A changing life....
14th September 2015

Lately I have been working hard on learning new video skills, both shooting with the 7D2 and also editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. It's a steep learning curve and I have to say that I much prefer shooting stills as the AF forgives my laziness ( which movies don't!) but it's something that I need to become increasingly au fait with for my work. I've shot with HD video cameras and DSLRs and I must say that I prefer the cinematic look and feel of the dslr output, especially with a long lens attached. The downside is the difficulty in focussing using the camera's LCD so I'm gonna invest this week in the Atomos Shogun, a nifty monitor / hard drive / focussing aid, which will hopefully allow me to do more than take statics. I have been shooting quite a few movie segments for FotoBuzz and have begun to learn how to cut and sequence clips together and to manage audio, I will publish a few on here during the coming months. Whilst a learning curve the software makes it fun and there is plenty of online help when you get stuck, I won't win any oscars for my editing but I am enjoying it.

This addition to my skill set I see as a necessity since video is here to stay and will become an increasing part of my world. For the modern professional wildlife photographer life is now about so much more than just shooting images, I do wish I was a professional in the 1970's and 80's when shooting images was a lot more central to our lives. I've always maintained that to keep my self esteem and my public credibility I need to keep on producing and selling great work, and that 50% of my income must come directly from my picture sales. In the economic climate that we are in this has been tough, but it's been a good month with two images used on postage stamps, a few greetings card licenses and an image of one of my cheetahs appeared on a limited edition silk tie. A diverse range of sales I must admit but that is a good thing as I could not survive through editorial sales alone. But of course the modern day professional wildlife photographer cannot rely on stock sales alone, we must have many strings to our bows to pay the taxman. As the great Galen Rowell once said, professional photographers exist to pay the taxman, how right he was!

Of course one aspect of modern day wildlife photography that has really grown is the drive to post on social media. Some photographers are total slaves to it, shooting only it seems to post and get some comments. I have a love hate relationship with social media, as it always seems to encourage nasty little human beings to vent their petty jealousies and insecurities against those that are successful. Facebook also seems now to actively block anything that is of any kind of a sales nature unless you pay, at least Twitter is seemingly still open on that front. So I dabble in social media but post mostly on our FotoBuzz forums as they are populated by decent, nice photographers that simply want good advice and have the desire to learn.  Yes it's unfair of course to those equally decent people out there on social media, but unfortunately there are always a few that spoil it for the others. They are always of the same ilk too, men always, mid forties or later, amateur wildlife photographers with big lenses and a ridiculously competitive mentality. I, together with many of my pro colleagues I talk to, have become increasingly disillusioned with the whole social media world of wildlife photography as it seems to breed such competitiveness and downright nastiness. Hardly a day goes by without someone making a nasty comment on my social media, this week it was the turn of AJ to receive some abuse from one of the idiots, what drives these people? I have never understood what that is all about. Our wonderful genre of photography is perhaps one of the most relaxing, one of the most peaceful and it should be the friendliest. But unfortunately it seems to be the opposite and I cannot fathom why, since we are all in it together pitting our wits against something that doesn't wanna be photographed! Why can't we just be decent to each other, why the posturing, name calling and bragging? Sometimes I stand amoungst a group of photographers on the Welsh hills photographing the military jets flying underneath us. I love the photography but I also love the friendliness too, everyone is polite and just gets on with each other. Even the most accomplished photographer takes the time to help the novice (which I was and still am). AJ and I go to great lengths to help everyone we can, and we will continue to do so no matter what, I just wish that the knockers would put as much energy into improving their photography as they do attacking people on social media. I don't see the abuse anymore as I have others that instantly block these people before I do, but some of my other colleagues really cop it big time and I'd really love for all this to end. Please.

Anyway that's my totally uninteresting and useless insight into the world of wildlife photography and a rant too since I am, now officially an old git!!

Latest work

I have been working hard over the past month on a few local projects here in the UK. I always tell my FotoBuzz community that it is better to work hard on just a few projects rather than trying to photograph everything. In my view it makes you a better photographer and your images are much better too because you understand the behaviour of your subject to a much more useful degree. I have one FotoBuzzer called Tal for example who specialises in tigers.  He has worked with two tigers in the UK since they were very young and he gets superb images of them, really superb, that he posts for all to enjoy. It's clear that to him it's more than just a picture, he has a relationship with his tigers and that means more to him than any photography. BUT it shows clearly in his photography too. 

I have very much always adopted this mantra and worked hard on favourite subjects, ignoring all else around me. Right now I am working on Great Crested Grebes. I have always enjoyed working with them as they provide such a challenge to me, and over the years have picked up many great sites around the UK that offer different angles and opportunities. But I have never really spent time getting to know their habits and really working solely on them. This image below, taken several years ago, is my best selling Grebe shot, but I have always hated the dull light of it....

These days my photography has changed a lot and I look back at my old collections and sometimes makes a decision to update them with a more modern view. That's something that I am doing right now with Grebes on some private fishing lakes and I am loving it. I'm not going to show a big collection here now as they are being used for something that needs the element of surprise (more later), but for now here's one I took quite recently of the "I have got a bigger bit of weed than you have" dance!

FotoBuzz FotoMission 6

This month's FotoMission was on "patterns" and we had the best entry to date from all of our FotoBuzzers, their creative juices really flowed and the work was really superb. It has been a wonderful experience to see how photographers have evolved on their journeys and how AJ and I have helped them on their way, there is no greater proof of this than the consistency of entries for the FotoMission. Anyway when AJ is back from hosting the live TV at the Photography Show, he will publish the Spotlight page showing all the winners, which everyone can view member or not. But until then here is the winner, a very atmospheric shot by Monika Mansell called Elements at Talisker Beach, simply superb and it fitted the brief perfectly. Well done to all the members who entered, the next FotoMission will have a prize and it's being finalised now so if you fancy taking part then click here to see FotoBuzz membership options....

Andy Rouse Gorilla Treks - 3 places left

Wanna come on a four day trek to see the amazing mountain gorillas of Rwanda? Recently I announced my 2016 Gorilla safaris and Tour 1 is now completely sold out with just 3 places remaining on tour 2. 

This will be a wonderful chance to see these great apes at the best time of the year, with someone (me!) that is passionate about their conservation and just loves being around them. They are simply awesome!!!

Click here to see the full brochure and get in touch if you wanna join us for this great adventure.

FotoBuzz Conference next weekend

Well it's finally here and next weekend is our first FotoBuzz Conference. When we announced it there were many who thought, and some who hoped, it would not succeed. Well I can tell you that as of today we have 85 delegates registered, more than the 75 we had hoped for. It's a great result and all of the team are now working hard to make the day a great success. 

The agenda will be packed, with the top pros in wildlife, landscape, macro, portraiture, creative and military photography being there to entertain you. There will also be a community session and the FotoBuzz Awards, plus an on stage critique of competition entries with decent prizes. We are gonna feed you too!

So if you fancy a fun day out in the company of like minded people, where you will be inspired to use your camera in more creative ways, plus pick up some killer tips along the way too It's on Saturday March 28th and we have a special package which includes the conference and 6 months full membership at a discounted rate of £135 so click here to see the full itinerary, details of all presenters and to make your booking. See you there!!!

Full membership gives you access to all of our educational online content (this month will see 7 new pieces including LightRoom tutorials, a Birds in Flight Masterclass plus a Filter 101) plus the Tech and Critique Lounges, access to all of our Meetups and entry into the FotoMission. All in the company of decent people. Perfect!

That's it

That's all until next time. I have a lot of projects going on in the background that will be announced in the next few months so hopefully the next BLOG will be full of some interesting stuff. Until then happy shooting, keep cheering for / laughing at West Ham and please be nice to each other!


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