This past year has allowed for unexpected exploration in many corners of the world, giving me some of my most memorable photo opportunities and animal encounters to date. Spending a week in a tiny hide in the Italian Apennines looking for the endangered Marsican Bear, immersing myself in the world of the Arctic Fox during the breeding season, and discovering the jungle wildlife of Latin America were some of the many highlights of 2018. On top of that, it has been a huge personal and professional bonus to travel with enthusiastic people to many of these places on my photo tours and workshops, something which I will doing very much more of next year.
So in no special order, here are my favourite 10 images of 2018, chosen for their stories, artistic value and for the memories they invoke. I hope you enjoy!
A Roe Deer buck stops to look back at me as it bounds off through a buttercup field in Italy's Abruzzo National Park.
Gertrude is one of 50 Great Bustards living freely on the Salisbury Plains as part of a reintroduction project.
Having such a privileged close encounter allowed me to test out my wide-angle lens and show her in her home.
Living alongside a colony of 200 Eider during my week in Svalbard, I had many chances to make portraits of this exquisite duck. With the soft light, tones and colours, this photo reminds many people who see it of an oil painting.
A humorous image of sleepy days on Svalbard. Walruses rest at their colony on Poolepynten
in the Norwegian Arctic whilst a Glaucous Gull flies by looking for food scraps.
Among a tangle of leaves, the colourful plumage of a Passerini's Tanager makes it a distinctive endemic
to the Bocas del Toro archipelago, Panama.
A Marsican Iris, endemic to central Italy's Abruzzo National Park, with the snowy Mt. Marsican in the background.
Showing flora and fauna in the environment is something I've grown to love doing this past year
and makes a change from the soft dreamy focus that I commonly use in my photos.
For a non-flower photographer, it's unusual for me to have 2 flower pictures make this year's favourite shots,
let alone of the same flower. Taken in the same half hour as the previous photo, I like the completely different
perspective, focussing on the symmetry and graphic details of the petals against a black card backdrop.
A quartet of Pink-Footed Geese fly like stencils across the sun on New Year's Day.
From seeing these geese in Norfolk, to seeing them again in Svalbard during the Arctic Summer
and then on my Scotland workshops, their whistling honks herald the start and end of a photographic year.
In Nordic culture, the wail of the Red-Throated Diver is said be an omen of oncoming rain.
On this occasion however, it was calling to its mate as they took turns to incubate the one egg in their test.
An Arctic Fox braces the cold winds. In early summer he sheds his white winter fur sheds for a thin brown coat.
These are just a few memorable highlights of 2018 and with many trips and new workshops lined up,
I can't wait to see what 2019 brings.