Love, Fear, Confusion

Two Arctic hares on the rocky hillside overlooking Blomsterbukten, eastern Greenland. This shot is important to me because of what happened before, and illustrates why wildlife photographers need to understand nature perhaps more than they need to understand photography. Arriving on the coast via Zodiac, we split into rough groups and walked up a shallow valley to reach the lake over the hill. One small group caught a glimpse of something white on the valley slope – it was September, so the Greenland coast was free of snow. A hare! In glorious white, quietly watching the scene. Most people know hares and rabbits are very skittish and will disappear in a flash, so we slowly got prepared to set up a photograph, no sudden movements, taking time to be quiet and unobtrusive. Except for one fellow traveller. Zoom lens up, he walked directly toward the hare, perhaps unaware of his pace as he tried to grab the shot. People who are familiar working with animals may empathise when I say I could ‘feel’ the danger zone around the hare, the circumference line where it would bolt if anything crossed into its territory. I winced as I saw the photographer cross

Meet Mr Crotchety Pants…

This is Mr Crotchety Pants, he lives around Lower Sabie in Kruger National Parks and he does not like me one bit! When I say he doesn’t like me – it’s not like he’s taken a slight dislike , he REALLY does not like me – to the extent that he almost ran us off the road. Here’s how I lived to tell the tale… It was ¬†a lovely afternoon – the sun was¬†beginning to lower and the¬†temperature¬†had become very pleasant. We set out from camp for a game drive and decided to take a nearby loop road to enjoy the last few hours of the day. Barely a few km down the road we saw a HUGE bull elephant standing beside this tree. Due to the low vegetation height we saw him in plenty time and parked a very respectful distance from him to see if he’d walk on. I was the driver that afternoon and really did not want to scare the mother-in-law too much by driving too close (she was in the front passenger seat beside me). As the¬†elephant¬†started to amble toward the road it became evident that we’d need to wait this out – as there

The Eyes Have It

I cannot¬†believe¬†that I¬†have¬†not yet blogged about the thing that first got me¬†into¬†photography… the detail you can see in the eyes of¬†animals. Way back when, armed with our first¬†digital¬†30D camera, I¬†became obsessed¬†with¬†the¬†quality of the camera and the¬†amount¬†of detail it would render. The one image that¬†firmly¬†lead me on the road to this¬†obsession¬†was this¬†image (above) taken by my husband,¬†Alistair¬†Knock¬† during a husky sledding holiday in Sweden. ¬†I loved the¬†clarity¬†of his¬†reflection¬†in the pupil of the¬†husky. It showed the relationship we had built up¬†with¬†the animal and how close it allowed us to get to him. This got me thinking – what¬†relationships¬†could I build up¬†with¬†other animals and how could I reflect this in photography? This spawned many years of work where I strove hard to spend time¬†with¬†my subjects, allowing them to be curious of me and for us to get close to each other. Below I showcase a few of my successful images. Hopefully more are yet to come.        

Close Encounters With HumanKind

Whilst staying¬†at feynan EcoLodge in Wadi Dana (Jordan) we took the opportunity to wander the valley floor. We amused ourselves for an entire afternoon, tracking musical songbirds in the dry trees of the once riverbed and locating crickets in the sparse and thorny undergrowth. It was hard work and we stopped after an hour or two to rest by a lonely boulder above the desert floor and surveyed the scenery around us. We‚Äôd been so busy looking for bugs and birdlife that we‚Äôd failed to see a young girl who‚Äôd been gradually approaching us, collecting the few dry twigs she could find for firewood. I didn‚Äôt hesitate to raise my hand and offer a friendly wave ‚Äď she did likewise and then continued about her business. Feeling brave, I decided to go and meet her, and Ali and I started to gather any twigs we could find, approaching her a wee while later with arms full of bundles of sticks. As we approached and held them out to her, she beamed with happiness and enthusiastically offered our gifts, thanking us over and over in Arabic. She gestured for us to follow her across the sands, and we did so, continuing