Wildlife Photographer: Chris Gomersall

I have to be honest when colleague Chris Gomersall told me he was doing a book on…wait for it…wildlife photography, my eyes glazed over.  How many more books do we need on shutter speed, aperture settings and ISO ratings? So in truth when a copy landed on my doormat the other day, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to rip it open. But open it I did and I’ve got to say that once I started reading, I couldn’t stop; even Coronation St came and went and I was still absorbed.

Wildlife Photographer is not a techie manual, in fact Chris barely makes mention of camera gear and settings (and well done for that I say). This is an educated, insightful exploration of the concept of wildlife photography and is very much aimed at the thinking photographer. From an intelligent (and experienced) viewpoint, Chris examines themed creativity, conservation story-telling, multimedia and lots more besides. Without apology, he  addresses the thorny issue of digital manipulation and captive subjects – something most others conveniently shy away from. The images are great – that goes without saying – but what impressed me most was Chris’ articulate writing, which is concise, balanced and perceptive.

I’m sure Chis wouldn’t mind me saying that he’s been around a while and in many ways, comes from what is commonly referred to as the ‘old school’. In this book it is evident that Chris’ philosophy is anything but old school and the reader is treated to quite a rare marriage: a lifetime of experience with a contemporary perspective – and a firm grip on reality thrown in to boot.

If this book had indeed turned out to be another ‘how to’ manual, I’d probably be struggling to offer much in way of recommendation. It isn’t that and for anyone who cares about their photography and where this funny old business is heading, I’d offer only one piece of advice: Buy this book. It captures the essence of wildlife photography in 2012 better than anything I’ve read before.

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6 thoughts on “Wildlife Photographer: Chris Gomersall

  1. Hi Pete,

    Photographing Wild Birds was one of the first books on wildlife photography I bought. At the time, it was just what I was looking for. It covered all the technical bases, working in the field and more. In particular, this ‘more’ was the case studies that Chris included giving us an insight into how other photographers worked. This was the real highlight of the book for me. It planted the idea (whether Chris meant it to or not) of approach and what wildlife photography means in a greater context.

    I agree that the need for another technically focussed instruction book is minimal. Books on insight, creativity and what wildlife photography as a concept mean to others, however, will be enthusiastically welcomed.

    On the face of it, these subjects seem pretty big so I’m excited to see how Chris deals with them in – as you’ve mentioned – his concise writing style.


  2. Hello Pete
    Thanks for the heads up I brought Chris’s book on how to photograph birds and it helped me tremendously to understand the art of wildlife photography. I have since met Chris and he is one of the nicest guys in this game so I think I will part with my cash (I know I still have a bit) and by his latest book.


  3. Enough already! Please stop talking about me as though I was already dead.
    But seriously, it’s nice to know that “Photographing Wild Birds” was helpful to folk – only just out of print after eleven years – and gratifying to learn that your work is held in high regard by your peers. One of the keys to keeping your photography fresh, I think, is to recognise that the young may actually have something to teach us from time to time. And I have no difficulty in acknowledging that I have been inspired by the work of Vincent Munier, Sandra Bartocha, Stefano Unterthiner, Orsolya Haarberg, and others. And even, on occasions, by Pete and Danny (who might just belong to a SLIGHTLY younger generation of wildlife photographers, but I prefer to think they were a little late getting started).

  4. Hello Pete,
    I too read Photographing Wild Birds and it inspired me greatly when I first took up Wildlife Photography. I have just finished reading Chris’s book. Top marks for such a concise and well written book with superb images. Yet again an inspirational read!!
    That Turkey looking bird is looks familiar though! 🙂


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