Since I was a youngster (and yes, that was a while ago!), I have had a strong affinity with nature and particularly animals in their natural environment.
My father who for a short while after the 2nd World War, ran a photographic developing and printing business with his brother in Rhyl, North Wales ‘acquired’ his Zeiss Icon camera in Germany during the 2nd World War and allowed me to use it occasionally to photograph school geography projects all in glorious black & white of course and more importantly my sporting heroes of the day all under pain of death if I didn’t return the camera intact. Both his camera and the Balda belonging to my Uncle [see panel] had leather bellows, which despite their somewhat primitive technology worked remarkably well.
My parents fuelled my interest by giving me a Yashica Minster III camera http://bit.ly/2gGrICe for my 21st birthday (good in its day) with its fixed standard lens which enabled me to capture limited images of wildlife, for at that time all photographs were taken on film and pressing the shutter was an expensive business, taking into account the cost of film and processing. Writing this seems strange now when many children are walking around with mobile phones all capable of producing far better images with their built in cameras than I could ever have hoped for.
With the advent of digital SLR cameras and the huge improvement in technology, I have now been able to further indulge my passion and also to travel to exotic places for wildife like Tanzania, Norway, Finland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Iceland. It costs almost nothing after the initial investment in equipment to fire off shots to your heart’s content, but travelling to far flung corners of the world to access these opportunities has replaced the cost of developing and printing by a scale of magnitude.
I have also had the benefit of guidance and tuition from some of the finest wildlife photographers which has included not only the technical aspects of photography but also the fieldcraft to locate and get close to the subjects without disturbing them. [Some are included on my “links” page]
I am indebted to them for their patience, friendship and support which has enabled me to progress in terms of my capability and the quality of pictures I have been able to capture.
Key attributes for wildlife photo success are being up early or late, patience and silence, none of which come naturally to me. Much like fishing I imagine, several ventures prove fruitless but it is the successful outings and capturing an unexpected key shot that makes it all worthwhile and compels me return time and again.
One of the most useful pieces of advice I have received remains “enjoy yourself” irrespective of your photo gear, technique and level of knowledge. For me, the pleasure comes from seeing and capturing a sometimes fleeting moment of animal behaviour, a rare species or situation and being able to preserve that and re-
Sometimes it’s just the sheer exuberance of being in the presence of these wonderful animals or sharing a special moment with them.