It's easy to take the surroundings of where we live for granted. As a nature photographer, it's often tempting to travel to exotic places for elusive subjects. This year has obviously been a bit different from the norm! Whilst I realise I've been luckier than most to have had several overseas trips - from the southernmost islands of Japan at the start of 2020, to the Italian Apennines where I spent an unforgettable summer filming a family of bears - most of the images that you'll see among this year's favourites were taken right on my doorstep. That's the ultimate prize, to find a familiar animal and photograph it in a unique way, and I've enjoyed each window of opportunity that has been granted to do that.
In a photographically quiet year, there have been some special photo chances and even more special moments, and here are just a few favourites . . .
Grey Heron - London, UK
Probably my most photographed species this year is the Grey Heron. Many attendees on my Urban Wildlife workshops would agree how easy it is to spend hours by the riverside capturing its quirky elegance. Everything about the heron - from its snaky neck to its fancy head-dress - is photogenic. Here I wanted something different from the usual face-on portrait, something more suggestive, mysterious, seductive. I saw this moment as a study of texture and shape which would work best in black-and-white. It took several gusts of wind to get the feathers just the way I wanted.
Red Fox - London, UK
After a quiet autumn on the photography front, as I'd been busy filming on a hospital documentary, I paid a visit to the local Gothic cemetery. Having lived around the corner from it for 15 years without so much as looking in, I wish I'd gone sooner - as there was this very friendly fox, a well-known resident, strolling among the tombstones! Out of a few 'photo-shoots', this golden autumn morning with "Charlie" remains a favourite. It's been a rare treat to use my wide-angle lens with a winning combination of a beautiful animal, great light and interesting surroundings.