European Adventure

This post was inspired by a Daily Prompt from 2013 – Come Fly with Me: Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home. I took a look at current daily posts but this one was the first to get me thinking.

The furthest I have travelled from home is Samos, Greece. This trip took place in the summer of 2012. It is very memorable for me because it’s the first (and thus far last) holiday I have been on with my parents in a hot climate. My Dad doesn’t get on with the heat so we usually go to Scotland, France or Italy for our holidays. In 2012, however, a trip to Samos was arranged. It makes much more sense to me now, because my parents were in fact planning to get a puppy the following summer but were keeping it as a surprise. Naturally, we couldn’t take a dog abroad, and certainly not somewhere as intensely hot at Greece. So, I was blissfully unaware of the circumstances behind our trip, but was perfectly happy to oblige. (Our Cockapoo Jasmine is now nearly two!)

This holiday was so special to all of us because we relaxed. At home, amongst the stress of work, school and general everyday happenings, it’s not possible (especially for my mum) to sit back and breathe for a moment. But when you’re two thousand miles from home, it’s a lot easier to do nothing because there’s nothing to do.

A Timid Visitor to Votsalakia Bar
A Timid Visitor to Votsalakia Bar

The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Greece was the abundance of cats. I must have stroked about a hundred cats during my stay, which I loved. At the apartment we were staying in, a stray female had set up permanent camp with her new litter of kittens. I was accustomed to opening the door of a morning and seeing her sat outside as if expecting an invitation to enter.

Our Next Door Neighbour
Our Next Door Neighbour

We often saw this feisty one lounging by the pool with her litter, who tended to clamber all over her to get to her milk. Cat instinct told them not to wander near the water’s edge, and they were perfectly happy playing on the Mummy Climbing Frame.

A Cat's Life
A Cat’s Life

Anyway, probably enough about cats. They just featured quite heavily!

The apartment was situated a good walk from the town, and access to shops required a decent trek. During the day, this was a workout, especially in the blistering heat! At night it was magical; we often saw shooting stars, a phenomenon I’ve never seen before or since. Nightfall also treated us to glimpses of bats swooping over the pool for a sip of water. It was warm enough to sit by the bar watching them at 11pm with our legs dangling in the pool. They were far too quick for photos though, sadly.

The path up to the apartment, keeping us in shape!
The path up to the apartment, keeping us in shape!

Most days we lounged at the beach. I spent my sunbathing hours reading Dracula. Not only is it now one of my all time favourite books, but it will always remind me of this trip.

Stunning Grecian Waters
Stunning Grecian Waters

I’d also never seen such dazzling blue water before I went to Greece. The seascapes were a watercolour painter’s paradise. Had I the skill, I would have certainly tried to capture the aquamarine tones. As well as vivid greens and blues, we were treated to salmon pinks when the sun went down. Over dinner we often had a sunset to watch.

Baby Pink Skies
Baby Pink Skies

It seems fitting that I complete this post with a sunset. I’ve enjoyed reliving this happy memory. It’s slightly different to what I’ve been posting up until this point but why not inject a little variety once in a while?

Summer Plans

In about three months, I will have finished school once and for all. Not only is that an exciting idea, it’s also a terrifying one. What on earth am I supposed to do now?

I can’t wait to go to uni, but then again the prospect of independence is both daunting and, thus far in my life, pretty unknown. I’ve decided I’d like to do the “Headstart” programme that Cumbria University offers during the summer before term starts because hopefully it will get me used to how the course runs before I fly the coop and take it on.

I’m hoping to make this summer unforgettable. I’m not going on holiday, so I’d love to cram my free time with worthwhile events and days out. As I’m always trying to sculpt my portfolio, I want to visit loads of nature reserves and heritage sites, (if you, dear reader, know of any great ones, please let me know in the comments).

I remember in Winterwatch 2014 there was a feature on the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome in Chelmsford, which is a thriving habitat for rare owls including the Short Eared Owl. This would work beautifully, as I could photograph the owls while my Dad amuses himself soaking up yet more war history (the Yesterday channel is on all too often in our house).

I’d also like to revisit the Cat Survival Trust in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. I’m a member of the organisation and attended a photography day there last November. If you’re looking to photograph big cats, I couldn’t recommend this sanctuary enough. From pumas to Scottish wildcats to stunning snow leopards, the Trust offers photography days in association with Jessops to capture these beautiful animals up close and very personal. 

Now I properly look, there are nature reserves everywhere in my county that I didn’t know about. Wildlife is all around us and when we take the time to look we see beautiful things. I’ve officially started a Bucket List of places to visit in the months to come. I can’t wait for this summer!

All that stands in my way are exams, and plenty of ’em.

Launching Myself Into A New Blog

Hi there.

My name’s Rebecca Gibson. I’m currently in my last year of school, hoping to get myself a clutch of A levels so I can go off to university. I’ve accepted Cumbria and plan to study Wildlife Media there. The dream is to be a wildlife photojournalist. Up until this point I’ve mainly worked with still image, but I would love to be a part of a nature documentary one day. I’d also love to contribute images for a magazine like BBC Wildlife and accompany them with written text, hence the journalism side.

I wanted to start a blog for several reasons. The internet is such a fantastic way of showcasing work, especially for a photographer. In seconds we can share our best images with millions of people across the globe. I also wanted to create a public domain so I could express my thoughts on wildlife conservation. For me, photography is a key medium in communicating wildlife issues; it enables the viewer to see exactly what is going on in the world. I think this is a much more effective way of encouraging action when we can see real-life events through the camera lens, instead of written words. The saying really is true: a picture speaks a thousand words.

On this blog I will share images that I take and record any wildlife adventures that I embark on. I will also give my opinion on articles published in BBC Wildlife magazine, which I am subscribed to. I’d love to connect with other keen naturalists and wildlife photographers, both amateur and professional. The best way to evolve your craft is to learn from others. I hope one day to inspire other new photographers.

I want to document my experiences in a journal format and look back on what I achieve in years to come. I’d love to see my work evolve and improve as I learn, not only from my degree but also from the world around me.

I’ll sign off for now, but I can’t wait to get this blog up and running!