What Have I Learnt?
A few years back I decided to set myself a challenge to do something different than landscapes. I thought I could challenge myself and try animal portraits, not your usual pet portraits, that would have been easy but portraits of wild animals.
So I went along to my local zoo in Chester just to see how I would get along. It was then that I realised my love for big cats was greater then even I knew. By taking time to actually look at them, study them rather than standing by their enclosures going "here kitty kitty" as so many of the public do, do you get an insight to who they really are,
One thing was for certain from the outset, they do not pose for the camera and you sure as hell can't cajole them into doing so. You have to work with what you have, a majestic animal that lives by its own rules.
I found that the two things I needed the most turned out to be the two things I lacked the most, patience and luck. I had to learn patience and by trying to get the right image I did, not only in photography but in life in general. Luck though cannot be a learnt trait, that comes with patience and watching. You get to know the characters of the animals you photograph, you start to understand their traits and behaviour. No amount of "here kitty kitty" at the side of their enclosure is ever going to wake a sleeping big cat. Other cats in their environment will though so watch not only your subject but the others around them and any interaction that may take place.
I learnt that it was not an easy challenge I had set myself but I grew to find it was probably the most fulfilling and exhilarating one I would ever have.
My next goal? To see if I can photograph them in their natural environment, anyone want to buy me a world travel ticket ;)