I read with great interest Laurie Campbell’s recent piece in Outdoor Photography magazine. In it Laurie describes the familiar dilemma of revealing to other photographers often hard-won sites of what can be, sensitive subjects. And Laurie is right, to share or not to share, is a dilemma.
August 1998. It was a nervous morning as Mark Hamblin and I sat in my kitchen drinking coffee like it was going out of fashion, awaiting the arrival of our first guest on our first photo tour in our first year of collaboration. We had no track record, no model on which to base the tour content and no idea how we would be received. By late afternoon the now familiar Wing-and-a-Prayer approach kicked in and somehow we seemed to pull it off. Continue reading ““A retrenchment to core activities””
James Shooter is a young photographer and conservationist who came to our attention through the A Focus on Nature project. We were so impressed we gave him a job! A month in James tells us what he’s been up to. Over to you James…
My first month at Northshots has been interesting to say the least. Continue reading “New Shoots”
Expectations that is. I’ve been around long enough to remember when a crested tit momentarily alighting on a branch was enough to justify a week-long investment in one of our photo-tours. In what seems like just a few short years, such a fleeting opportunity is no longer enough. In fact, it’s nowhere near enough. We live in an age where expectations have changed beyond recognition, and I hear lots of photographers and workshop providers – and I guess I include myself here – bemoaning the demands placed upon them to deliver fulfilling experiences to their paying guests. But you know, we only have ourselves to blame.
We flaunt our best images across the internet like designer labels and of course in these days of instant communication they get seen. And once seen the race is on to replicate. Any shot of a sea eagle ten years ago would have been a major scoop, but now most – in spite of their technical brilliance – are met with apathy. So those photographers who have paraded their stunning images of sea eagles, red kites and grey seals – they’re to blame for cranking up expectations. And I’m one of them.
But something else has changed, something a tad more worrying in my book. Unrealistic expectations can easily be fuelled by shortcomings in subject knowledge. I’ve been asked more than once by tour guests about photographing ospreys in February (they spend the winter in West Africa), and many other occasions where a lack of understanding of the difficulties in photographing wildlife in northern Europe has lead to disappointment as expectations inevitably go unfulfilled. So perhaps in addition to putting people in front of wildlife subjects as best we can; in addition to talking them through the technical and aesthetic approach to wildlife photography, we should be working harder to provide a broader knowledge base which will create a new generation of not only top-notch photographers but of top-notch nature advocates. To me the two things are inseparable but I may well be in the minority.