Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 10/07/2011

Stop… Hammer Time.

Working through a number of images for the photo shoot, and having come back into my office with some more refreshment I’ve suddenly realised how much camera gear has been shoehorned into my office. Not just that, but there are also bits of camera gear in most of the rooms of the house. The worst has to the be large 600mm flight case that next to my bedside cabinet (and no I don’t take it to bed instead of a teddy if you’re wondering). If you hadn’t gathered, photography kind of rules my life – not the gear, I’ve got past the gear head stage, more the actual images themselves. Having said that I’m currently surrounded by lenses, cameras, lights, backdrops, framed images, memory cards, camera bags, and the list goes on (and on and on). I would say I need to get out more, but I’ve just got back from Kenya so really there should be no excuse.

A slight departure for today’s image, instead of some impressive beastie, we have a (medium sized) brown bird which may not be that exciting for you all out there but I was overjoyed to see it in the wild – well for the first couple, but after the 20th or so, I was less so. What is this unusual looking bird, I hear you ask, it’s a relative of the heron family and has the fantastic name Hammerkop. I can’t say why I’m particularly drawn to these birds when I see them in zoos etc. perhaps it’s the macho name (hardly), perhaps it’s their unusual appearance (more likely), it certainly can’t be because of their rarity value, as they are not exactly scare in the southern hemisphere – still I don’t think I’ll get bored of photographing them.

You would think that I’d be content with the 4818 images I took whilst in Africa, and that I wouldn’t need to take any more photos for the whole of July, but whilst out in the garden I noticed that one of the herbs we’ve planted has started to flower. I knew the flower would be great to photograph but with the evening sun illuminating the bloom it transcended great, it looked sublime. The blue flower of the Borage plant is one of the few true blue plants that is edible but as it can taste a bit like cucumber I don’t think I’ll bother much. It is, however, quite good in a glass of Pimm’s by all accounts so perhaps it will have a culinary use after all.



  1. Hammerkops are indeed fantastic birds! I just love it when the name of a creature says it all! I was fortunate to see some of them flying by in Tanzania.

    • A true case of nominative determinism in the case of the Hammerkop ( I suspect it was originally Hammerkopf – kopf being head in german). Thanks for commenting 🙂

      • Or maybe the Dutch had something to do with it.. Kop means head in Dutch. I never realised animal names could turn into a language course!

      • People have very little imagination, it would seem, when it comes to naming things – either nominative determinism or onomatopoeia lead to most names – cuckoo, killer whale – there again it does make it easier to remember.

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