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24th August 2010

Here’s a refreshing Sunday activity: relaxing in beautiful surroundings and brushing up your photographic skills with a real expert. On 5th September renowned wildlife photographer Richard Austin will be leading the Photography Day at Totnes Rare Breeds Farm. Between 12pm and 5pm he will be offering tips and advice on how to capture that special image.

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Richard Austin is wildlife photographer for the Western Morning News, and author of two best-selling books, Animal Magic and More Animal Magic. He has acted as official photographer for numerous premier league football clubs, and has snapped portraits of Princess Diana.

But on the 5th he will definitely have his wildlife cap on, and will award a £50 first prize to whoever takes the best photo of the day. At no extra charge for entry, it’s well worth a go.

The day is aimed at photographers of all abilities and ages. All the animals are guaranteed to be looking extra-photogenic.

Usual farm entrance charges will apply (£4.75 adults, £3.50 children, £4.25 senior citizens, £15 family).

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10th August 2010

What better way to spend time off than to watch hundreds of others working? After several months of faffing, our Glass Bee Hive is officially up and running, and stuffed with busy honey bees.

The colony wasn't happy with our first attempt, which was in the shape of a conventional hive, and never settled. Undeterred, Barrie (joint owner of Rare Breeds and head hive architect) redesigned the whole thing. It is now shaped to imitate a natural bees' nest in a hollow tree, or wall cavity. The workers are gradually figuring it out, and are starting to bring pollen back.

The big question at the moment is whether we have a queen. The colony arrived with several unhatched queen cells, but all that has been seen of an actual queen was a dead one, being carried by workers a few days ago. This (hopefully) means we have a live queen somewhere that killed her rival. If that is the case, she should soon leave the hive to mate, and will then begin to reproduce. The colony will then be established.

They really are a fascinating lot, and are on full display to anyone who wants to come and see them hard at work.

DSCF3287_resizedAll the animals are practising their best poses in preparation for the Totnes Rare Breeds Art Day later this month. Local illustrator Paula Cloonan will guide visitors through a day of looking, learning and creating.

- Join the farm trail and fill your sketch book with all the picturesque animals.

- Receive a free art bag, with basic art materials including your very own sketch book.

- Become a member of the Totnes Rare Breeds Art Club.

Normal farm entrance prices apply, +£2.50 each for each person joining in the Art Day.

To book, ring 07989 169181, and get creative on the 25th.

15th June 2010

Our professional judge, Sarah Anne Harvey, has been deliberating over all the fantastic pictures taken during our first photography day. Her final decisions are:

FIRST PLACE (winning £50): Tracey Gilpin with her 'ahhh' factor snap of these cheeky chicks and ducklings

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RUNNERS UP (winning a family ticket to Totnes Rare Breeds): Bari Farrington, who caught new mum Jess snuggling up to her baby, and Laura Green, with her knot of ducklings

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WINNER in the volunteers category (who gets the admiration of his colleagues) is Mark Ellison, with his stunning photo of Benjie in flight

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RUNNER UP among the volunteers was Sue Duncan, who caught the beady eye of this splendid golden pheasant

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Many thanks to everyone who took part and contributed such beautiful images. We're sorry if you didn't win this time, and hope to see you at our next Photography Day on 5th September.

28th May 2010

On Thursday 3rd June Totnes Rare Breeds is hosting its first photography day.

Photographers of all ages and abilities are invited to bush up their skills with a professional photographer, who will award prizes for the best photos taken. FIRST PRIZE £50!

No need to book: just turn up on the day. All the animals will be looking extra photogenic.

You will need to bring:

- A digital camera

- Means of transferring your favourite pictures (max. 5) from the camera to our PC (which can read memory cards directly), so that we can judge the competition. Photos submitted may be used by Totnes Rare Breeds in future publicity material.

NB If you would prefer to use a conventional film camera you can still join in: please make yourself known to us on the day.

Normal farm entry charges apply, with no extra costs for the event.