Sunday Notebook – 22nd May


This week I was nominated to take part in a ‘seven days of nature’ photo challenge. This was just the motivation I needed to grab my camera and head out every day to try and take some photos.

One of the aspects of photography that I love is the unknown. This is as true with nature photography, if not more so, as it is with most other types. What you capture is dependent on so many variables that are out-with your control.

Therefore every day, (with one exception), I have headed out with an open mind as to what I will try and photograph. This has led to me returning home with a large number of shots and subjects to look through and the hardest part of the challenge has been deciding what picture to use as my photo of the day.

However, it was day one that drew the greatest surprise.

Next to where I live is some woodland, home to deer, heron, otters, badgers and a host of other animals. I headed into the woods, just me and my camera, trying my hardest to be quiet and not scare any potential photographs away.

At one point I paused to listen to the gentle breeze, the birdsong, the buzzing of a wasp I was doing my best to avoid and the squawking sound coming from behind. Scotland is home of many wild birds of prey but this squawk was from something far more tropical.

Turning round it was then I saw the vivid red colours of a parrot making its way towards me with its owner, a few paces behind, holding it’s retractable dog lead. I’ll be honest, it took me a few moments to take in what I was seeing and by the time the owner reached me, with parrot now nestled on his shoulder, I could only grunt a ‘yes’ when he casually said “it was a nice day for it.”

For what I am not quite sure, did he mean taking photographs of nature or did he mean walking a pet parrot? I’m not sure what the ideal circumstances are for the latter.

The shot didn’t quite make my photo of the day but it is one of the stranger photographs I have taken and worthy therefore of making the website.


Paper Presents

As I mentioned in last week’s notebook, it was my first wedding anniversary on Monday. One of the good things about wedding anniversaries is that they are themed, so if you can remember how long you have been married for then you can tailor your gift accordingly. Year one is paper.

As a result I decided to make a photo album. As we already have the official album of our wedding day I decided this album would document our first year as husband and wife. With our honeymoon photos, through to our first Christmas as a married couple right up to the present day, with a host of selfies and nights out in between.

I thought this was a thoughtful gift from a husband to his wife, one that would earn me marriage kudos and help me the next time I did something wrong. Those that I have told about the idea have all been impressed and the level of thought involved and my wife was clearly delighted when she opened it.

Then it was my turn. Amy had stuck by the paper theme as well and had too went along the photography route.

I therefore unwrapped a Fairtrade leather bound photo journal, handmade from by a small family business in Rajasthan, India. The khadda paper inside is from recycled cotton leftover from the garment industry and made by a charity in the region that promotes women’s education.

It is beautiful, it is ethical, it is inspirational, it is unique and personal, it was the perfect gift.

Next year I will need to up my game. Amy 1 – 0 Jamie.



As a result of the present I now have the perfect album for my first photography photo and, thanks to the seven days of nature challenge, a host of beautiful pictures to put in it.

Printing photos is an increasingly rare aspect of photography as everyone is desperate to get their photos on Instagram and/or Facebook, where they are just left. How many family photos are taken, looked at instantly, and then forgotten all about?

So I am looking forward to putting together my first photography portfolio but if I am honest I don’t know where to start.

Have you ever put one together? How would you group your photos? What are your tips for a good looking portfolio? Let me know below.

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This week I have been watching the People v OJ Simpson, eating at the Printing Press on George Street Edinburgh, and currently playing the Order 1886. Still listening to Bruce Springsteen.


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