Industrialised golf.

“Nature photography will become the next golf.” Friend and colleague Danny Green said this to me the best part of a decade ago. I agreed with him then and I agree with him even more now. Let’s face it, (generally speaking) we’ve all got more money, (generally speaking) we’re all in better health and (generally speaking) we all have more leisure time. It’s not surprising then that lots more people are taking advantage of increasing opportunities to connect with, and photograph, wildlife. Nature photography IS the new golf, now practiced by thousands upon thousands of lens-wielding enthusiasts across the world. And where there is demand, there is supply.

I’ve spent the last few weeks satisfying some of that demand up here in the Cairngorms. Ospreys are the in thing right now and we’ve accommodated several groups of photographers all champing at the bit to get up close to this icon of the Scottish Highlands. It’s completely understandable – the prospect of a diving or feeding osprey just metres from your hide is mouth-watering to any photographer, myself included. What’s more, it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Once the shots are secured, the immediacy of the internet ensures they are visible to the world creating even more demand for even more osprey encounters. A good thing? On balance and notwithstanding  my own business interest in photo-tourism, I think that yes, it is a good thing.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fishing at dawn, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

So what’s the problem? I don’t know that there is one…yet. But there is talk of creating an additional osprey facility over and above those that already exist. There is talk of an artificial pool, an artificial background and a hide on rails to take account of the lighting and wind direction. There is talk of tower hides and cleverly engineered feeding stations. And why not? These techniques are already applied for a range of species both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. In Hungary you can tilt tree-mounted mirrors from your hide to ensure optimal lighting; you can even take images of wetland birds in Costa Rica from the comfort of your armchair in Burnham-on-Sea. All it takes to secure a photographic trophy is a timely click of your mouse.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fishing at dawn, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

So where’s it all going? What does the future hold? I don’t know if truth be told but I think there are dangers from an over-dependence on industrialised photographic opportunities. There’s the obvious likelihood of our audience getting bored with images that are after all, very similar. Perhaps more serious however, is the potential loss of creativity. Go back just a generation and the images that etched themselves on your mind were the work of photographers who spent hours, days, even weeks, preparing, preconceiving and then finally, capturing the shot. Without that lead-in period, without the imagination that ran wild in their minds for weeks at what images might be possible, and without the freedom to interpret your subject in your own way, is there not a danger that the present generation of photographers – the new golfers – will become creatively stifled? Artistically straight-jacketed?

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fishing at dawn, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

I’m a great advocate for anything that gets people inspired about nature and there’s no doubt that a close encounter with an osprey, kingfisher or fox does exactly that. I’m also a fan of sustainable wildlife tourism but my concern is that the increasing number of image-making opportunities provided by experienced photographers now deprived of traditional revenue streams, will become an addiction and will replace, rather than complement, the traditional approach of working your patch and creating your own unique images.

Of course I want people to continue to rent our hides and join our tours but not at the expense of their potential to be individually creative. Images secured on our tours and from our hides should sit alongside images shot in a local woodland or town park. It would be a great shame if photographic teachers taught the new wave of photographers not to think for themselves. Modern day nature photography needs homogeneity like a hole in the head.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fishing at dawn, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

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33 thoughts on “Industrialised golf.

  1. You are spot on here Peter, even as a beginner to photography which I took up three years ago I am just off the Internet enquiring about ospreys in Florida Blue Cypress Lake. I want pics with good light and a blue background which isn’t likely here or Finland Osprey hides. Give my regards to Danny and Mark ,

  2. Ah, nature photo brothels…one of my long standing gripes. If “nature photographers” think that these bought experiences serve any purpose other than short term (visual) gratification, they are kidding themselves. Buying a relationship with the subject is no substitute for cultivating one yourself. Nature photography as sport – which this is – is fine and keeps the providers in business, but don’t kid yourselves that it’s art. When someone else has created “the opportunity” it’s nothing to do with you, your world view or your insight – in other words, again, it’s sport, not art. Me? I’d like to think that nature photography might serve a purpose higher than competition.

    1. Totally 101% agree with all your points Niall…… that’s why photographers like yours truly will never been seen away from my home patch be it the UK when I lived their or as it is now Andalucía which is the richest biodiverse region in Europe……….. I just don’t get it, why people want to buy their image trophies but that’s the way nature/wildlife and landscape photography sadly has gone, that’s a fact. Here in Spain we take our clients to a couple of meadows and we work them for an entire week and they come away stunning images, more understanding and hope fully an appreciation of what makes it all tick.

  3. An intersting point Pete and one I do agree with largely. However, there is a flip side to this – If we, the paying customers, can use the “provided opportunities” as an arena to develop skills or techniques that can then be applied back on our home patch, then surely it can’t be all bad.

    Niall’s comment above is spot on. Whilst I’ve come away from many a tour (both with you and elsewhere) with some good looking images, there is always that little voice in the back of my head whispering, “Yeah, but it’s not quite the real deal.” Being put in front of something without having done the groundwork does feel slightly cheap – almost cheating, if you will. We all do it (and enjoy our time immensely, I might add), but it doesn’t have quite the same buzz, as having gone out and found something and “worked it” for real.

    The reality of course is that we don’t always have the time (or in some cases inclination) to go and track something down, study and understand it and then photograph it in the manner we would wish. If we did, we’d all be full time photograghers and then you’d really know the meaning of the word competition!! (well, maybe).

    Sometimes, just sometimes, instant gratification serves a purpose…..

  4. Spot on comments from bot yourself and Niall. Maybe people have more leisure time at hand, they also demand more and better results from that time. Investing time tracking down a subject and creating circumstances to get that dreamshot does not fit that bill for most.

    I have no problem with people going for snackbar photography and the instant gratification, but in my opinion and from my own experience, the gratification does not last and before long, you are hungry again. Just like fastfood.

    What does bother me is the river of similar images that daily floods the internet and international competitions. You mention the audience will get bored, I already am. I really hate it when a spectacular image pops up ont he screen, and my first though is “i know where that was taken”. Or when another snow monkey image gets awarded in a competition. I want to be surprised by a photograph, not get a feeling of familiarity with a place I have never been to or animal I have never seen in real life. Just because everyone and their uncle go with a hype, copy eachothers images and post them online.

    Come to think of it, and reading back my comment, it seems I am the one having a problem with something everyone else is doing and is ok with. So my problem it is, although I do think that the romanticism of the craft is dying, rapidly. And that is a shame. Being able to take photos of exotic animals with a click of the mouse might be the final nail on the coffin. As soon as images taken that way appear in magazines and competitions, and they will, I’m out.

  5. An interesting article Pete. I think we are all stood on top of a very slippery slope. Yes I’ve used hides, your hides included, and yes I’ve come away with some quality images. These images suppliment my day-to-day, backyard photography, and from a personal viewpoint they rate about the same. However, if you were to ask Joe Bloggs in the street they would pick a fishing osprey shot over a damselfly shot I took at my local pond hands down. Any photographer who wants to make a name for themelves will probably find themselves using these ready made shot-of-a-lifetime hides at some point or another, just to keep up with the competition, because let’s face it, there is a hell of a lot of competition out there. I’m not aganist competition, and actually believe competition encourages inventiveness and original thought. However, competition can also lead to taking short cuts, and this is where I think the problem lies. Last week out of the blue I was sent an email advertising photography days using captive snakes, foxes, raptors, even kingfishers for christs sake. This to me is the slippery slope. There is a real risk wildlife photography will lose all credibility if this use of captive animals spreads to the mainstream. Using and paying for hide days with true wildlife maybe thought of as taking a short cut by some, but it’s one I’m prepared to live with. Using captive animals, In my opinion, is cheating plan and simple, but is one I can see getting a foothold. The lure of an easy shot with a nailed on guarantee with be too much for some to resist.

  6. I just wondered how many people can remember the Wildphotos Declaration? One of the Declarations tenements was: “We will never use live bait or any bait that will adversely affect the behaviour of an animal.”

    With the two purpose built photography locations using live bait to lure the Ospreys to the photographers lenses, how does that fit with the Declaration? At the time there was rush from certain photographers to confirm their ethical credentials by signing it but how many have since photographed Ospreys at these locations?

    Having photographed at the original Osprey location that was constructed as a fishery (although subsequently stocked at least partially for photography) and also Kingfishers (as have many other photographers), Niall will recall that I mentioned at the time that the declaration was not black and white and compliance with it was not straight forward.

    With Wildphotos on the horizon, is it time for the Declaration to be revisited?

    Best wishes


    PS: NB have you spoken to the American Consular yet?

  7. Well I’m coming to regard your tours as an annual kick up the arse about opportunities in my own local area or perhaps further afield when travelling on our own. So for example the feeding station chez nous has been revamped for photography since our last visit ready for the winter. And the shots I’ve been most pleased with on tour have been the ones that were different from everyone elses and there’s plenty of opportunity for those, especially on landscape trips. But until the school bell tolls for the last time for me in X years time the reality is for me like most others that there’s only so much time available to take pictures, and sometimes borrowing somebody elses set-up allows me to practice skills that otherwise become rusty. But perhaps the other way of looking at this is that we are at the end of the time when the “record” shot of a species has any value – technical advances in cameras and lenses mean that anyone who is in the right place at the right time can get that osprey shot that twenty years ago would have taken astonishing skill. So this is the point where real creativity and artistry can take over – for example I have seen amazing impressionistic flower photography develop over the last few years which is truly artistic and inspirational. So there are opportunities still, even if they’re not financially viable for a professional career in photography. But then I’ve never had any desire to go pro, I just like taking pictures.

  8. All very valid and insightful comments folks and thanks for reading the original post as it was intended – an objective observation for discussion. I hope, like many of you, that the type of photography we’re discussing continues to serve the community in a positive way but again, as some comments above allude to, not to the extent where it dulls our desire to create for ourselves – even if the stage for doing so is just your back garden.

    We are all at a crossroads and I for one, do not know which road is either profitable or ethical, let alone personally satisfying. My biggest hope is that the collective work of the nature photography community continues – as it undoubtedly has done – to inform and inspire a wide audience. So however you obtain your images, make sure you shove them in front of as many people as possible!

    I’m just off to write the brochure for our new hide overlooking a concrete pit full of fluffy bunnies and unwanted dogs and cats, which will be fed upon by a genetically modified and illegally introduced wolf-lion. £1k a day suit you sir?

  9. ………………… if you’d had said Lynx, I might have gone for it, but a plain old Wolf-Lion……..well, where the fun in that!!! LOL.

  10. Such a big topic and one that is so relevant these days so I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief. Ultimately to me it is about what you want to achieve with your images and your photography. The reason that the overwhelming majority of the images that I take are taken at my local sites, that have been found by me, and rarely if ever shared with anyone, is because I want to produce a unique, credible and authentic body of work on a subject, as opposed to simply circumnavigating the UK parasitizing the work of others and adding NOTHING ORIGINAL to the genre! That’s the only way that I have a chance of getting my features into magazines like NatGeo or BBC Wildlife and ultimately that’s always been, and always will be the way that I work. The Laurie Campbell way!

  11. I have used hides including the squirrel ones when we rented ballintean and had great fun ! I also learnt tons about the behaviour of the animals. However I feel really uncomfortable about moving hides and reflectors etc somehow it feels like the animal or bird is the least important thing in the equation and that’s just wrong. What worries me more than anything though is the tendency for photographers to lie about their subjects . I recently did a workshop with some rehabilitated owls I had fun practised my technique and my fee went to a great cause I made no attempt to hide the jesses etc as these were rehabilitated birds almost without exception people say to me you should clone out the leather it’s more impressive if people think the owls are wild . I was really shocked

  12. A brief comment.

    I agree with Pete. What the set-up and bait situation removes to a great extent, is luck. Not the ‘will I get a shot or not’ luck, but the ‘will I get something totally unique’ luck.

    Even with all our great imaginations we cannot ever second guess the beautiful randomness of nature and its ability to throw the unexpected in our faces. By ensuring that we DO see our subject, we increasingly remove the element of natural randomness that can occur when nature is given a free hand.

    And part of the skill and challenge of working in such situations is overcoming those unpredictable conditions and maybe if one is lucky bagging a unique image.

    There’s certainly a place for both approaches. But I think it’s important everyone involved is clear in their minds about which is which, and what their expectations are.

  13. Very interesting comments and I agree with most of them. I for one have used your hides and others and see them as an ideal way to improve techniques to take to my own “Patches”. However these will never take over as my main photographic stimulus. As a keen birder I have found modern photography has expanded my wildlife interests massively and I know this to be the case with many of my friends. Moths, Butterflies, hoverflies, orchids, Fungae etc etc have all become subjects with which now have reasonable knowledge. Without doubt a contributing factor to our expanded interest has been the camera.
    I am hugely looking forward to our adventure into the Actic next week, with a chance to photograph the bid white bears. How else could we get such a fantastic opportunity without the use of our “Floating Hide”. Or, perhaps I should cancel next weeks trip and make myself a seal skin canoe, then I can claim the pictures as “Original”

  14. What a very emotive subject and as always well presented.

    As someone who has been on many of Pete’s tours and used the hides I can only say that these opportunities have been a valuable learning experience – both photographically and as a means of learning about the wildlife involved. They have certainly helped me learn how to make use of “my local patch” and the opportunities it provides, whether that be in the back garden or in the surrounding countryside. They have also led to my other half becoming far more appreciative, and knowledgeable, where wildlife is concerned – a definite bonus.

    My “local” photos may not be of the stunning osprey variety but they are, I hope, helping to educate my friends and neighbours to the beauty that surrounds them – if they only look for it!

    John talks of the “element of natural randomness” and here I agree nature cannot be second guessed, but it does deliver. There’s something to be said about setting out for a walk, or photo session, with a particular subject and set-up in mind, only to find that what one comes away with is totally unexpected but counting amongst your best wildlife experiences. In my case this was finding a family of foxes which I was able to watch and photograph for several weeks as they played and grew from young cubs to adults. The intended subject on the day I first spotted the foxes was actually brown hares – the hares though did not put in an appearance!

    For Lorna; I don’t think you should be too concerned regarding the removal of the jesses etc from photos of captive birds – many photographers do it – the issue is when those photographers deliberately “forget” to tell those viewing the images how they were obtained. The removal of such items can certainly make the photos look cleaner, more impressive maybe – for me the “impressive” is usually the birds themselves with or without jesses, wild or captive!

    This same “forgetfulness” can be applied to images taken from hides, feeding stations and other captive set-ups – one just has to be honest about how your images were obtained.

    As a keen amateur, I would hate to lose the opportunities provided by the photo tours and hides, and even in some cases captive animals (especially if the fees help research, conservation and public enlightenment), but ultimately I think the real “buzz” for me comes from the close encounters with wildlife that occur as a result of my attempts at photography. There’s something really special about sitting in a field, with foxes, badgers, hares or the like only feet away, going about their daily lives and totally unaware of your existence – if you can get a photo even better!

  15. Most topical!

    For those concerned about changing the birds’ behaviour, or the “artificial” nature of this situation, let’s not forget that ospreys have been feeding on stocked trout at this fish farm for 30-40 years already! It was just harder to photograph on the large pond, using your own hide, a manual focus lens, and Kodachrome 64.

    I can’t begrudge other people the opportunity of witnessing this amazing spectacle for themselves, and improving their chances of coming away with a photographic prize. Ethically, it’s at least a step up from captive birds of prey. And I think we should credit most people with the intelligence to recognise the difference between this as “sport” if you like, and the process of true creativity and engagement with nature. It’s undoubtedly useful for developing technical and manual skills, and hell it’s fun.

    1. It wasn’t the artificial nature of this particular situation that concerned me rather that the declaration and the questions it raised seem to have been forgotten. Whilst far from perfect in its drafting, the declaration provided a starting point that perhaps we all should have progressed, even if it proved to be inconvenient with some of the practices that may now be common practice.

  16. A hotly contested issue my thought are as follows…… nothing wrong with tourist photography especially for those who may not have the time or inclination to spend time watching and learning about their intended target in order to capture a nice picture…it’s a bit of a “quick fix” if you like……I can appreciate the technical side of a good shots but you end up with loads of the same type shots from loads of different photographers, it just doesn’t inspire me personally….. there are loads of examples cropping up, Diving kingfishers, jumping red squirrels, Osprey’s to name a few….. all lovely shots but all look very similar in nature.

    The shots I really like are the wild shot, no controlled environments, no baiting just wild something I’ve always found a challenge and strive for myself, sometimes it does not work and sometimes it all comes together and you feel a real sense of achievement and at the same time you’ve learned a great deal about that particular animals behaviour and patterns…….

    From a personal point of view i think this understanding of behaviour has become as important as the photography itself and something i personally really enjoy…. I do think this aspect is somewhat missing from the type of photography the article talks about….. I wish competitions took this into consideration however….. for me a shot that has taken much time and effort to garner is worth more than one taken under very controlled circumstances.

    Again nothing personal in my comments each to their own, I can only say what inspires me….. My big big hate is mis representation of a wild shot, that seems to occur quite often….a big no no as the photographer loses any respect…… finally ethics do also come into this re baiting….. I’m sure lots of you saw the Great Grey shot coming into a live mouse, article written as if it was wild….. truth was a semi humanised Owl and a live mouse thrown out onto the snow for the owl…… Not acceptable for me I’m afraid.

  17. I am biased i run workshops thus do have a vested interest in this. BUT the main point I think is being missed here…. we live in a world where EVERYTHING is delcining, we are on the brink of a huge global disaster. State of nature report of the UK says (if my memory serves me correctly) that 60% of all our natural species are declining and 1 in 10 will be extinct very soon. Guilt has not worked, we have known this for generations and charities do do great work but are not solving anything, therefore having fun I believe is the answer.

    Sitting in a hide meters away from one of our most iconic wild animals seeing it explode out the water and then even managing to get a shot of it is utterly utterly utterly amazing fun!!!!!! You see that and you will never ever want to hear of or let anyone hunt or persecute that animal and thus that animal has a protector and friend for life. That animal also now has an economic worth that far out weighs anything it might be percieved to destroy/hunt/impact on.

    This is so so so so important and far out weighs ‘creativity’, ‘originality’ or any of these other luxury nice to haves.

    We need lots and lots and lots of people to have close encounters and thus love our wildlife, photography is a great way of doing this.

    Guilt does not work, entertainment hopefully will!

    Rant over!

  18. Hi Philip

    “Sitting in a hide meters away from one of our most iconic wild animals seeing it explode out the water and then even managing to get a shot of it is utterly utterly utterly amazing fun!!!!!! You see that and you will never ever want to hear of or let anyone hunt or persecute that animal and thus that animal has a protector and friend for life. That animal also now has an economic worth that far out weighs anything it might be percieved to destroy/hunt/impact on. ”

    I’m not convinced its that easy. The hard work, the bloody hard work, is the bit that joins the dots from sitting in a hide having a fun time with a species……………………to understanding the complexity of it’s existence in the ‘real world’ and the myriad pressures that are brought to bear upon it, often as a consequence of other demands that this paying punter, amongst others, is putting on the environment.

    Whilst I agree that it represents an opportunity the reality in my experience is far more difficult and complicated to achieve. One example from many I could offer: I was working on Mull and was asked for advice by a couple in a car who asked for “directions to see the golden eagles” adding “we’ve seen the sea ones and now want to see the golden ones but we need to catch the ferry later this afternoon”. I tried to explain the difficulty this request presented but they looked at me as if I was being selfish and went off in a huff.

    Despite their experience with the sea eagles this couple were still labouring under the misapprehension that nature can be summoned on demand and I think this illustrates the downside of the ‘bird on a stick’ opportunities: they need to be carefully combined with education.

    But if you can pull off that trick of offering fun and education, and fostering care and aspiration for a shared future with nature, then job done. If it only achieves this with a small proportion of the audience it’s still worth it. Every little helps.

    1. good points! Your probably right it is not that easy but hopefully these amazig close encounters do help!
      And I could not agree more with the combination of education.

      Mull is a slightly strange place, although i think the tv documentary (david attenborough syndrome) might play as much as a role on expectation of instant wildlife as do the birds on a stick thing.

  19. Philip,

    Having fun? Fun? That’s not what conservation is about! There’s no science in fun!

    Seriously, I agree 100% – the answer to engaging a wider audience is inspiration not guilt. It is however, as John rightly points out, a terribly difficult trick to pull off. But let’s face it, if a plunging osprey doesn’t do it for you, nothing will.

    Thanks for all your comments guys and gals. How we carry out our photography and what we do with the resultant images is obviously something a lot of people are passionate about and passion is one thing we do need.

  20. Cracking conversation and nothing original I can add as a “guilty” wildlife tourist, but I would like to add to the discussion on live bait. Live mice to attract great grey owls is wrong, but meal-worms to attract garden birds (and maybe through them , sparrowhawks) is OK? How does that work? We care about mammals but not about insect grubs? Or is it about the belief that mice understand and fear the chase while grubs are too low down the intelligence chain to feel anything? Shades of Tooth & Claw, Pete; we humans are nothing if not inconsistent in our attitudes to wildlife! Me? I love brown hares but will think nothing of swatting a bluebottle. Time to go meditate on my (many) shortcomings…

  21. Enjoyed comments on wildlife photography tourism and as always, a variety of views well argued.
    My very recent experience at the aforementioned Osprey hides sums up my outlook on the subject. The pre dawn wait in the hide as Pete suggests can sometimes be long and uneventful
    but when the action starts, boy does it get your heart and shutter finger going. I secured many super shots in great light of the splashing birds emerging with plump trout, but one of my favourite images came from the local Heron preening itself in gorgeous light and reflected in the dark green waters of the pool. Some mallard activity was also enjoyed and photographed
    as the morning wore on.
    This sums up my enjoyment of the hobby – its all about being there and observing these creatures whether its squirrels at a feeding station, wild birds in the garden, or iconic ospreys doing why they do in a pool in Rothiemurchus. As Philip said, it is fantastic fun!

  22. Pondering Pete’s “golf” analogy, I’m thinking that this sort of photography perhaps more closely resembles the kind of extreme fishing promoted on TV by Robson Green at al – albeit with rather more wholesome conservation credentials. Are we all trying to emulate Vladimir Putin and his 46lb prize pike? I do hope there’s more to it than that, and people go on to try to create their own images, forge more meaningful relationships with nature, and become active in the field of conservation. As John implies, those of us who lead tours/workshops to Rothiemurchus and similar sites certainly have a responsibility here, and it’s one that I shall take seriously.

    It will be interesting to see how this phenomenon plays out. Will there be a plethora of copycat sites, thereby dispersing the feeding ospreys so that none of them can make it pay? Will the pool of willing (paying) photographers dwindle as the camera clubs tire of yet more osprey images in their competitions? Or will some bigger, better, more exciting photo opportunity come along and become the new must-have trophy? Perhaps a bit of each.

  23. Interesting post / subject (as usual, btw).
    Whilst I can appreciate the commercial pressures on providers of such services to stay ahead of the game, traipsing round the country /globe (and adding my share of unnecessary Co2) – just to capture a different arrangement of coloured pixels – is something I’m very unlikely to do. This is especially true if mega £$ are involved and there’s some chance that my pics will look even vaguely similar to other peoples’.
    (Chances are I’d probably miss THE shot anyway thro’ pilot error … )

    Yes, I’d also miss the experience of being in the presence of a ‘charismatic species / event’ – but do I need to be present at such a dramatic event in order to be enthralled by nature?
    As an amateur I’m quite content to nip into the back garden for macro opportunities, or get on my bike and visit the local country park / lake system (same local one as Danny Green is familiar with) in order to try and get a half reasonable photo of the ‘common wildlife’ found there.

    Such environments are unlikely to be deemed ‘wild’ by anyone, of course – but on the other hand, I have no control over subject behaviour, I don’t ‘bait’* and so any degree of success is essentially down to my familiarity with the location, patience, luck and – for the country park – a willingness to experiment with rigs allowing me to get close(r) to water level.

    At the latter venue, for example, I consider it a worthy challenge to get a decent shot of a coot – sometimes described in overheard conversations as ‘what’s that boring black duck, mummy / daddy?’ often followed by ‘why’s that man by the water praying?’. If time and circumstances allow, I’ll have a brief chat about what I’m doing / trying to achieve – give them my site details (hand written on cereal packet card) and part our ways.

    Whilst my primary aim is not to educate / enlighten people to the wonders of nature / wildlife, feedback seems to suggest that my particular approach has provided them with a view of commonplace local subjects – rather than more exotic species – that they seem to appreciate.

    * An untruth – I’ve been known to leave fruit scraps on the draining board to entice fruit flies … when ‘messing with macro’.

  24. “Nature photography will become the next golf.” Friend and colleague Danny Green said this to me the best part of a decade ago.

    And Golf is what a game for the masses? I think you’ll Peter that golf is still an elite game…..

    1. I don’t agree Geoff, in Scotland (and I’m sure in other parts of the UK) golf is certainly a game for the masses.

      Yes you can spend a fortune on a set of carbon golf sticks and a fetching Pringle sweater, and join some exclusive country club to swank it in, but loads of small local clubs provide easy and cheap entry for people, particularly youngsters using a couple of s/h clubs and wearing a hoodie. In fact to become good at golf might even be cheaper and easier than becoming good at photography.

      I watch the youngsters on one of the local courses near me on a Saturday morning when I walk the dog, all ages, all genders, all types of clothing, and some on bicycles with clubs pedaling along the seafront to get there.

      Now, if your comparison had used polo as an alteranative pastime……I’d agree with you.

  25. John

    I may have to give you that one I think you are right, I remember chatting to Neil McIntyre while he was practising his swing in a field near Loch Insh one afternoon and all my family play except me (-: and practically everyone I know.

    Polo is definitely not for the masses I live next to Polo World near Marbella is Sotogrande that has 10 or more Polo clubs…… to be member costs 30k plus per annum…. I’ll stick to tennis it’s free here in the Spanish countryside, though the locals prefer killing, usually bulls in the what they refer to as the art of corrida, it still attracts the masses. In 2 years of being here in Andalucía I have yet to come across another photographer other than arranged meetings with Diego Lopez and Gerado Chinchilla.

    Best, Geoff

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