The plan that no one dares to make

One of the traits that makes us human is the ability to plan – to look into the future and envisage the consequences of our actions. We’re obsessed with planning. Businesses plan cash flow and marketing strategy; charities plan fundraising and volunteer recruitment; even nature reserves have management plans dictating which species should live and those that shouldn’t. And as individuals, in an effort to make the best use of our time and resources, many of us plan to the nth degree. As a society we don’t like to leave anything to chance. We strive to ensure wherever possible, positive and sustainable outcomes. It all makes sense but with all this detailed planning going on, you’d think that we’d have a pretty comprehensive plan in place for our future as a species. Not so. This is the elephant in the room, the plan that no one wants to make.

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Cosmetic surgery for the soul.

A huge debt to our lead guitarist’s father, who’d misguidedly invested in a bunch of egotistical hairys, who could barely play but were nevertheless accomplished posers, meant that my dream of becoming a rock legend at 18 was thwarted before it really began. From the ashes of our well intended but naïve aspiration, my working life began but the damage to my vanity ran deep. Without the band, I was deprived of a public platform, an opportunity to bathe in the glory of public adulation. It was a bitter pill for a young man with carefully nurtured waist-length hair to swallow.

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No pain, no gain.

Without realising, I’ve been dashing around Scotland for the last 20 years with my head wedged firmly between my buttocks (too much detail?). I’ve not intended to be blind to the landscape in front of me but rather than look, see and ‘feel’, I’ve rather tended to simply consume. Recently however, I’ve forced myself to explore the Scottish landscape afresh; to put it in a wider perspective; to understand and appreciate it better, or more fully.

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SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.

I can’t remember the last time that I was so excited about my photography. It’s a bit weird; I’m like a kid in a sweetshop. It’s not that I’m jetting off to the Pantanal or the Canadian Rockies. It’s not that National Geographic is sending me to Antarctica – quite the opposite in fact: I’m staying in Scotland, a tiny country with a Big Story (that’s the exciting bit).

Years ago I met a Swiss photographer who was passionate about the Serengeti ecosystem. He told me to always make sure I was “doing something” for a place, species or issue about which I was passionate. Ever since that chance meeting, I’ve done exactly that, or at least tried to.

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Competitions with a cause.

Is it me or is there a constant stream of new photography competitions cropping up? Hardly a week goes by these days when I don’t receive yet another invitation to part with some hard-earned and spend a laborious day (or two) preparing and uploading images and (unnecessarily) writing captions, because let’s be clear, entering photography competitions is no quick job.

So why bother?

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A.M.A.N.D.A – Festival Frenzy!

I recently joined tens of thousands of sweltering, sweaty and very often staggering, music fans on a hot weekend near Kinross. T in the Park is Scotland’s premier music festival and I loved every minute. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and it certainly isn’t Pete’s: he doesn’t do big crowds, dancing and happy songs. He does Quo, AC/DC and Molly Hatchett (well at least he did 20 years ago). Continue reading

Pay me with inspiration.

Nature photography can be a tough business and thesedays it’s damned difficult to get even a toehold on the ladder. It’s not always possible but when it is, we like to try and help young photographers/naturalists progress their career and/or personal development. Continue reading

It’s cool to cry.

I was never a great fan of Big Cat Diary. The naming of leopards and lions, the dramatization of their daily struggle for survival and the liberal sprinkling of cute kitten shots designed to pull at our heart strings and draw us in to what was deliberately constructed as a feline soap opera. No, it was a bit too fluffy for me, a bit nauseating, a bit emotional. Continue reading

The Eagle’s Way: Jim Crumley

Those of you who have endured my rants over the years will know that I just don’t get it. Life that is. I don’t get Christmas; I don’t get marriage; I certainly don’t get funerals. I don’t get cars; I don’t get jewellery; I don’t get food, especially pretentious food. The list goes on. I quite like tattoos though. And that frizzy hair that young women promoting discount sofas tend to have. Very nice. Overall however, I struggle to make sense of the world and its human inhabitants. Continue reading