It is difficult to know where to start! 2014 has truly been an amazing year for my photography in terms of opportunity and the wildlife I have been fortunate enough to see. Even halfway through this year I said to myself ‘wow, if I have another year like this in my career I will be really lucky’. It has involved a lot of travelling, the majority of the time I have been very fortunate with the results. I was keen to put together an end of year review to revisit some of the highlights.
At the end of January I headed to the Cairngorms for a few days photographing the acrobatic Red Squirrel. For the jumping shots good light is essential and on this particular day the first snow fall of the year just began to start as the squirrel leaped into the air. I really enjoy photographing mammals and the longer you spend with them, the better chance you have of capturing their behaviour. The water voles were no different and even in a short period of time I realised just how cute they really can be.
My first successful overseas trip of the year was a long journey down to the Falkland Islands. An incredible place for wildlife photography and my main target species were the Penguins. Both the King and Gentoo Penguins proved to be the stars and with just over two weeks of photography there, I could really work on some images I was pleased with. My favourite image from the whole year was taken on Carcass Island where I was able to capture the Gentoo penguin leaping out of the surf towards me, avoiding any waiting sea lions.
Although the Penguins were my main focus, the Black Browed Albatross proved to be a stunning subject. There were only a few occasions where I was able to get eye level with these birds and on this particular morning as the sun rose out from the sea, the albatross spread its 2.5 meter wingspan right infront of me and flew off towards the ocean.
My favourite British mammal is the Red Fox, and from the months of April through until September I try and spend as much time focusing on them as I can. This year was a bit disjointed, with trips planned abroad during the summer months but I was still able to string a few weeks together to get into the hide myself. The activity was great this year, and although the cubs were slow to make an appearance, when they did they were extremely cute.
I wrote a detailed blog post a few months ago titled ‘My Love Of Africa’ and so it is with no surprise that I was there three times this year. It was my first time to the Maasai Mara back in March and the sightings were fantastic. August proved to be spectacular aswell witnessing the ‘Greatest show on Earth’-the wildebeest migration, something I have always dreamed of seeing. It was also a year which saw me lead another successful trip to Kafue in Zambia where we had some beautiful sightings of Elephant and Lion in partnership with Busanga Safaris. Africa is somewhere in which I will never tire of photographing the extraordinary wildlife which lives there and it is a continent that I will keep revisiting hopefully for a long time to come if I am lucky.
I had two occasions this year in which to photograph Brown Bears and on my first trip to Sweden unfortunately I barely took my camera out of its bag, but thats wildlife for you. My trip to Finland at the beginning of July proved to be more successful and to have my first views of the largest European predator was an amazing experience. To be eye level with such a powerful animal was breath taking and even more so when they put their nose onto your lens!
For a few weeks in October my focus was the Red Deer Rut. The weather conditions were challenging at times, but there were a number of days where everything came together. I enjoy spending long periods of time working on one project, and photographing the Red Deer over several weeks can be rewarding.
This was the first year that I have started to run photographic workshops with Kingfishers. We had two very active days on the river bank and I would like to thank all my clients who came along. After a successful 2014, I am already taking bookings for 2015 and spaces are filling up quickly. If you would like to spend a day photographing Kingfishers with me, then do not hesitate to get in touch: http://tomwayphotography.co.uk/kingfisher-photography-workshop-3/
For my last trip of 2014 I ventured across the Indonesian Ocean to reach Komodo Island to photograph the Komodo Dragon. These prehistoric beasts have a deadly bacterial bite and it is certainly an adrenaline rush to be lying on a remote beach as one of these monsters starts moving towards you. As you approach the string of islands where the lizards await, for me there was certainly a feeling of stepping back in time to the land of the Dinosaurs. Getting as low as I could was difficult from a safety aspect, but with this particular shot I had two guides either side of me incase the dragon made an unexpected lunge.
The highlight for me this year and my photography career so far was to have my work displayed at the ZSL London Zoo awards back in September. I have not entered many competitions in the past but it was a great feeling to see my work blown up in front of thousands of people, fingers crossed this is a sign of bigger things to come! So overall a successful year. Still a huge amount to learn but certainly heading in the right direction. 2015 promises to build on the successes of this year and whilst focusing more on British wildlife, there are some fantastic overseas plans in the pipeline for 2015/16. Thank you everyone for their support and help this year, the feedback on Facebook has been awesome and to have such a great following is very motivating. Please keep returning to the website for the latest work in the coming year! Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!