Author Archive

Tranquility Reptiles

Last year I did a shoot photographing a friend’s reptiles for his website. He maintains a site that is a knowledge base for those wanting to keep reptiles whilst giving a more personal approach. Follow Ryan’s own experiences with his ever-expanding collection of reptiles – tranquilityreptiles.wordpress.com !

Just a few of the photos from the shoot:

We took a trip ... to the other end of the reptile room!

 

Lord Spikey McEcho the Gecko – The New Caledonian Crested Gecko
This guy was an absolute nightmare to photograph – he wasn’t a big fan of the camera, and much preferred to hide in his leafy vivarium.  Can’t blame him really!  And he looks awesome, so all is forgiven.

Hiding

A rare moment of posing

 

Duke of Kellog’s – The Corn Snake
Utterly beautiful snake!  Was just such a lovely colour.

The Duke in his Vivarium

Munching

 

 

 

William Snakespeare  – The Western Hognose
He loved the camera; Ryan was lucky Will Snakespeare didn’t end up leaving with me in my camera bag!

The Hognose

 

Tongue

Chilling on a rock

WildScreen Film Festival 2010

Back in October, I was lucky enough to get a volunteer place at the WildScreen Film Festival. It’s held in Bristol every 2 years, organised by the Wildscreen charity.

The Wildscreen Festival is internationally acknowledged as the most influential and prestigious event of its kind in the world. Its aim is to celebrate, applaud and encourage excellence, and responsibility, in wildlife and environmental filmmaking – films which increase the global viewing public’s understanding of the natural world, and the need to conserve it.

Along with Peter Moonlight, I was appointed as Event Photographer and spent much of the week documenting the workshops, talks and events. In addition I got to film the opening night, and help out at the digital grading workshop at Films@59 among other things.  During my free time, I was able to visit any part of the festival I wished.

I’ve uploaded a small selection of my photos in a new gallery on my website: Wildscreen 2010 Gallery, and a few of my photos can be seen on the festival’s homepage: Wildscreen Film Festival .

It was an utterly amazing week and I wish I could do it again! I met so many amazing people, learnt an incredible amount, and had so much fun. It was a non-stop week since the festival is jam packed full of screenings, workshops and talks during the day, then each evening has it’s own event. On the Wednesday was the main event; the Panda Awards … aka the Oscars of Natural History Filmmaking. This was a surreal (and incredible!) experience for me. I was surrounded by so many amazing people that I look up to from the world of Natural History Filmmaking; from Gordon Buchanan, Steve Backshall, and Justine Evans to the big bosses/producers/directors/commissioners from so many production companies and broadcasting houses from around the world.

Not only did I photograph the initial part of the night, I also got to be the cable basher for the lead camera during the actual ceremony. It was surprisingly difficult to keep a few leads from tripping up winners, and tangling up the cameraman. But I think I did alright, and the view was front row!

After the awards, Emma and I got to speak to the winner of the Golden Panda Award (the top award of the night). The film that won was ‘Green’, and was filmed and directed by an amateur filmmaker named Patrick. He had travelled to Indonesia on a tourist visa and created a documentary about a Orang-utan called ‘Green’. There is no commentary throughout, only music and fantastic visuals.  It investigates how the production of palm oil is destroying rainforests, and just how guilty we all are of causing this problem. It is free to download and watch at www.greenthefilm.com; he has absolutely no interest in making money and is only interested in raising awareness about this horrendous situation. Patrick was such an inspiration; he showed us all that a) you don’t have to be a massive corporation to make amazing films and make a difference, b) how important films are in the conservation of our planet, and so importantly, c) how much damage we are all doing to our environment without even realising, and that we have to change the way we live and our consumption, now if we want to keep these wonderful rainforests and the species in them.

It will make you cry, but please watch it: www.greenthefilm.com

Patrick at the final screening

The whole experience of the Wildscreen Film Festival was brilliant.  I learnt so much, met so many people, and had a fantastic time. Lets hope next time, I will be there as a delegate who’s picking up the best newcomer award 😉

It’s been a while

So it seems I’ve been rather bad at updating my blog recently.  Though not because I’ve had nothing to say! It seems like I’ve been ridiculously busy since I last updated.  I’ve volunteered at the Wildscreen Film Festival (amazing!), done a photography freelance job, done a shortened edit of my dissertation for Sea Watch (although my wonderful composer is doing exams so we’re just waiting on the music) … and of course I’ve been working full time, and getting annoyed at how early it gets dark! Roll on March when the clocks change.

Obviously I’ve been using my free time outside of all that craziness to continue taking photos and filming; I got a fluid tripod head for Christmas (I’ve been without any at all since I left uni!) which is making my life easier – it’s beautiful and smooth.  Now any jerks are purely my fault!! I’m working on a short edit at the moment, but I shall put up a few photos as soon as I can and the new film as soon as it’s done!

But for now, here’s a photo of the lovely smiley wonderful people from Wildscreen:

The Wildscreen Crew

The Wonderful Wildscreen Crew

 

Oh and I can really recommend these guys for prints: ProAmImaging.  I recently got some prints done through them and they’re stunning quality!

 

A new website

I’m in the process of creating a web design website, but in the meantime, a selection of my portfolio can be found here:

Click on image above to be taken to http://webdesign.katherinedixon.co.uk

It demonstrates some examples of websites I’ve made recently as well as some of my design work.

Sea Watch and I on BBC Panorama

Just a quick post to let you know that Sea Watch was on BBC Panorama on Monday!  And I can be spotted brandishing a camera on board the Dunbar II!  Aside from the claims to fame, it’s a good program to watch; it highlights the decline in species around the UK and how it affects YOU.  We really need to start making a proper effort to conserve our wildlife, our food resources, and our planet.

Below are links to a short clip, and the Panorama episode:

On another note, I’ve updated the Film section of my website slightly.  And I’m in the process of getting my web design website up and running – it will showcase the websites I’ve made, as well as the design pieces I’ve done.  In addition, hopefully I’ll have the shortened Sea Watch edit done soon!

A climbing short and the job hunt

With the MSc now over, I am joining the rather large number of people on the hunt for a job.  There seem to be a few freelance things on the horizon, so hopefully they’ll go ahead – it will be amazing to make an income from film, photography & web!  Plus I have two full days of teaching at University after christmas which is brilliant too.  I’m also just about to move to a new flat, so it’s all a little crazy right now!  If anyone needs (or know someone who needs) a film-maker, a photographer, or a web designer/developer, or even tuition in any of these areas then let me know!

I’m starting to hear a little bit from Wildscreen about volunteering at the festival in Bristol in October.  I am EXTREMELY excited about this; it’s going to be such an incredible experience, even if i will be working hard! Hopefully soon I’ll know my actual role!

I’ve got a few ideas buzzing around for another (shorter this time!) video project, so I’ll be starting that soon … in between moving, doing 2 more Sea Watch edits, and my freelance work! It’s all rather exciting 😀

Click on the image above to watch the film!


Speaking of films, I recently did a bit of filming with Luke (lukesaddler.com) for one of his climbing shorts, so check it out!  And for any Twilight fans, see if you can recognise the music!!

Bay of the Bottlenose Dolphin

On 6th August, I completed the edit of my dissertation film.  It’s taken me rather a long time to get it on vimeo due to compressing it, and the important matter of relaxing, and gallivanting around the country after the completion of my masters!  But I’ve returned to Nottingham, and here is the finished piece:

Bay of the Bottlenose Dolphin. Click to be taken to my film.

(vimeo.com/14264168)

A massive thanks obviously goes to Sea Watch (seawatchfoundation.org.uk) for letting me work with them over the four weeks; this opportunity meant that I was able to capture footage I wouldn’t have thought possible for a film with such a small budget,  but also I learnt so much, made friends, and saw incredible sights I shall never forget.

I can’t even begin to thank Ryan Calmus (rmcalmus.co.uk) for composing the soundtrack for this – it’s incredible, and he worked so hard to create it.  Not to mention the fact that he gave up so much of his free time to do it!

I’m now working on a shorter edit for the Sea Watch Foundation, and using my new MSc-free time to move house, find a job, and of course, make more films and take lots of photographs!

On a less happy note, I recently watched both ‘The Cove’ and ‘The End of the Line’.  Neither are uplifting nor happy, but I’m glad I watched both feature-length documentaries; they are eye-opening and hopefully they will be a huge help in the fight to conserve our marine life before it’s too late.

Documentary Trailer

I’ve edited together a short sequence to act as a trailer for my film (which will be finished this time next week – assuming all goes to plan!)  It was a nice ‘break’ and helped me motivate myself further into getting it finished;  it’s quite hard working at something for weeks yet still not having a finished product, so it was good to complete something!

http://vimeo.com/13744902

Click the image to be taken to my vimeo account

Hope you enjoy it!  Now it’s back to more editing and essay-writing

The Big Edit

So I’ve been back in Nottingham for over a week now; it was very hard saying goodbye to everyone at Sea Watch, and saying goodbye to the sea and the dolphins!  But the stay ended on an interesting experience; BBC Panorama came to film on my final day.  We all went out on the Dunbar, in sea state 4 (not particularly clever!) but luckily there were dolphins near the harbour, which meant we didn’t have to face the worst of the waves.  They were filming a piece on biodiversity, visiting a number of different people and organisations.  It should be out on August bank holiday, so make sure you watch it!  It was peculiar being in front of the camera for some of the time, and also really interesting to watch the guys at work.  Equally it was quite reassuring that they weren’t super human, that I already knew almost everything they were doing, and even BBC cameramen can’t get perfect shots of dolphins straight off!

BBC Panorama

The tables turned; BBC filming me

It was a really good way to see the end of my stay in New Quay with Sea Watch, and Chris even came to say goodbye.

Chris comes to see me off

Since I last blogged, a fair bit happened.  Aside from the BBC, the Times newspaper came to do an article on Sea Watch, my parents came to New Quay for a weeks holiday (and I’m pretty sure they fell in love with the place too!).  The weather, however, decided it had had enough of being bizarrely sunny and lovely, so the wind picked up again and the clouds and rain came back … along with Wales’ notoriously unpredictable weather.  It made it very difficult for me to finish the filming I needed to do, since I found it very difficult to get steady shots with the wind.  In addition most of the stuff I still needed to do relied on the weather being good AND the tides being at the right time.  Still, I think I got everything I needed, and also met/interviewed the big boss of Sea Watch, Peter Evans!  I was really rather nervous if I’m honest….

Rainbow in New Quay on my penultimate day

I took a brief trip to Pembrokeshire after my stay in New Quay to visit Skomer Island, and have a look round whilst I was in Wales.  The weather on the first day was absolutely incredible, and the water vis FINALLY decided to be good (a rare occurrence since I had my lesson, irritatingly) so I got some more underwater footage.  I was also lucky enough to see around 15-20 common dolphins swimming speedily; out to get their dinner, no doubt.  Incredibly I also bumped into Sion who was doing the last of his summer project; I knew he was in Pembrokeshire, but didn’t really know where, and we hadn’t organised to meet up until a couple of days later!   The following day, the weather was utterly terrible, and just so happened to be the day I went to Skomer island.  It was still an awesome day, and I didn’t realise how close the puffins came, and how incredibly cute they are.

A puffin dries his wings

Returning after a successful fishing trip in the rain

Heading back to land

Strangely, my stay in Wales seems rather like a dream now as I embark on the huge edit; I foresee many many long days and nights stuck in front of my computer!

Pretty places, the underwater world, and more dolphins

It’s been a while since I last blogged; internet related again!

Unfortunately the weather has now decided it doesn’t want to play ball; today is VERY windy and cloudy, with rain every now-and-then.  So today is primarily an editing day.  Hopefully I’ll get a decent amount done.  However, this afternoon I shall be interview Peter Evans, aka the big boss of Sea Watch – hopefully the sound equipment will all play ball.

I’ve been on another dedicated survey since the first one; not quite as incredible, but still really awesome.

Jenna working and watching dolphins

The weather was stunning (i believe this photo was from the first survey, but still) and we had one close encounter with some seriously cool bow riding; I’ve yet to go through my footage properly, but hopefully I’ll get a screenshot online soon.  Hard to believe now quite how awesome the weather was!

Training on Dunbar

The guys also did a bit more training at the end of the trip, so here’s a snap of the volunteers crammed on the front of Dunbar!  7 volunteers+?

One of the volunteers, Sharron, also took me on my first snorkelling outing – we just went off the beach in front of the Sea Watch office, but it was seriously awesome.  We got to see spider crabs, velvet swimming crabs, edible crabs, plus lots of fish.  Since it was my first time, I didn’t take my camera along.  Big mistake!  The visibility hasn’t been as good since, and now the windy weather is going to make it worse.  I managed to get some stuff down the coast a bit, but alas no crabs.  Now you may question my need of having a snorkelling lesson, but if I’m honest, it scared me rather a lot when I tried out the mask and fins at Mwnt beach … I’m a totally convert now, but I’m just impressed if I manage to get any usable footage from under the sea!

I’ve been exploring the local coastline – Jenna and I went to Mwnt last week which is a really beautiful beach just north of cardigan.  We saw seals and dolphins, plus the added bonus of it being really pretty and sunny!

Posing with Mwnt beach in the background

I also dragged Jenna up to Ynys Lochtyn to get a shot I wanted – It had a fair few more hills to get to the spot I wanted than I’d imagined! But it was a beautiful walk so it was worth it (i think!)

I’ve finally gotten round to sorting through my clips of the 3 hour session at birds rock, watching dolphins.  So here’s couple of screenshots.

3 Dolphins

Dolphin doing a huge leap

It feels like I haven’t been making much progress in the last week, but fingers crossed that will change soon :/ either way, I’m still really enjoying being here (even if I am missing people a bit) but the family are coming on holiday here next week so I’m looking forward to that!