that trip and I still loved it enough to carry it onto the calendar for next year. 

July: Brown Argus butterfly, Lakeside Country Park, Hampshire, taken in July 2019

One of my quotas as a big chunk of my wildlife photography is I must have at least one butterfly on the calendar. I am proud this one remained, despite very nearly missing out once the Green Hairstreak was on the scene (another early 2020 butterfly picture had to make way in the end), to represent my butterfly pictures of 2019 which were taken during my greatest ever butterfly year with more species seen than I ever did etc. This is another new species for one of my calendars this lovely butterfly I am getting to really like the last few years. It was one of a batch of my very favourite butterfly pictures taken last year in terms of quality and symbolised one of my best butterfly moments of 2019 as I saw it during a booming ‘Big Butterfly Count’ survey for Butterfly Conservation one Saturday morning. This photo holds so many memories of that summer day which is perfect for a calendar for me I feel. The lockdown has led to many of my strongest photos being so locally to me taken and this is an example of one I took locally under normal circumstances last year.

August: Another of my favourite birds the Kittiwake at Seahouses, Northumberland from June 2019 

This is a second calendar of mine in a row for wildlife to include a Kittiwake after a Bempton Cliffs one taken in 2018 made my 2020 wildlife calendar (It got June as its month so today I turned over the calendar to see it in fact!). But this Kittiwake picture had to be on my calendar for one simple reason beyond everything else, of the photos I took between spring 2019 and spring 2020 this was what I felt was the best one of a bird in flight out of a strong field I must say. I like flying bird photos so much I say at least one must appear on the calendar. So sometimes putting aside species that appeared here and there on past calendars of mine it really is that simple to pick pictures. This photo shows an integral part of the journey I am on really getting to love and know this favourite bird of mine more and more over the last few years. It couldn’t be on the month for the one it was taken as the Arctic Tern took June but I just had to have it for August with that blue sky even if you might not see one that month as its so summery. 

September: Fox at Titchfield Haven in Hampshire taken in September 2019 

Another easy choice for the calendar. This was one of my most magical moments in wildlife watching and photography and the photo was that photo of the species that I might never match again. I just longed for a photo and a chance to be so close to this species I scrambled to get the right lens on to get the photo when the moment came my first Fox of 2019 in fact with the Fox looking right in at us in the hide such an intimate moment with a wonderful species and I managed it, on a variable day for weather that patch of early autumnal sun just came out at the right moment to set this picture up well. With this one I admit there are shortcomings maybe bits of the photo that could have been done better but its one of those I get that I overlook them and I just get them on the lineup this was among the first few photos I chose to go on because I want to see it printed. 

In half an hour I do a post with the photos on this calendar for October, November and December and introduce five reserve photos that didn’t quite make the calendar in case I need them. 

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