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
I'm just back from speaking at the Scottish Nature Photography Festival about telling stories with wildlife photography. I shared some new work, including some images from my upcoming gull feature in BBC Wildlife Magazine, a few images from a gannet story I am currently working on and a few one-off images, like this red fox vixen suckling cubs that are just a week out of the den I photographed earlier in the summer. I've never seen an up close wide shot of this behaviour before and I was pretty privileged to witness such a tender and vulnerable moment. I shot this using a Pocket Wizard remote and hid my Nikon D750 inside a Peli Case to muffle the sound. I filled in the shadows with two low-powered speedlites, but the main key light is from the sun and I only shot 1 frame to minimise disturbance.
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.
For the whole of June, my work will be exhibited in Bristol at the Folk House Gallery on Park Street. It's a solo exhibition themed around local Bristol wildlife and I'm donating 10% of any print sales to the Avon Wildlife Trust. There will also be a talk by myself and photographer Nick Upton on Friday 12th June, sponsored by Nature Picture Library, with all proceeds also being donated to the Avon Wildlife Trust. For more info. and tickets, please check out bit.ly/wildbristol
I just got back home to Bristol after a full on week in London at Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Wildscreen Photography Festival (formerly Wildphotos). Wildphotos is held at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society and I always have a great time at the event, so I was honoured to be asked to be a speaker this year - it's not often you get asked to share a stage with some of the top wildlife photographers in the world! My talk on the art of urban wildlife photography went down really well and afterwards I got to meet and catch up with loads of inspiring people and chat about ideas and new projects and I came home feeling pretty inspired. I also did a masterclass at the Natural History Museum. Now time to take it all in and focus on what's next!
Thanks to Lara Nouri for the picture
The Wildscreen Photography Festival (fka Wildphotos) speakers have been announced and I'm pretty excited to share that I'll be joining them this year to talk about urban wildlife photography. It's the biggest Wildlife Photography event of the year, which I've been going to regularly for the past 4 or 5 years, so I feel pretty honoured to be amongst the speakers this time. This year, it will be held over 3 days and there'll be loads of cool wildlife photography related workshops and talks. It's a great opportunity for chatting to others already working in the industry too so hope to see you there in October!