As an experienced wildlife photographer, I regularly give illustrated talks to camera clubs exploring various aspects of wildlife and general photography.

I try to make these talks as informative and practical as possible, often bringing along equipment and prints to demonstrate the techniques I use to take my photos. My aim is to impart knowledge and assist camera club members in their journey in photography, rather than just show a selection of wonderful pictures.

During my life I have been inspired and learnt from some amazing photographers and naturalists and enjoy passing on this experience. All my talks include detailed explanations using graphics and diagrams to explain the techniques I discuss. I firmly believe it’s not good enough just to say “do this” but rather to say “this is how you do this”. For all my talks I also leave behind a downloadable copy of all the information I present so that club members can work through it again at their leisure to remind them of the principles and techniques discussed and explained.

I am always adding new talks and presentations to my list and ‘retiring’ older ones. Currently, I am offering the following talks.

If you are interested in any of these talks please call me on 01536 373977 or 07983 427202, email me at bob@naturesphotos.co.uk or click the orange button (right) to submit your details.

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From the ordinary to the extraordinary part 1 – Beyond Auto Mode – Taking creative control of your camera

Modern cameras have powerful computer processors which can greatly assist you when taking photos. It is therefore very tempting to either set your camera on automatic, and allow the in-camera computers to do all the work calculating the exposure, sorting out focus and much more to assist you in managing a particular situation.

With all this computing power in the camera, do you ever wonder why some of your photos look too dark and some too light? Do you wonder why some are blurred but some taken a few frames later are not?

My aim for this talk is to show you that allowing your camera’s computer to make decisions for you isn’t always the best option. More importantly, you will be reassured that taking back control yourself isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. I do not advocate shooting completely in manual mode. You just need to take control of the ‘in camera’ computer, work with it and make it work for you.

Anyone can take absolutely superb photos, but the first step is leaving the auto mode setting on your camera behind and learning how even the basic controls, together with the inbuilt computer, can make for a very different photograph.

This talk was developed as part 1 of two talks entitled Smart Shooting. It can stand alone and, indeed, many clubs have heard it as such, or with part 2 it can be the first part of a pair of talks perhaps separated by 6 months or a year. This particular talk explores some of the more basic as well as more advanced ways in which we can control our camera to produce better and more creative shots. These start with the basics of getting off Auto and taking back control of our photography through to exploring the use of histograms and managing exposure where the camera’s in-built systems “get it wrong”.

The second talk – Smart Shooting Part 2 – “From the Ordinary to the Extra Ordinary” – builds on the ideas discussed in the first talk and extends to looking at how digital shooting differs from film. This is very important if we are to get the best from our digital cameras, even though the basic controls are the same. It especially looks at managing exposure to get sharper, cleaner, clearer and more noise-free pictures. It is more complex and will take experienced shooters forward in their journey in photography as well as challenge and stretch newer members who may have heard the first talk or had help in your club and be taking their first steps to take control of their cameras.

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From the ordinary to the extraordinary Part 2 – Smart Shooting

In 2017 as a result of requests from clubs I developed the first of a pair of talks, From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary Part 1 “Beyond Auto Mode – Taking creative control of your camera. This is now one of my most popular talks and the aim is to provide advice on how to take creative control of your camera working with the controls on your camera and the installed computer.

Following the success of this talk I was encouraged to develop another talk looking further at more advanced aspects. In particular how shooting digital differs from shooting film and what options we have. This talk entitled Smart-Shooting-part-3-dare-to-focus is the result.

This talk builds on the ideas discussed and explored in the earlier talk and extends to starting by looking at how digital shooting differs from film. This is very important and often overlooked as we assume digital cameras are just film cameras with a digital sensor instead of a film. We can and do continue to use our digital cameras (mirrored or mirrorless) in the same way as we did our film cameras, however even though the basic controls are the same, if we are to get the best from them, we need to understand this fundamental difference more clearly. Just as photographers like Ansel Adams encouraged us to expose film in particular ways to get the best from it we need to understand how digital cameras can help us to manage exposure to get sharper, cleaner, clearer and more noise free pictures.

Whilst some of the techniques and concepts are more necessarily complex and quite advanced, just like the previous talk, I present them using visual aids to make them accessible whatever your level as a photographer. It’s aim is to take experienced shooters forward in their journey in photography as well challenge and stretch newer members who may have heard the first talk or had help in your club and be taking their first steps to take control of their cameras.

If you want to take your photography to the next level this is the talk for you.

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From the Ordinary to the Extra Ordinary Part 3 – Dare to Focus

In 2017 as a result of requests from clubs I started to develop a series of talks which would be entitled from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary. My aim for this series is to help photographers learn the skills to shoot smarter and extend their photography to the next level by taking back control of their camera and gaining from the massive investments we are all making these days in our photography. The first of the series, Smart Shooter Part 1 “Beyond Auto Mode – Taking creative control of your camera, is now one of my most popular talks and aims to provide advice on how to take creative control of your camera working with the controls on your camera and the installed computer.

Following the success of this talk I have developed other talks which build on this and look further at more advanced aspects of photography all aimed at helping you to shoot smarter. Smart Shooting Part 2 – “From the ordinary to the extraordinary” looks at how shooting digital differs from shooting film and what options we have as a result.

This talk, Smart Shooting Part 3 – “Dare to Focus”, looks particularly at the often-confusing area of autofocus and how to get the best out of this to achieve tack sharp photos from your camera. It is based on my 50 years’ experience as a wildlife photographer, but the lessons are equally appropriate to all aspects of photography.

We are currently bombarded with incredible software to correct photos in post but one area where this is not and never will be possible is focus, if a photo is out of focus it simply can’t be corrected. Autofocus systems for slide projectors were invented in 1932 but didn’t appear on main stream cameras until 1978 but become mainstream until 1985 with the launch of the EOS series of cameras from Canon. These cameras were the first with electronic lenses and inbuilt autofocus and Nikon did the same in 1992. Cameras with integrated autofocus are thus a fairly new development but have soon become massively important for wildlife and fast action photography in particular. This development has however been far slower than certainly we are led to expect from the manufacturers. The result is that the hype has led us to believe that all focusing problems have now been solved. However on the workshops and safaris I run I find this is the area where people struggle the most. Reality can’t match the hype especially when we hear about the supposed wonders of new mirrorless autofocus systems. The poor photographer is thus left to believe it is their lack of experience or even they’re inability to invest in the very latest technology that is the problem.

As with so many aspects of photography, when the limitations are understood it’s not anywhere near as complex as it might seem. Photographs that are not sharp are still not acceptable but neither have we yet developed a true auto focus system that will do it all for you. My aim with this talk is not to confuse further by explaining the complex technical aspects but to explore the amazing technology and how you might apply this to produce consistently sharper images.

Whilst some of the techniques and concepts are more necessarily complex and quite advanced, as with all the talks in this series, I present them using visual aids to make them accessible whatever your level as a photographer. It’s aim is to take experienced shooters forward in their journey in photography as well challenge and stretch those just starting out and support them in their exciting journey to take control of their cameras.

If you want to take your photography to the next level and are confused with the hype around auto focus this is the talk for you.

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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have shared experiences and worked with some very competent naturalists and photographers. They have collectively helped me and taken me on my exciting journey of exploration. Through this talk I share my experiences, explore the lessons I have learnt, the mistakes I have made and the options available to the aspiring wildlife photographer. I pay particular attention to the opportunities provided by modern digital cameras and equipment but also but also consider the importance of good field craft and observation.   

I illustrate the talk with my own photos taken both in the UK and in East Africa and seek to demonstrate, wherever possible, the techniques and skills I used. I bring along examples of the equipment and ‘tools’ I have come to rely on over the years. These are the simple tools that for me make the difference between a ‘snap shot’ and that the award winning photo.

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Macro Photography

Macro work is a fascinating field of photography which can however seem very baffling and very expensive ! My aim in this talk is to try and dispel both of these myths and to show just how easy and fun it can be.

As a predominantly wildlife photographer macro quite simply enables me to get ‘up close and personal’ to the natural world. In this talk I explore the options available to the amateur photographer who wishes to experiment with macro as well as share some of my own photos. The examples I use will largely be taken from the natural world but the techniques carry over to any other subject matter. I cover very basic, hybrid camera options but spend most of the time looking at the options available to SLR owners including some of the possibilities brought about by very advanced lenses and specialist software. 

This is a very practical talk and I demonstrate many of the techniques I describe and bring along a great deal of macro equipment to demonstrate and discuss. Lighting macro shots is always a problem so I spend some time exploring options. I also discuss and demonstrate techniques of particular value to macro photographers such as focus stacking.

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A Taste of Africa

As the subject of countless TV wildlife documentaries Africa needs little introduction. It is a land of the diverse wildlife, big game, big cats, huge landscapes, great people and is high on many photographers’ wish lists. It is a land of adventure and wide open spaces. The cradle of mankind, part of the old world but also a shiny new one just waiting to be explored.

I was fortunate enough to live in East Africa as a boy in the late 50’s and to study large carnivores there in the late 70’s. The region and its wildlife have always held a fascination for me and I have run safaris there ever since. Photographing African Wildlife in its natural surroundings has absolutely no equal. I now run regular guided trips to many parts of East Africa. Through my photos and video, I will give you a taste of some of the wildlife you will see if you visit on an organised safari. As a professional zoologist I will also give you a further appreciation of the wildlife itself. Africa with its unspoilt wilderness, stunning landscapes and amazing sunsets makes it truly a Photographer’s Paradise – we will explore it together.

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Wild Lens

Wildlife photography is an area of growing interest and popularity but remains one unnecessarily shrouded in mystery.

As a professional photographer, teacher and naturalist I have been shooting for over 50 years and as a professionally qualified zoologist I studied large carnivores in Africa and in 1977. I obtained a fellowship with the Royal Photographic Society with a piece of work on Macro.

I have been fortunate to have shared experiences and worked with some of the very best naturalists and photographers who have enormously helped and challenged me and taken me on my exciting journey of exploration. Having gained so much from these opportunities I consider it an absolute privilege to share with others the lessons I have learnt and experiences I have gained.

In this talk I will celebrate wildlife by using some of the images that can be taken on many of the workshops and safaris I run for amateur photographers. Though these give you an insight into my own photographic work and share with you my enthusiasm for wildlife and photography.

We will briefly look at some of the work of the very early pioneers some of whom I have had the good fortune to work with. We will also look at some of the challenges wildlife photographers face and I will try to dispel some of the myths surrounding what is and what is not valid wildlife photography.

Using my own work in the UK and Africa I will explore options that are achievable for the enthusiastic wildlife photographer some of which don’t require sitting in a hide for hours on end.

If you are a keen photographer interested in wildlife this talk is certainly for you. I will aim to cover a wide range of topics and talk through options for your own wildlife photography. It isn’t meant to be a technical talk about cameras and lenses but rather what I and you can achieve. I will share my own experience and try to dispel some of the myths and confusion that often surrounds this fascinating and rewarding subject.

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