Doncaster Naturalists’ Society Indoor Meeting 9th November 2022 

Local Landscapes and the Landscapes and Wildlife of Northern Sweden

Held at Parklands Sports and Social Club at 2 pm.
10 members were in attendance with  4 apologies
NB opened the meeting and then MP introduced the guest speaker Oliver Wright
Oliver introduced himself as a keen climber and mountaineer who started out with an amateur interest in photography of wild landscapes and nature (although he confessed to not being an expert naturalist).

He lives in West Yorkshire and only developed his professional interest in photography after a climbing injury prevented him from mountaineering and climbing. Encouraged by a friend to get out his SLR camera to occupy his newly found spare time, he started to post his photographs of wildlife and landscapes online on a Flicka account. The first photograph that attracted attention was taken at a local nature reserve and was of four Kingfishers on one branch – a complete chance encounter.

His interest in photographic composition was sparked by comments on a image had taken of a robin with snow and, by chance, complementing autumnal leaves in the background. He improved his compositional skills and began to take macro-photographs and eventually decided to leave his managerial job in a supermarket chain and take up photography professionally. Initially this was commercial work and portraits, as well as running photography workshops and following his own interests of landscape and nature, including images of Aurora from trips to Scandinavia.

His work was noticed by a tour company ‘Lights over Lapland‘ who were in urgent need of a replacement photographic guide for their winter Aurora Borealis tours in Abisko, Northern Sweden where he now spends the winter months each year.

The first half of the talk was illustrated with landscape and nature photographs taken in Sweden and Norway, including Ermine, Ptarmigan, Reindeer and Orca, and stunning images of ice formations on the margins of the windswept lakes plus many Aurora images.

Oliver then showed macrophotographs of various insects in Yorkshire, many taken in the early morning when the animals are torpid and covered with fine dew droplets. His close-up work specialises in focus stacking. Many separate image can go into generating the final photograph. He has also undertaken deliberate photographing projects or challenges which have included capturing images of a kingfisher diving into a hole in an ice-covered pond, or photographing the condensed breath of a wren singing on a cold morning. During his macro-photographic studies he has observed and even filmed interesting and previously undocumented behaviour including aerial battles between different pollinators, and the manner in which insects clear the dew drops from their eyes and bodies in preparation for morning flight.

At the end of the talk the members were able to ask questions, including technical queries relating to apertures and light capturing, as well as the techniques used for the focus stacking (all done by hand using a macro rail). MP then thanked Oliver for a fascinating talk.


NB announced that the funeral for Committee member Geoff Carreck will be on the 18th November at the crematorium in Barnby Moor, attendance by invitation only in view of Jo’s health.
NB announced that Doncaster Green Space Network had sent out a survey listing a variety of training workshops which could be provided with sufficient interest. The funding being provided by the Get Doncaster Moving Project. NB to share he survey with the membership.
LH announced that she had brought some of Pip’s books for members to peruse and find a home for.

Field reports
LH reported Redwings and Fieldfares in large numbers – possibly due to a bumper berry year in the UK. (N.B. Oliver Wright had suggested it might be a Waxwing year because it was a poor berry season in Scandinavia).
LH also reported a Sparrowhawk feeding on the carcass of a Woodpigeon which had been killed the previous day in her front garden. This was within 5metres of the busy Thorne Road!

The sound of helicopters could be heard during the meeting as the King made a visit to confer City Status upon Doncaster.

The meeting closed at approximately 4.15pm.

LH 10-11-2022