Monday, August 31, 2009


Courtney and I have just got back from a week's backpacking in China. We had a crazy 3 days from me finishing work to getting on the plane. Even then I had problems with my working visa expiring, but as I wasn't going to be doing any work when I got back I could return to Korea on a tourist visa. Cool beans.
Our hostel was a brilliant place, nestled in one of Beijing's Hutong districts. We were about a 20 minutes walk south of Tienanmen Square so had a pretty central location. It was really strange and quite humbling to go from South Korea, where we have a foothold on the language and culture to being dropped right at the bottom of the pile again. Still we managed to fuddle along okay. Our biggest problems arose in restaurants where we seemed to be ordering too little food. Never quite figured that one out.
We had about 5 days in Beijing. We walked around Tienanmen Square, looked in at the Forbidden City, ate fried scorpions on sticks, saw the preserved body of Mao Zedong and rode bicycles. We also spent a day on the Great Wall in Simitai, a 4 hour bus ride from Beijing. It's a very steep section of the wall so can be kind of treacherous in places but means that its also fairly quiet up there. We walked along it for about a mile or so, awestruck that we were there on the Great Wall of China. Our exit strategy off the wall was via perhaps the best form of transport available: zip-line! We also took sleeper trains to and from Xian, where we were saw the terracotta warriors, 6,000 of them unearthed after 2,000 years underground. It was a stunning sight.
Despite the chronic lack of sleep, suffering from Beijing belly and not really knowing what was going on at any moment, it was a fantastic trip. The people of China came across as friendly and most spoke excellent English. The sights were everything we could have hoped for them to be. All in all it was a fantastic experience and a wonderful way to end my time in East Asia.

Wonders of China

The Great Wall - Simitai
Terracotta Warriors - Xian
Terracotta Warriors, Pit 1 - Xian


Hutong door
Entrance to the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City

Hutong roofs

Surprisingly delicious


Tienanmen Square

Back From China

Just got back from a week in China. Went off to Beijing and Xian. I was hoping to keep this updated while I was there but it seems that blogger, along with facebook and twitter are all on the wrong side of the Great Firewall of China.
Now I'm back in Korea, where Asia makes sense so will get selection of pictures up sharpish.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Yesterday I got an email asking me to redo a few sections of the pre-interview task. They've got some pretty tricky questions in there so I did some more reading up on my kinda dusty grammar knowledge and sent that back in amidst trying to sort out a place to stay in Korea once we return from China. This morning, while cleaning the apartment and before we shipped out to Leslie's place (lifesaver!) I got an email telling me that ECC want an interview. That added an extra element to an already kind of hectic day. But it wasn't until the evening so once we'd moved our stuff to Leslie's apartment we had lunch and spent most of the afternoon just lounging in her apartment chatting. It was very relaxing. Fortunately the interview went well and I'm all set to start their course this October. There is another task to complete and some reading to do but I have been accepted. Another box checked off the list!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Next Big Thing

So I've finished teaching at OES Kids, Anseong, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. It was a fantastic experience, my first 'real' job out of university and has probably marked the beginning of my ESL teaching career. Now I'm at a bit on an in-between stage as I prepare for what's next for me. Which, if everything goes okay, will be a teaching job in Thailand.
I finished work on Tuesday, had an unexpectedly busy day Wednesday as I sorted out my accounts and stuff for my trip to China. Today has been spent packing as Courtney has been told that she has to move out of her apartment by the end of the week. That leaves us with nowhere to stay once we come back from China. We have a few friends we (hopefully) will be able to bunk with but it was an unexpected and stress inducing piece of news. I'm positive that things will turn out okay.

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Evening by the River

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Closed shop

Fan handles

World's only Starbucks not written in English

Bargain hunting

Fixed Fans

Painted Fans

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green Korea

Mountain Stream, Jeju-do

Bicycle and gate, Hongdae

Party Island Peak, Deokjeokdo

Hallasan Raven, Jeju-do

Farmer in rice field, Nae-ri

Suwon Immigration - The Joy of Bureaucracy

Today I was taken, along with Lyndsey, to the Suwon Immigration office. We were picked up at 7:30am outside our apartment by Mr. Bang, second incharge over at the main branch of OES. Lyndsey needed to have her Alien Card application sorted. I had to get an extension on my VISA and a re-entry permit so I can go to China and come back into Korea. Saves me from carting all my stuff with me.
We rock up at the unassuming immigration office just as the doors open. However the doors open 15 minutes before the staff start work. I suppose it gives people a chance to start queuing but doesn't make much sense to me.
Lyndsey and I were chatting away. I commented on the many stamps present in her passport and so she recanted tales of her trip through Africa, which sounded fantastic. In my original plans to go around the world without flying I wasn't planning on visiting Africa as there is a lot of land to cover there and sticking to the north meant easier overland travel but as my visions of future travels are changing I certainly plan on doing some traveling there.
Eventually the desks at the office were manned and, being early birds we were soon seen to. I needed my passport and green card, the forms had all been filled out for me. Mr. Bang told me halfway through the preceedings that I would have to go and buy three stamps. So I went over to a little desk in the corner and bought 3 stamps for 10,000 won each (five pounds). I took them back to the desk where the action was and was duely informed that I didn't need the stamps. Fortunately they were refundable. My only guess is that I needed to prove that I could buy the stamps. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Packing for China

What would you bring on a trip to Beijing?

With just two weeks until I'm off to China m thoughts are turning to what I want to bring with me. Mainly what photographic equipment I want to take.We're planning on spending most of our time in Beijing with a trip out to see the terracotta warriors. Here's what I have:

> Canon 30D
> 430EX Speedlite (flash)
> 17-40mm f/4 lens
> 70-200mm f/4 lens
> 100mm f/2.8 macro lens
> 300mm f/2.8 lens
> 1.4x TeleConverter
> Tripod

For Jeju I took along the body, flash, 17-40, 70-200, TC and tripod. I hardly got any use out of the TC, the tripod got more use than expected and the flash only got used one evening but it helped then.
At the moment I'm thinking: 30D, 17-40 and 70-200 for sure. I'll also be bringing my laptop to download and review images.
What I'm not sure about is the flash and/or tripod. I don't know how much use the flash will get. Bringing it means bringing a bunch of AA batteries and diffuser, but that's not much of a hassle. The tripod would be handy to have, especially for landscapes and touristy self-portraits of Courtney and myself :) The downside is that its a bulky piece of kit.
This trip isn't a primarily photographic one. I'm going there to experience China and spend some quality time with Courtney. That means setting up and packing down a tripod could get in the way of enjoying the trip. I'm sure Court won't object with my photographing however, I just don't want to. However I really enjoy taking pictures (see earlier post).
After having a night to think about it and talking to Court I don't think I'll be taking the tripod as it has the possibility to limit mobility and that's important for us. I will however be packing the flash. After recently subscribing to the Strobist blog I am thinking about ways to get my flash off camera and also maybe getting a 580ex flash so I can turn my 430ex into a slave. Hmmm, more stuff :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Free Chicken Sandwich

Courtney and I have a little sandwich shop we like to go to. We go there partly because they do pretty good food at low prices and partly because its usually the only place open early in the morning. We also like going there as the man that runs it is quite fantastic. We often come in to find him asleep on one of the benches. He wakes up and looks at us as if wondering what we're doing in his bedroom,only to realise that he feel asleep at work again. He also moves at a pace usually only measured by geologists, so going there for a quick snack isn't a good idea.
We went there this morning for breakfast. He was up and about this time as there were some customers already there. Court was a little under the weather with a sore throat so was holding off on breakfast so she just got an orange juice while I got myself a coffee and a bagel (I'm turning American). As it happened the sight of food brought back Court's appetite so I went up to order another bagel.
He was busy making a sandwich so I was standing at the counter for about a minute or so before he came over. I asked, in my best Korean, for a cream cheese bagel. A puzzled look flashed across his face and he told me 'no'. He told me no because he was making us a free chicken sandwich. It was delicious. But I don't understand why. Ah Korea.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Leaving Work

I know I recently wrote about leaving things to the last minute so this may sound a little hypocritical but having other people leave things to the last minute that directly affect me is quite infuriating. Unfortunately it also seems to be the custom in Korea.

I've only just recently been told my flight time and date (back in the UK September 2nd) and now I'm trying to get the holiday time that I'm owed.

Back in February there was a misunderstanding on my behalf about how I got my holiday. In my contract I get 10 working days off. I thought I booked the time off but the bulk of the time is decided by my hagwon. As it happens I didn't get the full 5 days off for winter, nor did I get the full 5 days for summer. I was told that if I wanted the odd day here or there they might be able to do that otherwise I can take the time off at the end of my contract or work through it and get paid extra.

I'm currently trying to get the time off. I know I'm owed 2 days from summer and probably the same for winter. That would push my last day forward from the 19th, to the 13th. Now I don't think I'm going to get Friday 14th off as Claire, who has been asking for it also since February, has been given Thursday and Friday off, so I have to cover for her then. However I have no problem working this week to the end. It's next week that I'd really want off. Hmpf.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What am I doing?

Nae-ri, South Korea

I really enjoy taking photos. Most people who know me know this. I just haven't really worked out what it is that I love taking pictures of the most. I really enjoyed taking pictures of all the sporting events I could at university. I really enjoy the kind of random travel/street photography I do here and there. I've starting to really get into wildlife photography in South Korea. I've also had good experiences with music and event photography.
Unfortunately a lot of the advice that I've read about going professional suggests specializing over diversifying. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none is not seen to be a good position to be in. I just need to decide which area to specialise into. Now specialising into a position doesn't necessarily mean stopping sport photography in order to focus on in on wildlife when both go on outdoors. I just need to work out where my niche in the market is.
My photo website is divided into three sections: sport, travel and wildlife. Within those three categories I need to find a common theme. There is, as mentioned, the notion of all three going on outdoors. That doesn't fit well for me at the moment. I feel that the 'outdoors' doesn't seem to quite encapsulate what it is that I do.
It doesn't help that I'm not entirely sure about what it is that I do. At the moment it's teaching English that's paying the bills. I just don't ever see myself as identifying myself as an English teacher. Nothing wrong with being an English teacher, its a job I really enjoy and am looking to pursue for a few years yet, but its just a inn on the road I'm traveling, not the final destination. Not as I envision it at the moment anyway. The dream destination is that I'm getting paid to take pictures. My photos adorn magazine covers and are the centre of advertising campaigns. They are on the covers of books, they are dotted around the internet. People have them as their desktop backgrounds. I just don't know what they're of yet. Still, I'll keep sticking my camera in front of my face until I take them.
Courtney has always said that we are at our most useful where our skills and passions intersect. I am passionate about wildlife, sports, photography and general adventure. My talents include photography, motivating others and appearing better at sports than I really am. I know that to succeed in the photography business I'm going to have to focus as much on the business side as the photography side, if not more so. I feel as though I'm taking steps in the right direction. I've hoovering up as much of the useful online advise that I can find. Although wading through the countless get-rich-quick schemes looking for useful advise can get quite tiresome. That said there are plenty of useful sources. There are also several good old fashioned books I want to get that will hopefully point me in the right direction. It doesn't help much that I'm at a bit of a crossroads at the moment leaving Korea and I feel as though I've got about a bajillion other things I need to sort out (transferring my Korean wages home, sorting out a visa extension, planning my trip to China, planning my trip home, booking CELTA courses).
Everybody is always busy and its through being busy that we get things done. So telling myself that the reason I'm not taking steps towards my dream is because I'm busy could mean I never achieve my dream because I'm always busy with something else. Plus I'm never really that busy. I've got enough time to update this thing don't I? I suppose the really difficult thing is to create a balance between all the things I want to be doing. I often find myself thinking that I'm never taking enough pictures, I'm never exercising as much as I want to be or I'm not reading enough. All the while overlooking the fact that I'm still managing to do all those things, albeit not to the extent that I'd like to be. (My perfect day: get up before sunrise (without the whole feeling tired from lack of sleep thing) take some dawn photos, go for a jog, have breakfast, enjoy some delightful company, go for a bicycle ride, take some more pictures of the wonderful places we pass through, have a swim in the sea, read on the beach, go for a stroll though the woods, take some photos in the evening light then retire for the evening). So really there is never, or at least very rarely, the perfect time to do things. We just have to make do with what we've got. Which I need to remember for these next few months as everything is going to be a bit of a mess. I've got two weeks until I go to China, about a month before I fly home to the UK, a month there then I'm flying out to Thailand where, hopefully I'll be doing a four week CELTA course, then I'll be looking for a job in Thailand. All the while I want to be developing my skills as a photographer, an entrepreneur and English teacher. Phew. As I said its while we've busy that we get things done.

So some aims for myself:
> get back into the habit of exercising regularly, I've done it before, I can do it again.
> start a 365 project to make sure I'm taking pictures regularly.
> learn a new thing about business or photography every week, and write it down.
> start entering photo contests

Friday, August 7, 2009


You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy. ~Eric Hoffer

At the moment I'm living a fairly spartan lifestyle. Everything I own will fit into a couple of bags, it has to if I want to take it home with me. Yet the things that I do have are generally quite energy intensive: mac laptop, graphics tablet, dSLR, lenses. I tend to swing quite wildly from a fairly anti-consumerist/environmentalist outlook on life, to thinking how wonderful the new ipod touch looks.
A big part of my desire to reduce my consumption is to reduce my impact on the world. This year I've already flown a couple times and will be making at least three more international flights in the near future. Big CO2 emissions right there. That said, my day-to-day life is fairly low impact: I take to bus to and from work, I'm trying, fairly successfully to not use plastic bags and I recycle my plastics, tins and glass.

During my final year at university I took an environmental politics class so I have a fair idea of how bad the state of affairs are at the moment. I'd certainly like to do more to keep up to date with current environmental issues. I listen to a few podcasts here and there but just keeping abreast of the issues isn't enough, especially when done through electricity guzzling gadgets. This revival in trying to do my bit has been sparked by the trailer for the film No Impact Man, a film about a New Yorker who for a year tries to ensure that his family and himself have zero environmental impact. Some may think that do such a thing would require serious curtailments of their comfortable living and I for one am eager to see just how big the adjustments are that they have to make.

This led me to thinking, just how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to help reduce my impact on the planet? I suppose the wise thing to do would be to first workout what my current impact is. I'll let you know how that goes. But just doing a mental checklist of the things that I do have, I don't think I could do without many of them. I love digital photography, and hoopefully through wildlife photography I will be able to use my skills to raise awareness of environmental issues so no getting rid of my camera. Which means I need my laptop. And my external harddrives. I could probably do without the graphics tablet but I don't think that adds much to the equation. I don't have a car or a motorbike, but I do tend to sleep with the air-conditioning on. So that's something right there I could deal with.
The next major impact I have would be the traveling I do. In just over a fortnight I'm flying to China for a week, then I'm flying back home to the UK for about a month, then the plan is to take a one way flight to Thailand. I do have the option of offsetting that through a company that specializes in such things but I don't really trust many of them. Partly because I don't really understand them. How does my money offset my carbon? Another thing to look into. Before leaving university I came up with the idea of traveling the globe without flying. The idea of a world trip is beginning to lose interest for me as my time in Korea has taught me the value of staying in one place to gain a more complete experience. So perhaps I could look into more terrestrial travel for the shorter trips I hope to be making. It might mean more time and money, but it will lead to a better understanding of the distances I'm traveling and the way the landscape changes, experiences that are difficult to have from 30,000 feet.
Just some of my rambling thoughts.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Unique Position

Why are you reading this blog? It's a question I've been asking myself recently. Why would anyone want to read my blog? There are plenty of amazingly talented photographers out there, all with their own blogs. There are plenty of people out there traveling, all with eloquently written websites.
Recently I visited a few websites offering tips for writing better blogs and the general theme is to have a unique position, give the people something that they can't get elsewhere. I think I occupy a fairly unique position.
Straight out of university I started teaching English in South Korea. I've been here a year, hoping to move out to Thailand to teach there for a year and after that, who knows. Not only am I participating in a long term kind of travel that not many people do, I'm also trying to worm my way into the photography business. I hope to use this blog as a record of the things I will hopefully learn about finding jobs teaching abroad, creating a life for yourself in a foreign land, and the steps I hope to take towards becoming a professional photographer. If no one else gains anything from this it will serve as a good reminder for myself of what I've learned already.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Penultimate Minute

How do you go about making major decisions in your life? Do you have a plan, or like me, do you leave everything to pretty much the last possible moment? I seem to leave things to the last minute quite often. After graduating university my decision to go and teach English in South Korea was a little last minute. I was graduating, I wanted to travel, but didn't have any money. An add popped up on Facebook about teaching in Korea, I clicked on it and about 2 months later I landed in Incheon. Haven't looked back since. However it was a bit of a rush trying to get everything organised. I resolved to try and get my stuff together in a more timely manner. I've been planning on going to Thailand to teach for about 4 months now, with about 2 months until I want to go. But only yesterday, with a little more than 2 weeks until their deadline, I applied to ECC's CELTA course. I don't know when I'll find out whether or not they have accepted me but I don't really have much of an plan B. I need some sort of qualification for teaching in Thailand and so far I've put all my eggs into the CELTA basket.
So far everything seems to have worked out for me. Just hope it keeps going that way.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Animal Cafes

Courtney and I took Colleen to Hongdae, a very hip part of Seoul. Lots of art galleries, independent fashion outlets and plenty of little coffee shops to explore. We'd planned on taking her to a selection of slightly more unique coffee shops, ones that where based around interactions with animals. The plans was to visit, in no particular order:Dr. Fish, where fish nibble on your feet while you drink, the Bau House, a cafe with a variety of dogs running around, and GioCat, the same concept as the Bau House but with cats.

In Hongdae we found that Dr. Fish had closed down, so that was struck off the list. GioCat was also shut, its schedule showing that Monday is its regular day off. We arrived at the Bau House to find that closed. Fortunately we managed to work out that we were just early and that in 20 minutes it would be open for business. So we wandered around the backstreets of Hongdae admiring the various shops and tastful graffitti that is dotted around the area.

We returned to the Bau House and found ourselves to be the first ones there. The dogs all seemed very pleased to see us, as dogs generally do. I wasn't in there for even a minutes before I had a large patch on slobber deposited on my shorts. However I should count myself as lucky as a Korean girl got peed on. The risks of playing with nervous dogs I suppose. We stayed in there for just one drink, we played with the dogs, several came and joined us for varying amounts of time. We were even treated to a sex show on our table. Something the staff there are quick to put an end to. The Bau House is quite a unique experience. Just being in the same room as so many dogs is interesting, but trying to drink some coffee with a poddle on your table, a beagle on your lap and a lab at your feet is a whole other thing. Its a very high energy place, as the dogs are all eager to greet any and all newcomers. Definitely not a place for people who aren't comfortable with animals.

Jeju Day 2

Despite Thursday's early morning and late night I was up early, partly to do with sleeping on the floor in an overly warm room, partly because my body hates me. More evidence to support my body hating me is that generally, once I'm awake, there's no going back to sleep. So rather than just lie there and stare at the ever so interesting white ceiling I decided to take a pleasant stroll. It did me well last went when I went to watch the surf at midnight. So tip-toeing over sleeping carcasses I collected my camera stuff and headed out.
I tried some long exposures of waves breaking over the volcanic rocks that makes up Jeju island before exploring the small collection of houses near our holiday home. Just as I was entering the village I passed a Korean guy standing in a lot with some industrial looking buildings behind him. I anyeonghaseoh-ed him and he smiled and nodded a hello back to me. Just before I passed him he asked me if I like to see his farm. With nothing else to do I said that would be nice. So he led me into a huge low, dark building that was a fish farm. It had maybe 20 or so massive shallow tanks sunk into the ground. Only maybe 7 or 8 had water in them, but those tanks contained over 40,000 baby flounders. Granted it wasn't the best tour that I've been on but it was a completely unexpected and very welcome act of generosity on Mr. Jay's part.
Back on the official holiday, our first stop was to the Teddy Bear museum. The epitome of kitsch there are bear dioramas of the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Normandy, the Titanic, there is a Mona Lisa bear, a Van Gough bear, all sorts. Not exactly my cup of tea but it certainly seemed like a popular place to go.
Our second stop was to the beach. While I'm on holiday I'm not too much of a beach person. I get bored quite easily, so once I'm tired of swimming, an activity I actually quite miss, sitting on the beach tanning holds little appeal for me. Still I was in good company so it was hardly and ordeal. For lunch we played rock paper scissor to decide which people should pay. Now I have always seen it as a game only two people can play, yet Koreans young and old can play it in groups seemingly as big as you like and know who wins and loses. It was, and still is, a mystery to me how it works, but I was one of the losers, still it only cost me 15,000 won, about £7.50.
After the beach we had a sushi dinner before heading to a nearby waterfall. By this time it was about 10pm. Fortunately I had my tripod with me, a must have for any waterfall shot, as a long exposure blurs the water into the misty white one often sees in waterfall photos. It was all the more important of me as it was dark. Still, managed to get some okay shots of the falls. Got quite a nice group shot of the OES crowd too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 1 on Jeju

Woke up pretty early to get to the main branch of OES for 6am. We all tumbled into an assortment of cars and minibuses and headed off to the airport. We didn't depart from Inchon as I was expecting, instead we fly out of the much smaller Cheongju International Airport. Despite claiming to be international all the flights seemed to be heading to Jeju.
The flight itself was a sort one, less than an hour in the air. My first impression of Jeju was that, from the air, it seemed to be much flatter than mainland Korea, despite having the tallest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan.
We went from Jeju airport to a breakfast place by a bus Mr. Oh was renting for our time on the island. Breakfast was good, not entirely sure what the dish was but I've had similar dishes before. From breakfast we went to Hallasan Park where Joanna, Peter, Dora, Jay-Hun and I got off. Us four were the only ones willing to climb a mountain that day.
It was a very nice climb. Quiet and shaded for most of the ascent before opening up to pre-Alpine grassland for the rest of the way. We lunched on rameon at the summit which wasn't really the summit, but was as high as we could climb as the rest of the way to the top was shut for conservation purposes.
We descended via another route. The weather closed in a little by now and at times we were walking through mist, which added a great deal of depth to the drop on the left side of the trail. Towards the bottom the mist lifted enough to let us see how deep the drop-off really was.
We soon re-entered the tree line and the trail became a fair bit steeper. I was stopping to take pictures so Joanna and Jay-Hun pulled ahead while Peter and Dora dropped behind. This meant that pretty soon I found myself alone on the trail. It was a very pleasant experience. Soon I reached the bottom and had icecream to distract me from my thoughts.
We had to grab a taxi from Hallasan Park to our hotel. We knew that it was going to be quite a long taxi ride, and with four of us stuffed into the back it wasn't going to be a particularly comfortable one. In the end it wasn't too bad. Our taxi driver took us to 'Ghost Road' where things appear to roll uphill. He obligingly turned off the engine and sure enough up we went.
Our place of residence is one of two villas on the northeast corner of the island. Its a very spacious affair, but very few beds.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Raptor Pee

After dinner we were walking back towards my apartment building when, circling overhead we saw a small bird of prey. I really need to start learning whats what so I can identify these critters but from here on in it shall be referred to as 'the raptor'.
The raptor settled on a building adjacent to mine, which my building overlooked. As I live on the top floor of the 12 floor building I decided to stick my head out the window and see if I could catch another glimpse of it. Well I was scanning the neighbouring building for any bird forms. Some way off there was a magpie on a rooftop, but my raptor, it appeared, was gone. Dejected, I hung my head and there, perched on the open window 4 floors below was the raptor. Excited about being so close and the unique perspective I rushed to my apartment, hastily attached lens to body and rushed back to the window.
Alas the perch was bare. I gave the surrounding windows another looking at before once again hanging my head. On the roof of the building next to mine, quite far down, there was a woman with two dogs, so I watched them for a little while. Then something moved from within the eighth floor. It was wing. The raptor was in the building.
Figuring that waiting for the elevator would take too long, barefooted I dashed down the stairs. I reached the eighth floor and tentatively poked my head around the corner. Sure enough, inside my apartment was this gorgeous bird of prey. I gingerly eased my camera to eye level and managed to just snap off one frame before the decided that it no longer wanted to be there and slipped out the window.
Hoping to get some shots of it gliding through the evening sky I dashed to the window, It was when I reached the window that I stepped in a puddle. A puddle that was directly under where the raptor had just been perched. I didn't managed to get anymore shots of it, but such a close encounter with an animal such as that was a great experience for me.