If you have ever visited wild Scotland in the summer, I expect you are unfavourably acquainted with the midge. The displeasure comes in two distinct stages: (i) they invade your personal space as a collective (ii) they bite.
George Stoyle on the other hand came into my consciousness when he contacted me to ask if I knew that a Mansfield publication had used one of my aurora photographs with a false credit. To this day I have no idea how he found this out, but was grateful for the information. I put in a Facebook 'friend request' and noticed that George was an excellent photographer.
George: better than midges.
Between my hometown Scarborough and Whitby 20 miles North, there is a little known and hard-to-find stone circle. Somewhat incomplete and not that photogenic from the ground, it is still worth a visit if you are the type to find gratification from standing for a few moments with the ancients and pondering their very different lives in that very same place.
Having observed with envy a superb aerial image on George's timeline and feeling a debt of gratitude, I asked if he would be interested in visiting said circle with his drone. We pencilled in a date ...but events took over.
Somewhere between the Stone Age and our catching up over a stone circle there was a "postponement period" during which George's wife gave birth to their daughter and he won British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 - overall. I forgave him (he had a drone).
...back to insects
Summer Solstice 2017 and we finally made it to Cloughton Stone Circle, our short limbed ancestral spirits responding to this modern day intrusion with a powerful curse - Scotland grade midge swarms. Despite his big old photography award, followed by a TV appearance regarding, George was remarkably humble.
Above is a still image taken from the video footage of that night. I recall two flights: one to get the footage, the other to get the footage but without the plastic gimbal support clip 'visible' on the grass. Perfectionism wins proper awards I guess.
"..but the midges George?"
"...I know Paul, but it's all that I'll see!"
Ordinarily I would at this point offer a little thought around photography, but on this occasion I'm going to up my game and offer a couple of Health and Safety measures that transcend it.
(1) Insect repellent head nets: Visually disturbing and challenging to see through, but offer complete elimination of head and neck midge attacks provided the instructions are followed correctly.
(2) Avon Skin so Soft: Greasy and not good for a photographer's optical equipment, but on any uncovered areas of skin it is highly effective at prevention of displeasure stage (ii) 'the bite'.
From landscapes to ecological documentation and film making, George's mix of technical knowledge, tenacity and visual talent is complimented by his aerial, submarine and terrestrial photographic capability. Despite all of that, it is my observation that George's favourite subject rightfully appears to be his lovely daughter.
My wife proof reads my blog posts; her response to this one: "I think you ought to be honest about your own search for perfection - you know, the routinely wet feet and the hours spent taking the same image Paul."
"...I prefer to comment on other people's foibles Amy."
Please click on link below to visit George's website.
Cover image taken on a second outing with George and another friend. Uninspired by the sunrise that we all got up horribly early for - I departed early and discovered this abandoned building with a view.