You don’t need a camera to enjoy yourself (although it can’t
do any harm to carry it!).
I have never been a fan of 'just walking', I know it's a great past time for many but
I like a reason to do most things and walking without one seems a waste of time
when I could be doing something else. Although as I wrote that my argument
slightly falls down there of course as that's also a reason to walk, to get away
from doing something else, anyway I digress. Now I'm fine with walking to a
destination with a goal in mind such as to enjoy a hearty breakfast, buy a pint of
Oatley Barista (vegan treasure trove for tea lovers), find a pot of gold at the end of
a rainbow or even viewing Machu Pichu but I need that carrot and discovering a
potential wildlife site is mine.
Being a nature lover and especially wildlife the task is always to find a source of photographic possibilities. I still travel to the parks and nature
reserves as I always have but to be honest I like minimal company and have become something of a 'normal' snob. There are plenty of paid for hides
and of course free hides but there is nothing like the thrill of finding your own site.
Therefore the only way is to don the boots and start looking. I now thoroughly relish a
'walk' following a new path, looking out for clues of who's passed this way before,
tracks, trails, holes, flattened grasses, hair, fur, faeces (don't get me started on
faeces!), smells, sounds, etc. Now I'm not pretending to be a great tracker or the next
Ray Mears or even Ray Winstone for that matter, in fact I am pretty poor but that's
immaterial as that's part of the fun, learning. I find myself losing hours following trails
left by I know not what and because it can be so engrossing you soon forget real life,
it's a great stress buster. I find myself looking for clues no matter where I am, car
parks, walks with the dog, supermarkets, friends gardens (they do know I'm there
mind), my garden (I told myself I was there), driving etc. It's also something to do with
your probable nature photography down time as it's the middle of the day when
the light is not particularly at its best.
When I am out and about specifically looking I will take a small shoulder bag
which may have inside, my mobile, mainly to take photos of locations,
discoveries, etc (not for
phone calls, the ringer is off!
I would also say that 95% of
the time there is no signal
anyway), small LED head
torch should I get well
engrossed or need a little
illumination down a hole,
binoculars, bottle of water
(insert flask if you prefer), snacks not because you need them just because I like food (now don’t
get me started on rusks). I also have a trail camera with me that if something should look
promising I can hook it up without having to travel all that way again. Trail cams are becoming
increasingly cheap, much better quality and they are great fun. It's always a thrill to upload your
videos and excitedly see what has set it off. You maybe after something specific but it's still great
to view anything that pops up, mice, rats, hedgehogs, rabbit, birds, fox and my ultimate favourite
if you are lucky, the badger. They aren't particularly usable from a quality point of view but that's
not the point, once you find something you are onto the next stage, finding a way to get your
shot but that's another story................Rob
All the above images are stills from trail cameras I have left in possible productive areas.
© Geraint Radford and Rob Cottle - Copying, displaying or redistribution of these images without written permission is prohibited