Spring time inspiration: perfect shots, peregrines and picking pungent greens

Spring time inspiration: perfect shots, peregrines and picking pungent greens

Credit Louise Barrack

Vivid lime-green leaves unfurling, shiny, spotty ladybirds crawling out of hibernation and zooming flocks of starlings creating mesmerising murmurations! These spring sights and more may inspire you to try to capture these moments on film, or maybe simply on your mobile! You don’t need professional equipment to get started; for example, if you don’t have a tripod use your surroundings to stabilise your camera or phone, by resting your arms on a branch or fence.

The perfect wildlife shot is usually the reward of patience and catching wildlife in action can transform an image. Watch for a kingfisher diving, a swan taking off or simply a mallard bobbing under water, tail in the air. Angles can be everything, getting on the same level as your subject can get dramatic eye-to-eye shots such as an elusive water vole paddling across a canal. Wet weather may put you off venturing out but stormy skies can make dramatic backdrops, falling rain can create a blurred effect and raindrops on foliage can be beautiful in their simplicity.

Peregrine on 1st egg 2018

Return of the falcons

In urban areas you might get the chance to photograph the world’s fastest animal! Peregrine falcons are making the most of our towns and cities, moving into tall buildings and hunting feral pigeons. The most recent count of peregrines in the UK was by the British Trust for Ornithology back in 2014. The survey had mixed news but overall numbers were up, especially in towns.

In Warwickshire these agile predators have been spotted in Leamington Spa, Rugby and Coventry. And Peregrine Watch is back on your screens now! Cameras have been set up in Leamington to watch these amazing birds close up as they hopefully raise chicks once more. Last year three baby birds successfully fledged and you can follow this year’s story online. Webcams are live now! Head to Peregrine cams!

The image above is the female Peregrine on the 1st egg in Leamington Spa, 2018.

Wild garlic woodland Ross Hoddinott 2020VISION

Credit Ross Hoddinott / 2020VISION

Wild garlic

If the spring weather tempts you out for a woodland walk take a sniff and see if you can detect a hint of garlic! Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, grows in damp woodlands and sometimes hedgerows and can be pretty pungent. You can pick the leaves from March to June and they’re at their best flavour-wise before the white flowers open.  Take care though, the leaves can be confused with lily-of-the-valley or lords and ladies and these are poisonous! The best way to be sure is to crush a leaf and check it smells of garlic.

The excitement of finding your own wild food is boosted by the knowledge of the health benefits it brings too! Known for its antibacterial properties wild garlic also contains vitamins A and C plus calcium and iron and it’s even been shown to reduce high blood pressure. The leaves can be used in a multitude of ways from pureed in a pesto, mixed into home-made garlic butter or blended into a soup or pasta sauce. Get creative!

Louise Barrack