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Wildlife Camera: Success Finally

I have been consisting putting this wildlife camera out around the garden since the start of lockdown, so around 4 months now I think? I have been changing around locations, positions, height of the camera, looking across the grass, looking down the paths, going inside sheds and little hedgehog houses ive built around the garden, and there was no activity that I wanted for so long. I would get cats, mice, squirrels, birds, which was amusing to see and quite interesting sometimes about what was in the garden that I did not really know about. Last week I started putting dog biscuits out in a hedgehog house, and even though I would not get any videos, the food would be gone and the bowls pushed around, so I checked the camera and the battery was so low that the night vision had stopped working.

I replaced the batteries over the weekend and put it back into the hedgehog house with some more food last night.

I was so thrilled to find the hedgehog last night eating away on some biscuits, proving I have been able to encourage them in the garden and can continue to provide it with food and water now and see if I can keep him and any more. I notice that the biscuits seem a little big for him and he struggled to keep it in his mouth, so I could look at crushing them a little, although I do not want to make it too easy for the mice to eat all of it, as they did seem to finish it off between 1 and 2 after the hedgehog had been in twice, the hedgehog then returned at around 4:11 and you can see it sniffing around and looking for food, whether this is the same one or different I am not sure. I can continue now to see if the hedgehog coming in and out looks different, and maybe trace where it comes from using the camera outside of the house too.


Animal Portraits

I started doing some portraits last year, but I did the animals that I ended up not choosing for the final collection this year, but it did teach me a lot about drawing fur and getting eyes to look realistic, so I thought as a good starting point, I would like to do this portraits, as I feel like if I left them any later, I would talk myself out of using the amount of time needed for them.


I began with a hedgehog, which I was enjoying doing until I got to the spikes, looking at my reference pictures realising they are very white. I managed to get a method to doing this, drawing a white line then coming in with the dark around it, then adding a gradient below it into the white end of the spike. I think these turned out okay, I would probably make them thinner next time, they look a little chunky at the ends, but I think this could be fixed digitally as well. I like the face, I think I got a lot of life into ht eyes and movement in the fur, I followed a reference picture carefully when looking at the direction of the fur.

Red Squirrel

I next tried a Red Squirrel, obviously the colouring was important in this one and I like again the movement of the fur in the tail. I forgot to add the whiskers and the ear tufts before taking the photo, but these will be added before I do anything else to them.

European Hare

The hare was quite difficult, the view I choose I thought would work well for a portrait, however it is a strange view to see a hare at, so maybe looking more into angles and things I could do a better one of these. The end does cut off quite suddenly too, so I think I would like to add some florals and leaves to hide this, probably digitally, to make it quite a pretty arrangement that would look good as a placement print. I want to get these printed with fashion formula, so this will be important to get done soon as I think the delivery times will be increased with the restrictions at the moment.


Finally the Hazel Dormouse, just known as the Dormouse in the UK as it is the only native species, done here with one of its young. I used prismacolours to complete all of these and watercolour behind some of them if there was going to be a lot of dark colours in one place, so I was not working directly onto white. The pencils are lovely because they soften and produce quite a thick result, which is great for getting solid colour and blending them together nicely. I also produced a video time-lapse of some of this drawing, showing the way I build up colour and blend to get a more realistic effect to the work.

Time-lapse of the Dormouse drawing

I am happy with the result of these and the plan is to print them onto fabric and add some stitching to them, I think this could make them more of a graphic outcome on fabric, but I do need to take it digital first and edit it. Like adding some plants to hide cut off lines and avoid just a floating animal, and in the case of the dormice here, making sure the leaf hanging here is complete so it works as a placement piece.

Llyn Llech Owain

The Llyn is such a nice place and has quite a mixture of shadowy woodlands and open fields, a pretty good environment for any of the species I am looking into. I think the images I found were good and the right kind of plants that I wanted, such as the long ones. I think these are good reference images for getting the shape and form right too.


Penarth is a lovely little village between my home in Carmarthenshire and my parent’s holiday home in Cardigan, my boyfriend and I decided to go and spend the day up there, so this meant that we were passing through this village, so we met my family there for a walk before we went for a meal.

This particular place has been visited by my family since I was very young, the main feature being a small bridge that you can walk over, next to and under, with very large circles through it where we would regularly climb inside for photographs.

I’ve always liked visiting this place, and the surface and texture of the rocks I think were really interesting. I think this could be something I could look into as I explore texture more during the module. I also like how the water has a pattern on the surface.

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

This is a place that is quite close to home for me, and I probably do not go often enough for how close it is. I do like going when they have craft fairs or exhibitions on there, but this visit was just a research trip to gather images.

The botanic gardens are a showcase of the best wildlife and plants from around the world, the pond at the front I thought was very inspiring, it was full of different plants and looked quite natural. As we walked further we found a lot of very interesting looking flowers and plants, especially when we got into the large domed glasshouse.

The flowers were so colourful and even the leaves presented really interesting and unique shapes and colours within them. I found some colours that I really thought were not able to be produced naturally such as very vibrant blues and pinks, traditionally colours that we do not associate with the earthy greens and warm browns we find in nature, so I did love this side of the research.

There was also a butterfly house and in full summer the bees were out collecting pollen as well, I managed to get a few photos of these before they flew off too which is something I found very difficult when I was trying to do the same by lakes and ponds with dragonflies.

We were lucky enough to witness a bird of prey flying show while we were there, I found it so interesting seeing the birds so up close and the different patterns in which they fly. I thought about how this could be translated into a pattern which I thought would be really interesting, such as adding spots behind the motif across the fabrics to show the pattern in which it flies.

Overall this was a very interesting visit for research, it gave me inspiration in nature and natural botanics, as well as insects and birds, so I knew I had a lot to think about as to which way i could like to take my research to focus down on one thing specifically.

Dinas Rock Research Trip

Another place close to home is Dinas Rock, a small woodland walk that changes into cliff faces halfway round, leading to the legendary Twm Sion Cati’s cave. Twm Sion Cati is described as the welsh Robin Hood, many welsh story books tell of his mischief and adventures, resulting in him seeking a hiding place in the welsh mountains, supposedly this cave.

I went with my friend Cody, studying a sound engineering course in USW but also with a keen interest in photography like myself. I focused on leaves and patterns within the nature that I found there, I thought these were really interesting parts of the walk. I was on the look out for insects or signs of wildlife but as this was a hot day during the summer holidays there were more children around than previous visits I have been on where I have seen badgers, squirrels and birds of prey.

Although on a drive later on in the night we saw a great deal of wildlife, including a fox, two baby hares, a barn owl and a hedgehog that needed moving out of the road.

Llyn Llech Owain Research Trip

Near where I was working, I knew there was a lake which I had been to before. With my friend from fashion design staying for a few days, I wanted to show her the best of what my countryside home had to offer, being from Bristol this was a big change of scene for her. I knew she wanted a woodland theme for her children’s wear collection and as I was toying with the ideas of insects and wildlife for my own third year projects this is something we could work on together.

We went to the lake on a very hot day, I loved the walk around it seeing all the lily pads on the edges of the lake, we also saw a number of dragonflies in a few different colours.

The photos I managed to get were very inspiring, I loved the shape and the colours in the lily pads, especially the ones that were dying and turning funny colours. The contrast of the bright green against the dark water was interesting, but where the sun was hitting the water in the shallows gave it an interesting orange quality which I thought was really textural and inspiring. Where I was capturing photos from on top of a platform, the lily pads were obviously further away and smaller, which I think creates an interesting pattern in itself because it is random.