Hi everyone, I am very happy to say tha I am posting my first guest post, from a fantastic photographer I found on Etsy! Please check out his links and enjoy the post!
my name is Darren Weeks, a 44 year old British born guy now living in Bulgaria with my wife and 2 Bulgarian stray dogs.
In 2005 we bought property in Southern Bulgaria for holidays and in 2006 decided to sell our lovely home in Devon, Southern England to make the move to Bulgaria a permanent one.
I went from being a carpet salesman to retired at the age of 40.
As in the UK I continued to enjoy playing football, and soon joined my local village team, but not long after this I started to coach a group of local Roma children a couple of times a week.
With the help of family and friends I managed to get football kit donated to these poor children whose parents couldn't even afford a ball, so they didn't have the luxury of the most basic play western children have access to everyday of their lives.
And within a year, I was asked to form and manage a men’s football team for the village, this was no mean feat, as it was the first team the village had in over 35 years, and consisted unusually mostly of Roma.
Before Bulgaria I had no interest in photography, I didn't even own a camera, but the first few months of living in this amazing country I developed an interest in the nature and landscape, and the ruralness of the village and surrounding areas intrigued me.
I bought myself a basic camera and started taking shots of the wild birds first of all, the storks and birds of prey in particular, I soon discovered the beautiful European Rollers and Bee Eaters nested nearby my home, and before I knew it I had an impressive collection of birds and landscapes.
I upgraded my Sony Cybershot to a Sony dsc-H7 and found this a great peice of equipment for getting close up shots, but I soon discovered that the transition to Bulgaria gave me time and later I learnt to be very patient to get the pictures I wanted.
I decided I wanted to show my friends and family what I have living on my doorstep, so I started up a nature website http://www.bulgariannature.com and it kept growing and growing with images as I found more and more that interested me.
The village I live in is very rural and I was constantly amazed by the scenes I could take of villagers on the top of hay stacks on top of carts pulled by donkeys or horses or herding their sheep, goats, geese and chickens which would not look out of place in someone's photo album 100 years ago.
In 2008 there was a flower festival in the village, I spent the whole day taking photographs of the people dressed in their beautiful and colourful traditional costumes, and in 2009 I was invited to a grand art gallery opening in our local little Thracian museum, where I was honoured to receive a certificate for my photography and a plaque giving thanks for the pictures I had taken in 2008, and asked if I would photograph the 2009 festival.
The art gallery turned out to be a display of all the pictures I had taken in 2008 and given to the mayor, she had a selection printed and hung on the museum walls where they still hang today.
Many people have commented on my nature website and my pictures and kept saying I should sell them, so when my wife discovered Etsy, she decided to give it a go.
So far it has been very positive, and I hope to have further interest as I add more pictures to the collection.
Thank you for inviting me along as your guest,