So here it is, my first blog post. It certainly isn't the first time picking up the camera but it is the first time I have picked up the digital pen to bring even more life to my pictures. What better way to start than with my recent close encounter of the furred kind (sorry, not sorry)
Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world. Particularly, the remote and hidden gems of Scotland. Last week was no different when I had the chance to go further north than I had previously dared / got to without getting distracted by other beautiful places along the way. Lochinver. This occasion it was for a team meeting with colleagues I'd not seen for months, some a year.
After a day filled with 6 hours driving and a few hours of meetings, the early evening provided a welcome opportunity to get out and explore the locale. First was a soggy walk up through the local woodlands, which were covered in lobarion lichens (more on those another time). After the soaking it was time to find the warm embrace of a local restaurant.
Along the way our group was surprised to come across a football pitch full of red deer. Presumably down from the hill in the poor weather, they were enjoying the feed in the less hostile environment.
But as I was photographing one big beast someone then spotted another furry friend. Otter! Close to the sea wall two otters were swimming in the shallows and grabbing crabs from below, bringing them to shore and crunching them to pieces.
As they were under the water I moved down to the shoreline to put myself in their shoes. For minutes on end they would dive below and resurface with another tasty snack.
Whilst photographing one of them feeding on the rocks the other swam along beside me just metres away. It looked me in the eye whilst floating on its back as if to check me out. 'You're alright I suppose' was their deduction. I have seen many an otter in the wild before, the west coast of Scotland is a real hotspot for seeing them, but this was a rare and special encounter. They were completely at ease with me being there, perhaps it was because they saw me as one of them. After all I did sit with my feet submerged in the ice cold salt water for a good half an hour or so to be with them.
Finally, before I headed off to join the others for an evening of warm hearty supper I watched as one literally squeaked its way out of the sea wall to sit just in front of me. This one was smaller than the other two, perhaps a young one. Either way it also joined the others and went off into the Scottish sea to find its next meal.
Sat enjoying the meal I thought to myself just how lucky I had been to share this experience with another, usually very secretive, mammal. There were other people walking along the harbour whilst I was taking these photos, oblivious to me and unfortunate not to have spotted the otters. Here's to our magical world and the beautiful creatures we share this planet with.