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A Focus (End Of Year Review 2016)

As the business grows one year older I feel there is becoming a deeper focus. One that sees a shift from photographing a general array of wildlife across the world to honing my passion for certain areas. When I first started photography I had a lust to photograph a wide range of subjects but within 2015 and 2016 I have come to the conclusion that this variety can dilute the quality. Therefore as of this year and planned projects over the next 3 years the focus will certainly be limited to specific countries on the globe.

One of these particular areas is that of Amboseli where I found myself photographing at the start of 2016. My focus here is Elephant and this area provides a fantastic canvas for wildlife photography, and although only a recce trip I was satisfied that this park would provide images which portray both majesty and power. Having already planned and booked my stays for 2017 and 2018 I am very much looking forward to returning. A few images from recent trips to the African content can be seen here: The Magic Of The Mara

Ofcourse within the business goals of seeking images with majesty and power, I will continue to run my range of UK workshops, teaching people how to use their cameras in wildlife photography situations. Throughout the year I ran a series of complete beginner workshops focusing on teaching people the very basics to wildlife photography. We spend the day focused on capturing pleasing images of ‘simple subjects’ whilst I am able to hone the clients skills to capture wildlife images on location. This particular image was taken at the lake on a misty morning as the sun was rising behind us.

Spring saw the start of the 2016 Kingfisher Photography Workshops. These in fact ran throughout the year in April, June and October. Each workshop saw a fantastic number of visits in a mixture of weather conditions. This is my 4th year photographing Kingfishers now and still the feeling of watching a little flash of blue darting down the river bank and landing in front of your lens is both one of relief and excitement. I have a couple of places left for 2017 workshops, and 2018 dates will be released throughout the year.

Not the same can be said about this years Little Owl Workshops. Although we were blessed with a fantastic start to the workshops towards the end of May, come June the Little Owlets were beginning to fall out of the nest which sent both parents into a state of panic. With this in mind we have now bought the 2017 workshops dates significantly forward so not to have a repeat of this year – such is wildlife photography! This image was taken during on quite a wet and damp workshop in May as one of the Little Owls came and sat in front of the warm and cosy hide.

In my efforts to continue to produce simple fine art imagery, I returned again this year to Camargue. This time around I felt much more prepared and focused on what I was trying to achieve. The idilic postcard shot of sharp white horse against blue sky was far from what I wanted and therefore when the conditions presented themselves over the few days, I could create in camera closer to what I was looking for.

This piece is titled ‘Racing The Storm’ and involved many of the key factors I was looking for in my final image. I wanted to portray the speed and power of these beautiful stallions whilst including the soft pastels of the Mediterranean Ocean behind.

2016 saw me continue my partnership leading photographic tours for Natures Images. My summer tour involved taking 12 guests to the Shetland Islands focusing on photographing a range of sea birds and otters. We had fantastic weather conditions throughout our stay with we could utilise in our images. My favourite part of the trip was our visit to Fair Isle and spending a few days surrounded by hundreds of Puffins. A full trip report from this photographic tour can be read here: Spectacular Shetland

Like with running any business, as a wildlife photographer you need to set goals and have certain images in your mind to work towards throughout the year. At the start of 2015 I began work on trying to achieve an aesthetic portrait of a badger in the daylight. After many failed attempts I ran out of time to achieve this. During the Summer of 2016 whilst working closer to home, I worked with various badger setts up and down the country from Devon to Somerset and from Buckinghamshire to Dumfries with some pleasing results. Thank you to all involved for your various locations, both the Devon Badger Watch, Alan Mcfadyen and the Bucks Wildlife Trust. 

For those of you that have followed my work over the last few years will know that I have a fox hide based on a farm in Buckinghamshire. This year has been the most successful with the foxes being incredibly bold and consistent with upwards of 4 cubs visiting the meadow every evening with around 2 or 3 adults. For me it was certainly the best year for the cubs as in previous years they have tended to be quite shy in the early stages.

My last overseas trip of 2016 was leading my Zambia Photographic Safari to Kafue National Park. I throughly enjoyed running this safari and it was a pleasure showing the group a typically very unexplored area of Africa. We had great encounters with an array of wildlife, particularly that of numerous Elephant and Lion over our 10days. I have included a full trip report here: In To The Heart Of The African Bush

The highlight of 2016 was for the second year in a row being awarded in the European Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Awards. The image awarded is one of my personal favourites titled ‘Beauty, Power, Majesty’ and taken in the Masai Mara in December 2015.

Once again thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. For all of those who joined me on safari or on a workshop, to anyone who came to listen to me speak at over 100 venues this year or to anyone that purchased an image, it has been another successful year and I am very much looking forward to showing you the results of 2017 adventures. Have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Thank you, Tom.

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