The mountains to the sea. A talk by wildlife photographer Gary Jones

On Friday September 24 wildlife photographer Gary Jones gave a well received talk to Ilkley Camera Club on Zoom. Gary is a full time wildlife photographer and guide, based in North Wales not far from the coast and Snowdonia.  He’s also an accomplished mountaineer.

“I adore Snowdonia from the rugged mountains down to the beautiful coastline and I have a real passion for Scotland, in particular. The Cairngorms and the Western Isles, especially Mull.”

Although Gary enjoys photographing all wildlife subjects his passion is birds of prey, “Ospreys are my favourite bird. I spend a huge amount of time in the Spring and Summer photographing them.”

When not out with his camera he delivers workshops throughout many locations in the UK and abroad, and also Presentations to Camera clubs.

As a professional wildlife photographer Gary describes it as the best job in the world which gets him out watching wildlife.

“Photography has enabled me to record my experiences over the years.  It was all about being out watching the wildlife and the photography became a means to an end. First and foremost I love being outdoors.”

“What I most like about wildlife photography is the moment that you can’t anticipate, you have to be constantly watching for it, ready to welcome the unexpected.”

“It’s been a tough year for everyone.  I got absolutely nothing from the government for my business, everything came to a halt overnight. But what lockdown has taught me has been to appreciate the wildlife on my doorstep. During the lockdown I found a badger set ten minutes from my front door.”

“It’s all about the challenge and nothing is more challenging than sitting in a hide in Scotland at 4am in the morning.”

By the 1950’s there were no Ospreys in the UK but over the years they have made a remarkable comeback. Gary says they will be back from migration in March and April next year, but warned that you need a special license to go anywhere near an Osprey nest.

“I am my biggest critic, I look at where the photos can be improved and that’s what drives me on.”  “Always try and get down to your subjects level for a natural perspective”  

Gary recommended that if you want to practice bird photography, puffins are brilliant.  “I recommend Skomer Island off the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast. It’s an awesome place stuffed full of puffins”  For more about Skomer Island you can visit this link pembrokeshire-islands.co.uk/islands/skomer/

For other kinds of wildlife he says, “Badgers are best photographed early in the evening as they start pushing out. I just sprinkle  a few peanuts and hope it works. The deer rutting season is about now, they’ll have lost the velvet off their antlers”. 

If you want to see Gary’s amazing wildlife images you can visit his website on this link  gjwp.co.uk

The next meeting of Ilkley Camera Club is on Friday the 1st of October and will be judging for the annual digital competition,  Open Colour – A C M Duncan Trophy.  The judge will be Johnnie Rogers who’s an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society.

Ilkley Camera Club is currently meeting via Zoom on Friday evenings at 7.30pm. For more information visit the Club website at ilkleycameraclub.co.uk or their Facebook page, facebook.com/ilkleycameraclub

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