Simon Roy gives the T.L.Haigh Lecture, Wild York

Simon Roy is a professional photographer based in Wetherby.  His nature photography has been widely published and has won many awards, including a commendation in the British Wildlife Awards, International Garden Photographer of the Year, and Bird Photographer of the Year competitions.  On the 27 October 2023 Simon traveled to Addingham to talk to the Ilkley Camera Club.

Simon Roy

Simon’s passion for wildlife began as a youngster when he spent many hours watching birds in the garden.  At university he studied art and design, and after working in the design industry for a while he was eventually able to connect his interest in nature with photography. 

His talk started with images from Wild York, a study of the wildlife that co-exists with the life and history of the city. One of his most successful images is of a Water Vole perched on a rock munching blackberries. This shot was a great example of Simon’s dedication to understanding the behaviors of the wildlife and creative problem solving.  

A Water vole Arvicola terrestris, standing up to reach overhanging brambles. York, UK, August

For the above image he built an underwater support for a small rock covered in moss – an ideal little island for the vole.  He said, “I like to approach a subject as a project. Preparation is the key, I try to work out how I am going to get the wildlife into a setting that will provide a good composition’.   

Simon gave many examples of his ingenuity including painting old fences to provide suitable backgrounds, filling an old boot with chopped hazelnuts and creating a special log pile. The log-pile was made out of Larch and he had to stain the freshly cut logs with an old tea bag to make them look older.  “I’ve been working with the RSPB and the Woodland Trust and I’m very committed to helping conserve and protect the environment.”  

A wild Bank vole Myodes glareolus, poking its head through a hole in an old walking boot. The dark background has been created using an upturned wheelbarrow. York, UK, March

Understanding the dietary interests of wildlife is a big part of ensuring a good shot, “chopped hazelnuts smell good, meal-worms attract Owls because they are very lively and bright yellow in colour.”

Simon does a lot of his photography around home and when his daughter said she wanted a pet he had to explain that a dog or a cat wouldn’t work.  Instead he bought some harvest mice and began to use them in setups at home and occasionally taking them on field trips. 


A stunning wild Red fox cub under the bluebells at the edge of mature woodland. Yorkshire, UK, May

Alison Tetley thanked Simon for his talk. She said, “we were expecting some excellent photographs and were not disappointed.  I particularly liked the stories behind the images which really brought them to life”.

A lovely little Wren Troglodytes troglodytes, singing from dead bracken in a meadow of Bluebells. Yorkshire, UK, May

If you would like to see more of Simon’s work or book onto one of his workshops please visit

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