Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum. This has become something of an annual pilgrimage for me. It is always a beautiful and inspirational collection and this year was no exception. There are some stunning pictures on display.
Two things, however, did surprise me. The first was the number of winners which were on film. Out of just over two-hundred images, I counted just eight. Hardly surprising? Perhaps - but just two years ago the ratio was almost entirely the opposite way round. It seems in two short years, digital has all but seen off film in the realms of Wildlife Photography.
So what of the result? I'm not entirely sure. The pictures were stunning, there is no doubt of that. Yet somehow, I felt that the general standard had dropped, by the tiniest amount. The effect of film? Me becoming inoculated to high-quality wildlife photography? Just a minor blip? I don't know.
What I do know is that two years ago I was inspired by the vibrant colours of Fujichrome Velvia to buy some. Two years later most of it is still my fridge. Digital is just too darn convenient, and even the ultra-vibrant colour of Velvia cannot lure me away from it.
The second surprise was the number of shots from taken on the Falklands. I forget now exactly how many there were - five or six I would guess. The numbers are not that important, it was more the inspiration to me. Those images sum up some of what I hope to see later this year. In the meantime, as the rainy weekends continue and wildlife photography seems far away, I have to content myself with mocking up the following in my bedroom. Okay - it's not quite Andy Rouse, but what the heck. I had fun!
Countdown to Falklands trip: 276 days to go