I grew up surrounded by open spaces and family members whose passion for nature was infectious. From the best spots for bird watching to identifying wild flowers, there would be somebody in the family available to teach me. In every respect, I was very fortunate.
As an adult, the passion for nature remains. I still feel the thrill of being in open spaces, out with my camera, the dogs, and the elements. Whether gazing upon ancient landscapes, or spotting wildlife, I will never grow tired of being out there. Where nature is powerful and unpredictable, I feel tranquil and calm.
Towards helping some of the local wildlife, I spent some time volunteering for a charity, Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre. The centre takes in wild animals with a view to caring for them before releasing them back into the wild. Around 3,000 animals in need are taken to the centre every year, ranging from baby mice to buzzards, and owls to otters. The series of photographs which follow were all taken at Oak and Furrows. I used a telephoto lens to capture the images, as staff and volunteers strive towards minimal contact with the residents. This approach gives the animals a better chance of surviving when they are released, as they will remain cautious of interacting with humans. Even around people who would wish them no harm, there are other hazards, such as machinery and family pets which could cause serious injury to wildlife. I hope that when our son is older, I will return to volunteer for the centre, taking with me a young nature enthusiast to help out.
I hope you enjoy the photographs. We really are privileged in the United Kingdom to have such diversity of wildlife and so many people who dedicate their time towards protecting it. A selection of the pictures were exhibited at a LiberationArts Festival in Bristol, February 2019.