My First Week or so in Ceredigion

Well, I know I said I’d be updating the blog regularly whilst I’m here, but it’s proving a little difficult since I’m mainly restricted to phone internet (very useful to have, but extremely slow!) unless I use the Sea Watch computers out of office hours.

Boats in New Quay Harbour

Waves crashing on boats in New Quay Harbour

I’ve been here about a week and a half now and I absolutely love it.  To begin with the weather was a little blustery, and it was a while before I could get out on a boat since the sea state was too rough.  Plus the wind made getting any steady footage pretty much impossible … but the past few days have been amazing.  Wednesday and Thursday saw stunning sunshine and really calm sea.  I spent both mornings on the quay from 7/7.30am for a few hours then did two boat trips on Ermol 6 (a tourist boat that allows sea watch volunteers to come along)

Cormorant

Cormorant in between dives

Filming on a boat is proving a very interesting experience; I haven’t done much hand-held work before now, so having to hand hold my camera AND try to combat the rocking of the boat is rather difficult!  Practice practice practice…

Dolphin Fin

"Chris" ... the view of a dolphin I'm used to seeing!

It seems I’ve seen dolphins most days, with a dolphin named Chris being one I can count on to come into New Quay harbour so I can film her! The other morning I was lucky enough to see a couple of porpoise in the harbour; they tend to be more shy, and are much smaller than bottlenose dolphins.  In addition, if there are porpoises there won’t be dolphins since the dolphins tend to attack the porpoise due to the competition for food.   However a couple of dolphins turned up so we thought we’d be in for a bit of a scene.  Luckily for the porpoise they made a run for it so no drama.  I’ve seen a couple of seals (although they’re not above the water for long) and there are loads of different species of seabird here too; birds rock is just south of new quay and has fulmars, gulls, guillemots, razorbills and cormorants.  Plus gannets feed in the area.

Herring Gull Joining the Boat Trip

A herring gull joining the boat trip

I still have an awful lot of footage to get, but it seems to be going well!

Dissertation film with Sea Watch

Well my dissertation project is sorted and I am extremely excited!

Tomorrow I shall be packing up my car with all my camera equipment, and heading off on the 4-5 hour journey to New Quay (WALES, not Cornwall!) to spend 6 weeks filming.  I’ll be working with the Sea Watch Foundation (www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk) doing a 30 minute documentary regarding their research project on bottlenose dolphins.  Sea Watch are a marine charity focussing on the research and conservation of cetaceans around the UK.  As well as the bottlenose dolphins, hopefully I’ll also see some grey seals, harbour porpoises, as well as loads of other species of wildlife; depending on where the survey boats go, I may even be able to see some whales!

Bottlenose Dolphin

Token Image of a Bottlenose Dolphin (Not taken by me! Not in Cardigan bay!)

I can’t even describe how excited I am about this project – It’s such a fantastic opportunity to be able to work with Sea Watch, the subject matter is amazing, the scenery is stunning, and it will hopefully bring me closer to being able to specialize in conservation filmmaking some day!

Keep an eye on my blog to check up on my progress – I’ll be updating it with my adventures regularly (assuming I have the time!)

Another Video

I’ve  posted the film about Animals in Captivity to my vimeo account.  It was completed by myself and two of my coursemates at the end of last year; All shots were taken on location at both Chester Zoo and Twycross Zoo.

Camerawork: Katherine Dixon
Director: Mia Balashova
Sound & Music: Ellery Chu

Editing: K Dixon, M Balashova, E Chu.

Animals In Captivity

Animals In Captivity Film

Click the image above to be taken to my vimeo account, and watch the film.

Website Live, and the end of coursework

Well, it seems I’ve rather neglected my blog since I set it up.  The reason for this being a very large amount of coursework that had to be completed before I could do anything else!  I have finally finished it all, so I am now able to embark upon my 10 week summer project.  In addition, my website has been made live recently and can be found here:

www.katherinedixon.co.uk

It displays a selection of my images and a couple of my videos I’ve made so far;  It’s a work in progress both portfolio, and coding-wise!

Since blogging I have also upgraded my camera to a Canon 7D, and was extremely sad to see my Nikon D90 go.  However, the amazing quality of both the photographs and video that the 7D can produce is helping to ease the pain!  Here are just a couple of photographs I’ve taken on it so far:

Green Rocks On The Norfolk Coast

Green Rocks On The Norfolk Coast

Staring Contest With a Python

Staring Contest With a Python

Scottish Wildcat

Scottish Wildcat

I’ve recently spent a couple of days in the lake district, doing a bit of filming; I was lucky enough to see Osprey on their nest at Bassenthwaite lake, so hopefully I shall edit together a few of the clips.

Next on the agenda is my dissertation/summer project which I’m putting the finishing touches on organising, so check back here soon for some updates!

The Beginning

I’ve started to upload some of my films to Vimeo. Though I still have a free account, so it’s one video a week for now!

First up is the film that started off everything. Our first film assignment was to make a 3.5 minute short about Wollaton Park in Nottingham. The day got off to a bad start since I was feeling absolutely dreadful, yet everything took a total 180 whilst filming the deer rutting, and I realised I’d found something I absolutely loved doing. I was a bit apprehensive about the video element to my course as I’d never really done any filming before, photography being my main interest. But, whilst I still really enjoy photography, filming has become my passion. I will do whatever it takes to become a professional.

Deer at Wollaton Park

Deer at Wollaton Park

Here’s a link to the film: Wollaton Park

Finally Blogging

I’ve been meaning to start blogging for a while now and whilst I come up with things I want to write about, I never seem to find the time to sit down and actually write it.  Obviously, now coursework deadlines are looming, it’s an excellent time!

Right now I’m at my parents’ house, catching up on some video-editing and essay-writing so there hasn’t been as much getting out with my camera as I’d like.  I did take a bit off time out yesterday to take some shots of water though.  I wanted to try to freeze the motion, and after a little research I found a very easy way of doing it with the limited resources I have with me right now: my DSLR, tripod, and one flash gun, plus a few items from around the house.

Blue Water Droplet

No editing aside from the removal of a tiny distracting water droplet!

Turquoise Water Droplet

Again, minimal editing - this time a little sharpening

Red Water Droplet

Absolutely no editing!

All shots were taken at f8.0, 1/200 seconds, with TTL Flash on my Nikon D90 + Sigma f2.8 50mm macro.  There was barely any editing involved in these shots, in particular I did no colour adjustments! The colour was created by using either blue or red paper behind the droplet, and by altering the white balance setting to ‘tungsten’ to get the darkest blue shot.  I’ll be giving this another go when I get back to uni I think since I didn’t spend all that long on it – I’d like to try to capture the crown of water that occurs; I achieved a couple of shots but the depth of field was a little too narrow so it wasn’t all in focus.

Anyway, they’re a totally different type of photograph to what I usually like to take (wildlife and landscape), but it was still really good fun to experiment!

About

I’m a 20-something who is happiest when up a mountain, or watching wildlife, camera in hand.

Whilst I have always had a love for photography, it was only recently when studying for an MSc in Biological Photography & Imaging, that I found my true calling in life; capturing moving images on camera.  Nothing can beat the buzz I get whilst filming.  Recording wildlife and landscapes using the medium of both stills and video are the areas I enjoy most, but imaging is a continual learning process and I like to experiment with as many different subjects as possible – ranging from studio work to filming sports such as rock climbing.

Taking Photos in the Peak District

My other hobbies include climbing, running and rambling (especially when scrambling up waterfalls is involved).  I adore being outside in the fresh air but similarly, with a background in Computer Science, I can spend hours immersed in code creating a website or computer program.  I love creating things, whether it be films or websites, and I’m always up for an adventure!

Get in contact: katherine [at] katherinedixon.co.uk