Hi Everyone, as of 24/06/2019 I will no longer be using this site, please head to http://www.mattsmacro.co.uk for future updates.
2 blogs in one day!! You are being spoiled now!
So, last year in June 2018 I teamed up with Greenwings to offer my Mediterranean Macro Holiday for photographers of all abilities. The holiday was focused around learning various Macro Photography techniques whilst out in the field, although one guest simply chose to paint scenes from each day, and they were brilliant. We stayed at the awesome Limneo Guest House at Lake Kerkini and ventured in and around the surrounding lakes, mountain and meadows.
Every morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast prepped by Nikos and his family, from homemade jams to beautiful pastries, cereals and scrambled eggs, truly a great way to start the day.
After some food, and a few coffees we grabbed our gear and loaded up the minibus, we were always keen to get out and make the most of the day. The first day we always take it nice and easy and stay very local exploring around the lake. It doesn’t take long to find wildlife around here, the diversity is amazing, we had Bee eaters and Rollers spotted just as we drove a short distance to our first stop, beautiful birds. The lake itself is amazing for wildlife and often a hotspot in the winter months for the Pelicans, and any area rich in birds is going to be rich in inverts!
In the day we like to mix it up, staying a few short hours at each spot before moving on to different areas. Coffee and Ice Cream stops are always a must. Packed Lunch is provided by Nikos and his family and its always fresh and tasty, although on some days we like to switch it up and eat at a local taverna for lunch.
Each day we find something new and interesting in every area we visit, no matter how high or low. We practiced stacking techniques, using flash or natural light and when which one is suited best. We talked about hand hold techniques, using tripods, you name it, we discussed and practiced it. We learn how to get close to subjects without scaring them.
After a fun filled day we all retire to our rooms for a freshen up and rest. The village has a few local tavernas and bars, this is where we would recap on the day over a cold beer and hot food.
The area is truly amazing, so much to find and photograph. If you like the sound of this holiday, click here and book now 🙂 Below is just a few shots from 2018’s trip.
I hope you join me this year, there’s only a few spaces left!
So! Social Media, there is no escaping it, it’s a big part of our world, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram……Lot’s of variety for every user, 7.3 billion people in the world and of that, 3.17 billion have access to the internet in some way or another, and of that, 2.3 billion are active on Social media with the average person owning 5 – 6 different accounts.
Now, why am I banging on about social media? I’ll tell you. Social media gets lots of bad press, Cyber bullying, A false sense of connection, No privacy etc but it can be used as a very effective tool! And I have the perfect story to show you how!
I use male grooming products from a company called ‘Wingman’, more specifically I use the Face Scrub. I noticed that the scrub contained some form of roughing agent to exfoliate the skin and with the impact some of these exfoliating agents have on the environment I was curious to find out what exactly they was, so, using my facebook account I contacted them via their business page.
A few days later they replied, and told me that they would contact the manufacturer to check. A few weeks passed and they contacted me again to say how disappointed they were to find out that polyethylene is one of the 3 exfoliating agents used and despite extensive checks at the formulation stage this must have been overlooked. They seemed genuinely disappointed and assured me that they would be in contact again. What struck me was how concerned they were, and at how fast they got in contact with me, a pleasant surprise.
Wingman have now confirmed that they have notified the manufacturer and the polyethylene will be removed in the next batch, leaving them with a plastic free face scrub using only natural scrubbing agents. Perfect! Not only do Wingman donate some of the profits to help the heroes, they now help our planet by not cutting corners and using the cheap mass produced micro beads. Other companies should take note!
So, just by me using my facebook account, to send a simple 5 minute message, I have not only highlighted to a company what they were doing wrong and how it was impacting our environment, I’ve just actively made a contribution to conserving our planet and wildlife…..and it took me all of 5 minutes to get the ball rolling.
So why don’t you give it a bash, why not contact the manufacturer of your toothpaste or shower gel, use your facebook, twitter and other social media platforms and ask them why they are using these micro beads, show them that there are alternatives out there that have no or less impact on our environment and wildlife. You could change the world sat in your armchair, sofa, bed, car! If I can do it, so can you 🙂
…..And to Wingman, Thank You, Thank You for being a shining example for all other companies to aspire to! Wingman have a slogan ‘ In Wingman We Trust’ and now we certainly can!
Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been working the night shift this week so I haven’t had much time at all to do anything or get out with the kids.
Here is a quick recap of what we got upto.
We decided to stay at home and refill, wash and fill the the bird feeders and table.
For day 10 we decided to plant some herbs in our garden. Jasmine and Amber seemed more interested in eating them than planting them. lol!
We left the car at home again and decided to walk home from school, 2.2 miles to be precise. For me it was tiring as I’m used to my car, for the girls and my wife it was a breeze as they do this everyday whilst I’m at work.
On the way past one of the local parks the girls decided to try some balancing on the large rocks.
This morning when I arrived home from work at 6am I decided to pop into the garden to see what I could find. I was shocked and excited to find this Red Damselfly on one of the strawberry plants. I’ve never had one of these in the garden!! Due to the fact it was so early in the morning, this beauty hadn’t fully warmed up, meaning I could get a decent picture. I eventually left it alone to wake up, and I went to bed.
I can only assume that someone has a rather large pond near my house, either way I was glad for the visit.
Hopefully I will get out and about more this weekend. How are you getting on with your #30DaysWild?
Thanks for reading
So it’s Day 8 of #30DaysWild and today I tried something different, and it’s something we should I do once in a while, I left the car at home.
Normally I will pick my wife up from work in the car, but today I decided against it, and walked instead.
At first I thought about taking my camera, but I didn’t want to be bogged down with it, plus I would have been more concerned with getting an actual photo for the blog rather than enjoying everything around me, I didn’t even get my phone out to take a snap, instead I just walked, with my senses tuned into THE WILD.
As I walked, I went past the freshly cut fields, I could see birds foraging for worms, a light breeze was cutting through the trees, making that soft rustling sound, not too loud to drown out the sound of the bird song, just enough to accompany it.
As I ventured on further, I was met by explosions of colour and fragrance from each garden I would pass. The Erumpant Rose buds starting to show what they have been hiding away for the past few months, flowers blooming everywhere, reds, purples, yellows and greens, the gardens were alive!
One garden in particular was full of Bees, these pollinating machines were popping their heads in and out of flowers, on a mission to gather as much pollen as possible it seemed. In others there were Butterflies, sunning themselves and feeding on Lavender. I saw 10 species of Birds, 3 species of Bee, 4 species of Butterfly, and countless other Insects, all in the space of a 30 minute walk.
All of this I would have missed if I had taken the car, not only that, I was getting myself and the environment a tad healthier by walking and leaving the car at home.
Why don’t you leave the car and cameras at home for one day during the challenge. It will be worth it.
We’ve had some great weather here today, have you had the same?
We started the day off having a quick look in the garden for bugs. We found this very shy spider, Pisaura mirabilis, under some bark in the flower beds. I love the face of this spider, it looks like it has tribal war paint down each side, a beautiful spider. Here it has its legs pulled in, a typical defensive position, I adopt a similar position when someone rolls me out of bed.
Then we headed over to the fair and dog show on the common near our house. We purchased some Honey from the local Bee Keeper and I was amazed at the taste. We had a great chat about all Bees and conservation.
Jasmine also decided she wanted to climb some trees.
and try the idea from Day 1 which was hug a tree!
After a few hours of fun we headed to our local farm. Inside one of the greenhouses they had old birds nests in a crate for everyone to look at, the kids were impressed.
We also foraged for Strawberries and Gooseberries, it’s a bit early for anything else. Whilst we ventured the grounds we spotted lots of wildlife, Rabbits, kestrels, Buzzards, Butterflies, the list was endless. We also found lots of herbs and wildflowers. The girls are really in their element outdoors, in touch with the wild. So inquisitive, adventurous and happy! It’s the best way to be.
Not sure what we will get upto this week as work will get in the way, but we will certainly try and do something each day.
How is everyone doing? Enjoying the weekend hopefully.
I had a quick twenty minute journey in my car today to see if I could spot any birds of prey, but I was unsuccessful 😦
I decided to call at my mates house on the way home and found this beautiful very small Solitary Bee.
We haven’t had the best weather here today so we decided to do some bug hunting and bird spotting in the garden and take part in the RSPB #frogface challenge. If you want to find out more about the #frogface challenge check out the link click here.
Here is Jasmines #frogface
Here is Noah, our nephews #frogface
And here is mad as a hatter Ambers #frogface