Brian Pettit was an entertaining and engaging speaker last night, with his presentation of the Wildlife of France and Spain. Brian’s a prolific photographer, with that underlying respect for his subject matter that marks out the best of wildlife photographers, coupled with an acute awareness of the the need to sensitivity to the environment.
Ably assisted by Tim, his presentation gave us a wide-ranging overview of the South of France and into Spain. The gardeners among us particularly enjoyed the sections on flora, especially the many native narcissus. We might think of the daffodil as a British flower but seeing varieties of the species growing in profusion in alpine areas was a reminder that they are native to North Africa and southern Europe, and, as Brian demonstrated, have a major stronghold in the Iberian peninsular.
Pride of place however, went to the native animals and birds – and it was encouraging to the aspiring nature photographers that Brian and Tim were very willing to also show the near misses, such as the photograph of Tim, well camouflaged and waiting for an owl to fly into shot, which, missing its cue, sat instead on the fence beside him! A very entertaining evening, coupled with some very serious messages about environmentalism, including the controversial – and to us – barbaric, force feeding and eating entire of the ortolan song bird, traditionally done under cover of a head covering napkin to avoid the eyes of God. All in all, a very accomplished, knowledgeable speaker with a wealth of information and images.
Don’t forget that the deadline for the 1st Advanced Print Competition is next Thursday, 26th October!