URBAN NATURE

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMMISSION - BIG CAT WEEK

I was recently commissioned by National Geographic to shoot a rather unusual model after dark on the streets of London...

To launch BIG CAT WEEK in the UK, Nat Geo WILD had a fully animatronic leopard built by John Nolan Studio and I had one night to photograph it in iconic London locations. The idea was inspired by Nat Geo Wild TV episode Mission Critical: Leopards at the Door. Wild leopards roam the streets of Mumbai but the people who live in the city and the leopards have found a way to coexist. There are of course occasional conflicts, but Mumbai is a great example of how people and wildlife can share urban areas - even if that wildlife is a big cat or other top predator. Read the full story here: Learning to Live with Leopards.

As it was such a complicated build, the leopard wasn't fully finished and operational until the night before the press release, so we had to work through the night to create a set of publicity images ready to go to press in the morning. Assisted by the talented Josh Perrett, we spent the night driving "Lily" all over the city, from Brick Lane, to the Gherkin and Tower Bridge. We got some pretty funny looks and had a great time watching people's reactions to seeing a life-size and incredibly realistic leopard on the streets of London. The story was picked up by a few major news outlets and with the accompanying tv programmes will hopefully help to raise awareness of the threats facing leopards and other big cats in the wild.

INTERVIEW: BBC Radio 2 - The Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross

As mentioned in my previous post, I was recently interviewed by Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2 - the most popular national radio station in the UK. I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to spread the word about my wildlife photography and promote the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition to such a wide audience. You can listen to the full interview below...

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR BOOK FRONT COVER AND LEAD PUBLICITY IMAGE WORLDWIDE!

THE MOST FAMOUS FOX IN THE WORLD?

The 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards results have recently been announced so I'm really happy to share that my image "Nosy Neighbour" has been chosen as not only the front cover of this year's winners portfolio book, but it's also going to be used as the lead publicity image to promote the WPY 52 exhibition as it tours the globe. I'm super stoked as apparently it's the first time in the competition's history that the same image has been used for both.

I've already seen it on on billboards across the UK, but I've also been sent pictures of Nosy Neighbour posters by friends on all sides of the globe, including the USA, Canada and Australia, so he's possibly the most famous fox in the world right now! Having my picture on the front cover of the Portfolio 26 book is a great accolade and dream come true for me as the WPY portfolio books are real collectors items for all wildlife photographers - they showcase the world's best and most innovative wildlife photography, so I'm humbled to be featured so prominently in this year's competition.

WITNESS THE WILD EXHIBITION / WILDSCREEN FESTIVAL SPEAKER

My image of a red fox in front of Clifton Suspension Bridge will be displayed this month on Bristol's College Green from 7-28th October. The open-air "Witness the Wild" exhibition is part of the Wildscreen Festival - the world’s biggest celebration of screen-based natural history storytelling. The festival takes place every two years, and this year they have a dedicated photography day, where the world's top wildlife and conservation photographers will be speaking and sharing their pictures and stories. I'm doing a talk at 1pm entitled "Making That Human Connection" about how I use the human environment to give wildlife a context that people can easily relate to and connect with, and I'm also sharing my conservation story about gannets and marine litter - a devastating problem that's happening close to home on our UK shores. Speakers include Tim Laman and other National Geographic photographers, magazine editors from National Geographic and BBC Wildlife, and I'm looking forward to UK based conservation photographer Britta Jaschinski speaking about her latest project. A selection of images by the speakers can be seen on the Guardian website today, with my fox image being used as the lead: Wildscreen's Witness the Wild

DOUBLE PAGE OPENER IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE

Incredibly awesome to see my parakeet picture published in the latest National Geographic Magazine (October 2016). It's one of 3 double page spreads in the opening "Visions" section - The Most Stunning Visions of Earth: phenomenal photos of the world's wonders. WOOP-WOOP!!

BRITISH WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS - 9 IMAGES AWARDED

The British Wildlife Photography Awards recently announced the 2016 winners, including nine of my pictures, which were highly commended. A set of six from my Northern Gannet series, featuring the desperate situation on Grassholm Island, where birds become entangled in marine litter was the runner up in the Documentary Series category.

I also received two highly commended in the Urban Wildlife category - a spotted flycatcher nest in an old brick wall and an unusual mistle thrush nest in a traffic light. Lastly, my image of a red fox vixen suckling young cubs in a suburban garden was awarded highly commended in the Behaviour category. A pretty good haul in total!

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR FINALIST

My fox image "Nosy Neighbour" has just been released as one of the handful of preview images from this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. It's all over the papers and online today, being shared widely and is being used as the lead image in most of the features. The best headline I think I've read so far is "This stunning picture of a fox on a Bristol street could be the best wildlife picture in the world"!! This image has already had some decent exposure, so I'm pretty surprised it made it into this year's WPY52 collection, but I'm really happy the judges thought it was strong enough despite that. It may have been seen by a lot of the wildlife photography community, but WPY will bring it to a whole new audience when the exhibition tours the globe and the book goes on sale internationally. Excited and looking forward to awards night and seeing the rest of the winners. Awesome to be a part of this competition for the second time!!

BRITISH WILDLIFE MAGAZINE FRONT COVER

British Wildlife magazine is a bit of a national institution. It was first published in 1989 and has always been respected amongst naturalists for being an unassuming, informative and accessible publication that treads the line between academic journal and newsstand title. I've long been a subscriber, so it's great to see my fox image on the February cover. British Wildlife is bimonthly and the latest issue can be purchased here.

NOVEMBER FRONT COVERS

I'm really pleased to see one of my fox images on a National Geographic front cover this month. It might only be the Dutch kids' Nat Geo, but it's great to see him with that famous yellow border. The other mag that got a cover this month is an educational science magazine for kids in the USA. Really pleased that the foxes are still being received so well and seem to be popular with kids. I'm thinking of producing a range of kids' posters with some of the fox pics, so let me know if you're interested in one for your kids' bedroom wall :)

BRITISH WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS - HIGHLY COMMENDED

The winners of the British Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced this week and one of my toad images from this series received a highly commended in the urban nature category. I think it's a great time for UK wildlife photography at the moment - there are so many talented photographers (particularly the young guys) producing new and exciting work, so I was pleased to have a fun evening at the awards ceremony catching up with some of them :)

British Wildlife Photography Awards - Collection 6 with all of the winning images from 2015 is available here.

BBC WILDLIFE MAGAZINE OPENERS WITH CHRIS PACKHAM

For the previous two months, my pictures have been used for the opening double page spread in BBC Wildlife Magazine, which is apparently unprecedented! It's a great slot, where Chris Packham discusses a UK wildlife conservation issue.

Last month it was a lesser spotted woodpecker, which I photographed in the Malvern hills in Herefordshire. Lesser spots are the UK's smallest and rarest woodpecker - now considered too rare to be monitored by national surveys. It took a colleague of mine 4 years to locate a lesser spot nest, so I was extremely privileged to be invited to photograph it. I wanted to include the context of the scruffy orchard, as without this unique habitat, these birds wouldn't survive at all in this country. Setting up a shot like this requires a lot of patience and I wouldn't recommend this type of photography without a lot of planning and research and a good awareness of animal behaviour and the laws regarding photographing birds at the nest. it's not worth potentially disturbing a rare species at a sensitive time of year for a picture and I wouldn't have attempted a shot like this without advice from experts and plenty of experience shooting more common birds in the same way.

This month, they used a hedgehog I recently shot for the Avon Wildlife Trust's My Wild City project. My Wild City is a great initiative I am strongly behind, as it's all about "creating a nature-rich city that puts wildlife right on our doorsteps, giving everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife every day".. What could be better than that?! You can find out more about the project here and if you're interested in AWT's AGM where there'll be a My Wild City showcase where I'll be talking and showing some pictures, you can find out more and book tickets here.

OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE - HERON SHOWCASE

Check out the most recent Outdoor Photography Magazine ( Issue 194 / July 2015) to see my Amsterdam Herons featured as a photo-showcase..

"Market day in Amsterdam is no ordinary affair. Mobs of grey invaders descend from the skies to congregate around the seafood stalls. The collective noun for a group of herons is a ‘siege’, and with 15 of them perched on the stands and surrounding buildings, this is what it feels like.
Amsterdam has a large population of grey herons, thanks to its network of canals and waterways, and the sight of a cunning heron sneaking up behind a fisherman to steal a prize fish from his bucket isn’t unusual. But the most adventurous birds have learnt that if they make the commute there are more lucrative ways to make a living at the fish markets in the city centre."

OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY - OPENING SHOT

Outdoor Photography Magazine has just published one of my recent Toad Migration images as their Opening Shot - an opening DPS in June issue 192, which went on sale this week. I have been watching these toads climb the same hill in Bristol for a few years, but decided that in 2015, I'd have a go at lighting them with a GL-1 tungsten hotlight to match the city lights in the background. I always enjoy trying to do something different with common subjects and had loads of fun capturing the character of this often overlooked species.

GUARDIAN INTERVIEW - WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

I was recently interviewed by the Guardian Newspaper about my photography and particularly why I choose to focus on urban wildlife. You can read the full story on the Guardian Wildlife Photographer of the Year Microsite here:

Where The Wild Things Are: Discovering Urban Wildlife With Photographer Sam Hobson

ADORAMA TV INTERVIEW

I'm a bit behind with my latest posts as I've been taking some time for paternity leave. It's been a roller coaster but tons of fun and I'm really enjoying being a dad for the first time. I've been working on some local projects in the background, so will catch up with things on here when they are published in the coming weeks. For now, here's an interview about my work that I did for Adorama TV at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

nb. The black-headed gull image at 1:34 is not mine - I was showing the interviewer some techniques after the interview and I set up the camera, but she took the picture!

OBSERVER FEATURE - WHEN ANIMALS GO WILD IN THE CITY

My urban wildlife pictures have just been used to illustrate a feature in the Observer's monthly technology, science and ideas supplement. It's great to see urban wildlife getting some decent coverage in a national newspaper with such a varied readership and it always feels good to reach new people with my work when it has the potential to spark an interest in wildlife in the city.

The feature by Adam Vaughn can be read on the Guardian / Observer site here: "When Animals Go Wild in The City"

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR BLOG CONTRIBUTION

The "Urban" category is making a comeback in the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. To celebrate this, the organisers asked myself and two awesome wildlife photographers - Alex Badyaev and Pål Hermansen, to share our thoughts about urban wildlife. I am a big believer that wildlife should not be seen as something that exists outside of the city and that urban wildlife photography plays a big part in helping people realise that humans and wildlife must coexist. The piece can be found on the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year site here..

 

URBAN WILDLIFE - THE QUIET SPECTACLE OF THE COMMONPLACE

ROOTS MAGAZINE FRONT COVER

Dutch nature magazine Roots has used one of my urban fox images for their February cover. Inside there is a cool feature on urban wildlife with some more of my pictures, including 2 double page spreads of the same fox and an urban peregrine falcon. I've long been a fan of Roots - it's the biggest independent wildlife and nature mag in the Netherlands and always contains great photography, so it's great to make the cover and exciting to see my local wildlife getting international attention!

BBC WILDLIFE FEB 2015 - HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH URBAN WILDLIFE

If you want to know how to photograph urban wildlife, check out the new Feb 2015 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine. My best tips and advice about photographing UK wildlife in the city are condensed into a double page "how to" tutorial - Available today http://www.discoverwildlife.com/magazine/current-issue