Native Wildlife Photography in the UK
Native wildlife photography in the UK is rarely straightforward. First of all we have to identify locations which will form a suitable habitat for British wildlife. Then we have to hope the animals will turn up on the day we visit. And then there’s the weather - here in the UK it’s usually either too bright and harsh, or it’s so dull there’s hardly any light at all.
I’ve often dreamed about exotic excursions to fabulous parts of the world. I think about the grandeur of photographing statuesque African animals. Or I wonder what it would be like to photograph wild mustangs, or wild bears. The fact is that not many of us can find the time or outlay for overseas trips. Therefore if we want to photograph wildlife we need to put the effort into finding our own.
We do have some lovely wild creatures in the British Isles, but whether they’re accessible not is going to depend on where we live. I live in the south-east of England, near to the West Sussex coast. Therefore like most people my wildlife photography will take place in my garden, on walks, and at wildlife centres, managed lakes and sanctuaries. All of these things have their own pros and cons. But overall the kind of creatures we’ll be photographing will include garden birds, raptors, waterfowl, foxes, squirrels, and if we’re lucky otters and badgers. Then of course we have non-native species which we can see in zoos and safari parks (although the habitat may not be ideal for taking pictures).
With some thought it is possible to attract wildlife into your back garden. We should all do our bit to encourage garden birds and to learn how to help individual species. Foxes are commonplace and I’ve had several over the years who’ve been very happy to hang out with me. Many of the photographs I’ve taken have depended on my reaction time, having a camera nearby and a measure of luck. In fact at the time of writing this, all of the wildlife photographs you’ll see in my gallery have been taken within about an hour and a half of my home. The photographs shown below have been taken within about half an hour of home, and some were captured in my back garden.