An interview with Paula Blake
Many of the wonderful photographs on our website were taken by one of our members, Paula Blake. In this interesting interview she tells us a little about herself and how she captures these fantastic images.
What first got you interested in wildlife photography, how long have you been doing it?
I think it was seeing wonderful photos of birds in wildlife magazines that really sparked my interest some time ago. However, I only started making a serious attempt at bird photography in 2014.
How do you go about capturing such perfect shots?
I wouldn’t call my photos perfect! I consider myself a keen amateur and I am still learning. I venture out in search of photo opportunities as often as I can, usually in the Henfield area but sometimes further afield. I also have a pop up hide in my garden which is great for getting good shots of birds that visit my feeding station.
What equipment do you use?
I have several different DSLR cameras and multiple lenses, but I usually use either my Canon EOS 7D Mk ll with a Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM lens attached or my Nikon Coolpix P900, which is bridge camera with an 83 x wide optical zoom. The latter is much lighter and easier to carry and consequently very useful on the occasions that I walk around for hours searching for birds to photograph.
Do you have a favourite picture?
Whenever I get a really good photo of any bird, it tends to be my favourite until the next good shot that I take. If I manage even a reasonably good photo of a bird that is more often heard than seen, such as a Nightingale or Cetti’s Warbler, it gives me quite a sense of achievement.
What are your favourite locations/birds/wildlife?
Currently, it’s the Mill Stream opposite Woods Mill and the wetland area that lies between it and the Downslink. I love all birds and other wildlife, so it’s difficult to have favourites. However, I definitely have a soft spot for Owls, Whitethroats and Little Grebes. I also love butterflies, Hedgehogs and small furry creatures such as Dormice and Voles.
Any top-tips for the rest of us?
Familiarise yourself with the Countryside Code and Bird Watchers Fieldcraft; the first rule of which is to put the welfare of the birds first. I always go out dressed in camouflage clothing in order to blend in as much as possible with the environment because the last thing I want to do is to cause alarm or interfere with a bird’s normal behaviour. Always make a point of moving slowly and quietly. When you spot a bird you want to photograph, keep very still and raise the camera slowly. When on a shoreline or open ground with little cover, keep well down in order to reduce the chance of being seen. Because birds have a habit of flying away or disappearing back into bushes just as you press the shutter, bird photography does require a lot of patience, so don’t give up if at first you don’t succeed!
Can we buy your photographs anywhere?
I can supply 10 x 8 (£15) or 7 x 5 (£10) prints of any of my photographs. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Paula for allowing us to use your photographs, we look forward to sharing many more!