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I’ve always been interested in the natural world and as a youngster admired the photographs in Animals Magazine (the forerunner of BBC Wildlife), which I read avidly. It seemed miraculous that people could take pictures that were so intimate in capturing the lives of animals and birds in the wild. The one photo that really inspired me, and set me on my present path, showed an osprey emerging from a lake with a salmon in its talons, enveloped in a cloud of spray. It seemed an impossible image to capture!
One of the points I push in my book (Getting Closer: Rediscovering Nature through Bird Photography, Exisle Publishing, 2021) is that, if you want to take effective animal photos, you need a “local patch” – a place that you return to again and again, in all weathers and seasons and at different times of day. For me this place is my local nature reserve, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, about 20 minutes’ drive away from my home in Dunedin.
I’ve been taking photos of local wildlife, mainly birds, since around 2005. By reframing nature through the lens, and spending time in wild habitats (or just in our back gardens), we gain an intimate knowledge of the animals and birds around us and how they conduct their lives. It is only when we value and even love something that we will be motivated to protect it.