I find myself sat here in Toronto, staring at the CN Tower and thinking “crap…i’m miles behind in admin!” So, it’s load up the coffee, dig out the laptop and get writing…especially as I’m about to head off to Northern Manitoba today and start looking for polar bears and wolves, accompanied by an enthusiastic group of photographers who are all about to set out on their first, on-foot, tundra adventure. It’s always such a fantastic experience for people, and a privilege for me to be escorting them and, hopefully!, helping them out.
Talks and workshops
As visitors to the Facebook page will know, the last couple of months have been extremely busy with a couple of visits to Zimbabwe and Zambia all shoe-horned in, and in the few days I’ve had back in Blighty, I did manage to squeeze in a talk for National Geographic at their festival in London, a workshop for six members of Cheam Camera Club, some private tuition and a trio of talks to Wallington, Maidenhead and Tanridge Photographic Societies. It’s always great fun to give presentations: many hate it of course, but I absolutely love sharing some of the stories and tales from behind the scenes, and hopefully inspiring people to get out and do more themselves. The Nat Geo festival was great fun – with around 170 people crammed into the room for what felt almost like a stand-up routine about the rigours of wildlife photography! If you were there on the day, I hope you had a great time – it was certainly a very responsive audience, and of course it’s a a real honour to run a workshop for such an organisation! I’m delighted now also to have joined the judging panel for the magazine’s annual photography prize….so I’ll be casting my beady eye over your best offerings!
Wild dogs: Africa’s most beautiful…
The trips to Zimbabwe have been phenomenal. Following the pack over the course of a month as it gradually left the den and started to head out hunting on the flood plains of Mana Pools was exceptional, and doing it all on foot gave me some of the most incredible opportunities I’ve had to capture their behaviour in 20 years. At times, I would be crawling right up to the pack – 15 adults, 8 pups (11 originally, but 3 have perished) – whilst they eyed me with mild curiosity and just went about their daily routine. In fact on many occasions, they would simply stroll right up to me and peer down the lens – a level of interaction that I’d not experienced with a pack such as this before. In the end we had them hunting baboons, impala and, ultimately, a young buffalo. All the images from these are now being processed and edited down for use in a book as well as a couple of articles, so will be more visible in the coming months. However, to be sat literally 15 feet away from the pack as it pulled down that buffalo was one of the most gripping experiences I’ve ever had and has provided some truly unique imagery. In fact, just talking about it makes me excited! I’ll be on that case when I get back from Canada.