A very Happy New year to you all! I hope you all had an enjoyable and restful festive period.
I personally am never prepared for how quickly the christmas period comes and goes. It’s always such a rush to get everything ready then it’s over in a flash and you're faced with the beginning of a new year again which can be daunting.
Once all the madness is over it is a good time to think back over the year and reflect. I certainly have had some incredible moments in 2018 and some challenging times too but the challenges always make me appreciate why I do this. You can never stop learning in photography, when you fail at one thing it makes you work harder to get it right and improve. So I never look at failures as something negative or at least I’ve taught myself not to. It’s all part of the journey and I believe this applies to many things in life not just work.
Great Tit, Kent, Uk
2018 was full of variety, something that I relish. I walked up a snow covered mountain in search of Hare, spent time in a forest in Scotland with Red Squirrel, photographed the weddings of many lovely couples, families and pets, had an exhibition, travelled to Finland to photograph bears and saw my first wolf!
Beautiful Isolation, Monadhliath Mountains, Scotland
Red Squirrel, Inverness, Scotland
Perhaps the most exciting thing last year was the vision of my African exhibition coming to fruition and the overwhelming response from it. This exhibition had been in my head even before I had travelled to Africa in 2017. I knew I wanted to create more of an immersive experience for visitors rather than just exhibiting my images on the wall. So I chose a space at the farm, thought carefully where I placed each framed image, kept it dark with a spotlight on each picture which illuminated them individually and gave them there own sense of presence. The sounds of the African bush could be heard in the background along with african inspired music to transport the viewer to the Kafue National Park in Zambia. I gave a short talk on my experiences in Zambia and the stories behind the images as well as talking about some of the threats that wildlife is facing across Africa.
Least to say I was so humbled by the reaction of visitors, it’s always daunting when exhibiting your own work, it’s so personal to you and you cant help but have feelings attached to certain images. When people respond well to your work it’s the most amazing feeling, it inspires you to carry on and reinforces your commitment to your craft. I am so very grateful for everyone that came along, bought pieces, left comments, had a chat with me and shared their own wildlife encounters. It was also great to raise some money through sales for Musekese Conservation, a field based conservation charity working hard in the Kafue National Park to protect wildlife and their surrounding habitat (find out more about them at www.musekeseconservation.com).
If you visited last June, thank you so much for your support, if you were unable to make it I have some very exciting news coming up about where you will be able to see my work again. Keep an eye on my website and social media pages for more information. I will of course send out a newsletter with details too.
Everything the light touches, Zambia.
Another highlight for me last year was travelling to Finland to photograph bears. I spent 6 days in the boreal forest on the Russian border, sitting in a hide for a total of 75 hours! It was a real challenge sitting in one place for so long and keeping alert long into the evening. There were no guarantees that the bears would even make an appearance so it was so special when I saw my first bear, I literally held my breath! The difficulty in photographing in low light was also a big learning curve, the camera can only do so much so it was knowing when to take and when to put it down and just enjoy the encounter.
Oranges & Blues
European Brown Bear, Finland
I could not believe it when I saw one of the rarest predators in the world, a wolf. They had been heard around the area the previous week but not seen and I was told that they were very rare to see so almost didn’t hold out much hope that I would see one. She appeared quite late in the evening so the light was already going. Her arrival was silent but the feeling she created was eerie and magical like a ghost of the forest. I was ecstatic, the image I captured won’t win any awards as the light was so challenging but the encounter completely out ways the ‘perfect picture’ and it’s something I will never forget.
Eurasian Wolf, Finland
As many other wildlife and nature photographers will tell you, the connection with nature is so special, when you are unlucky with an image you haven’t really failed as you have had the experience. I always feel enriched when I have been out in nature, if I come back with good images or not. I think we could all use a bit more nature in our lives, it’s so easy to stay inside and watch something on the box, especially in the winter, but simply going for a walk outside, visiting a park or woodland and breathing in the fresh air can work wonders for us both physically and mentally.
The magic of the woods, Kent, UK.
I have also really enjoyed my other commissions during 2018. I have had the pleasure of photographing some really special families and pets as well as beautiful brides and grooms.
If you would like to have a family photo shoot, photographs taken of your pets or to book me for your wedding then do get in touch. You can view some of my work in my commissions area of my website.
If you use social media you can like my Facebook and instagram pages for more regular posts and updates.
Feel free to message and connect with me on these platforms too.
I would like to thank you all for your support throughout 2018, it really means a lot to me.
Here’s to 2019!
Wild Sky, Finland