The Art and Craft of
Of all the subjects I photograph as a professional wildlife photographer I have no hesitation in saying that birds present probably the greatest challenge. Capturing the sheer beauty of wild birds and aspects of their behaviour in perfect lighting conditions demands the blending of many skills. Not the least of which is simply being able to get into a position close enough to photograph them without disturbing them.
A Bittern Poses for the Camera
The Bittern was actually taken from my car whilst driving on the Greek island of Lesvos. I was specifically looking for birds in some of the remoter rural areas and spotted this adult bittern that ended up as a front cover on the RSPB magazine “Birds”. In this lecture you will find out why I drove past this stunning bird three times before taking my first picture and why the first picture wasn’t the shot you see here?
Grey Herons - Adult & 2 Hungry Juveniles
Action pictures are in demand by the picture libraries so you have to be fully prepared for when it happens. This image was taken recently on a deer workshop and several of my workshop clients got similar images, what a bonus! However what was lucky was that it was a deer workshop and consequently we were using long lenses. I was using a 300mm F2.8 but if it had been a fungi workshop it would quite likely to have a 100mm macro!
Golden Eagle on Roe Deer
This stunning Golden Eagle was the result of some hard work in freezing conditions and with deep snow on the ground in Finland. Getting to the hide was a long, arduous walk wearing snowshoes, mainly through woodland, and pulling a sledge with my gear in it behind me. My guide was also pulling a sledge in which lay the Roe Deer, an unfortunate road casualty. After setting everything up my guide left me and a long silent wait ensued. Eventually an eagle appeared in the sky, circled round and landed in a tree where it sat for almost 40 minutes before descending down onto the bait. It was probably another 40 minutes before I felt the bird was totally relaxed and I took my first images. This is one of them.
Perigrine Falcon plucking a Stock Dove
This picture was taken on one of my raptor workshops and conveys the sheer power and ferocity that the peregrine imparts to getting rid of the stock doves plumage, clearly a hungry bird. This is a captive bird that has been taken into the countryside to get a natural realistic image rather than the conventional “Bird on a Stick”. The mantled position of the bird surrounded by all the flying feathers adds that extra dimension to the shot.
Tawny Owl & Moon
This picture was commissioned by Bronica Cameras for a series of full page adverts they were running at the time. For all you sceptics out there the answer is no it was not, the moon was not added digitally because the image was taken on slide film!
Find out what the people at Bronica in Japan said about it. Find out why the picture was never used as an advert and yet I still got paid in full. It subsequently went on to become one of my best selling images ever! Occasionally, especially when exhibiting my prints at a show, like these for example, I will get the classic question “How long did it take you to get that?” and often I flippantly reply “About 1/500th of a second!” Clearly not the reply they were looking for.
However if I answered truthfully and said “Most of my life” they probably wouldn’t like that either.