Having six weeks off each summer for pretty much my entire life has done something to my brain. It seems that 6 weeks is just enough time to get really into something and even, consider doing it instead of your actual job. Then term starts and you realise you have a job and your new found favourite thing in the whole world tends to get put on the back burner. NOT THIS TIME! I think I’ve found a hobby that I can do justice to, even when working full time!
I’ve always had cameras and been interested in photography, and I’ve always loved nature and been obsessed by animals. It took me 27 years to work out that you can combine those two things in a truly rewarding way. I know that I can’t really call myself a wildlife photographer just yet, having only been doing it for a few weeks, but I have learnt some really useful things from my own experience that I feel might benefit someone else who is thinking about picking up a camera and hiding in the long grass.
1. Go Everywhere!
In the last three weeks I have explored almost every park, woodland and green area that South East London has to offer. Even if nobody looks at my pictures, I’ve had fun and expanded my knowledge of local geography and even history in the process.
2. Do Some Research!
Everytime I set off to a new area, I make sure to read online about what I might find there and the best times to see the wildlife that lives there. Once you’ve researched a place you can have a plan of what you want to take pictures of. Of course, you don’t need to stick to the plan, but it’s good to have one.
3. Don’t Look Down!
I have read about this in birdwatching books referring to binoculars, but it is the same with a camera. Have your camera on and round your neck at all times. When you see something, don’t look down at your camera! The moment you do, you will lose the bird or insect or whatever it is you had your eye on and by the time you’ve found it again it will probably have found you and scarpered!
4. Be Interested in Everything!
I have never really been that interested in insects… until now! Insects make some of the most eye catching photos. You might have to get really close to something you’re not particularly fond of, but it will pay off in the end.
5. Speak to People!
Some of the best things I’ve seen, even if I didn’t catch them with my camera have been through a tip off from a dog walker or an old lady feeding the ducks! Generally, I’m the outsider when I visit a place. I don’t know where nests are or where there is a particularly large swarm of bees etc. People wandering around parks and woodland areas seem to want to talk, so let them!