A happy new year and hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and 2016 will be as good as it can be. With the unseasonable temperatures around it really hasn’t felt like winter this year. Flowers blooming, t-shirts worn in December it really feels very strange and I feel for nature at the moment and the bigger issue of global warning and everything that comes with that.
For the third year in a row I was invited to Nottingham University to talk to the students their on a masters course in photography. I have really enjoyed the last two years doing this and to inspire, and light someone’s passion through my own work is something I love to do. Your photograph starts in your heart and is projected through your eye is what I told the students.
The talk at Nottingham University about my work, the industry and much more to the next generation of photographers went really well. It was really nice to catch up with the other speakers there I have met on previous years all well respected in their own fields of photography. The image above was taken during the talk and the following images below are from previous years.
I have never had a camera lesson or learnt in a classroom environment and that’s something I pressed home that don’t get to hung up on settings/books and gear, it’s all about knowledge that you cant buy, cheat or make up where you have to learn and know your stuff when it comes to wildlife and behavior the photography bit is easy to learn.
I always enjoy these talks as you can have a real impact on how people think and work once they here you talk . Nothing stops talent and passion twinned with determination though and anything’s possible, I told them all. Be true to your work and yourself. Let your peers/public know how you took the shot and what skills you employed and then they can judge your work and your skills while being transported to that moment you capture.
Thank you to the team at Nottingham University for inviting me once more, you all do an amazing job their for the students. To book a talk or for more information please see the following link, many thanks.
A short film about the Spotlight Sumatra exhibition in London which I’m part of can be seen below, covering the opening ceremony. Those involved talk about their own thoughts about this beautiful island and the plight of those crucially endangered specie of wildlife that live there. It’s something that I’m very passionate about and have been to Sumatra twice in as many years on my self-funded trips to capture with my camera the beauty and the not so beautiful things that are happening there.
SOS have some of the fantastic Spotlight Sumatra panel photographs for sale once the exhibition is finished at the end of May 2014. If you’d like to buy a piece of history at the same time help the cause to save Sumatra and its wildlife then click here to see all the details.
I hope all those that have visited so far have really enjoyed the displays and to those visiting between now and the end you’re in for a visual treat, many thanks for all the support for SOS and those other people and Chartres involved.
Here is another slideshow I did once I came back from Sumatra. It shows me trekking through the jungles of Sumatra on the trail of the Sumatran orangutans, a magical time, tough but magical enjoy.
I was recently asked to do a talk/questions and answer session at Nottingham University for the students on the Biological Photography & Imaging MSc, BSc course, School of Life Sciences. It’s great to be asked back once more after last year’s talk which I really enjoyed. Helping others to “see” wildlife and use the medium of photography to capture what you see in an ethical, respectful was my message.
I was joined by other photographers where everyone talked about their own careers, where they started, their futures and what best advice we can give to the next generation of photographers.
It tops off a wonderful year talk wise for me and my wildlife photography, I have had the honor of presenting two talks at different times in the Natural History Museum in London as part of their Genesis program of talks alongside the amazing exhibition of Sebastiao Salgado. I love going through my work and how and where it begin showing the foundation to my wildlife photography today.
I have a designated page here on the talks I offer and booking details etc. Some of the talks I do are listed if you want to no the many others I do then just send me an email,many thanks.
I was asked by high street giants Currys &PC World to become a judge on their six week photo challenge recently. The competition encouraged everyone who entered to put their skills to the test in a series of photography challenges. It was wonderful to be asked to be a judge and to set one of the tasks which I did. I choose Composition as I feel this is a real important element to any photograph. Click here to see the task I set.
I’m pleased to announce here are the winners from each of the categories from the recent Currys/PC World six week photo challenge. Well done to all that entered. With so many incredible entries to choose from, it was tough picking.
This is the winning image from the challenge I set by Sean Lowe from Pembrokeshire. The image was called – ‘ArachnidWalk’ and was takenusing a Nikon D90, 90mm 2.8 1:1 Macro.
“I chose this image as my winner because I thought the photographer showed a real understanding of composition within this image. Spiders by their very nature are often found once disturbed, hidden away in dark, dank places only really visible once you come across them or through the loud screams of someone seeing them all of a suddenly.
This image brings their beauty to the forefront and lets you see just how stunning up close they are at the same time placing the Spider among its natural habitat. I loved the lighting and the shaded areas which adds a great deal to the image. I love the space given to the image by placing the subject over to the right with the Spider slightly angled inward.
The image is sharp, well-composed and for me was the winner from a brilliant standard so well done to all those that entered there were several all competing in my mind for the winners spot but I went with this image, thank you.” –Craig Jones
Well done to everyone that entered the standard was very high and all the winners can be seen on Currys/PC World Blog here
A good Photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. Four years ago today my website went live and I turned my childhood hobby into my profession. I don’t see this as work but a way of life for me. My first blog post was about one of my images Family Life being commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards- BWPA. It was the very first time I had entered any image into any form of competition and in the year that my website had launched it was a nice moment for me.
When I first started out I had no clue really how to work a computer, I had no knowledge of working Digital cameras, no formal photography training or background, I had no business or marketing plan, no money and had to borrow and beg off credit cards. I brought a prime lens with what money I had saved from working on the mobile cranes and rope access work I did for a living before photography. I learned how to work my camera and get the best from it in a way that works on the ground. I learned how to process images really getting the image right in camera rather than changing it in Photoshop.
I knew I had alot of knowledge of wildlife, I had great skills in fieldcraft and approaching animals and my heart was always among nature. I set up a few workshops that took clients to places I had visited since I was a kid to see and photograph some of my favorite wildlife and so my business started and grew. I was one of the first to start One to Ones with clients, offering a real encounter with wildlife at the same time learning key skills to improve my clients own wildlife photography. I still run these and my other trips very successfully today.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you for the support of my clients, editors, and people over the years that I have had the pleasure of working alongside. I am launching a photo competition today where the prize is a One to One with myself in the UK. With my ethics as the backdrop to this competition I want those that choose to enter to have captured a truly wild moment. No props, no perches, no animals made to do something in return for food. I just want a simple image taken by the photographer who used his/her own skills and knowledge.
During those four years I have tried and will continue too be as real with my images as possible. Capturing truly wild moments using my own skills rather than rely on bringing the subject to you through bait, food or using captive animals. In an age where you can almost buy any set-up image you want, choosing your perch or prop, setting the background. Where the animal is made to jump, fly,dive and stand on two legs and so forth in return for food and getting the paying guest his or her chosen image.
My wildlife photography was born out a sheer love and passion for nature from a young age. From those early days I spent so much time being at one with nature, close to and watching, hidden from view on the off chance I would see a certain animal. Learning to get close to wildlife without disturbing the life of the animal, almost forgetting the outside world and becoming part of the animal I was getting close to or watching. By doing this I could understand the animal better, gaining many skills by observing their behaviors at the same time giving the subject complete respect which allowed me a private window into their personal and private lives.
My images represent an event that occurred in the wild something that I witnessed and recorded with my camera. My skill lies in interpreting and presenting this in a way that invokes beauty, mood and emotion with each moment captured. Respect for wildlife has to be the first thing in any image obtained, love nature and she will give up her secrets to you.
The result is real images where the subject is completely relaxed by your presence. At the same time the photographer will learn so much more about the subject and the environment in which the subject lives. You have to learn about your subject and fieldcraft to really embrace the world of wildlife I feel and in turn wildlife photography.
Wildlife photography for me is capturing a moment in the wild, I make no bones about disliking set up images, captive images or where the animal is made to do something in return for a reward, this is image making not true wildlife photography where the subject becomes a commodity in order to facilitate those paying guests. Where the photographer has given no real explanation to how and what was behind the image.
The photographer has a duty of care not only to the wildlife but also to the general public who view your work. And in my eyes if you do this for a living and you work in this manner than you should have the integrity to tell those that judge you how you got the image and what skills you used in the pursuit of such an image. Wildlife is not a commodity in which you use to make money from one minute then try and use it as a vehicle to promote your own interests and cause the next.
What I’ve always tired to offer with my workshops here in the UK and abroad is an experience, a true moment in nature where you have learned how to work the land, learned abit about the subject and other skills. The hope is you go home afterwards and apply these skills learned and apply them to your own photography, this is my aim and what’s behind my workshops/trips.
Those clients that have spent time with me really benefit from this approach and learn much more in my eyes. Many have wrote their own thoughts on my Testimonials page which can be seen here.
So with all this in mind I have launched my competition today and its meant to empower those that enter to work in a more ethical way, love wildlife first and foremost and the rest will fall into place I believe. Its open to anyone and by showing a total understanding of your craft and the ethics behind the image you send in. I will look forward to seeing all these images and the winner will learn more of what they have already demonstrated with their winning image.
The competition will run from the 1st October until the 21st October. The winners will be announced by Friday 25th October. You don’t have to have any fancy camera gear, or be a pro or think you’re not good enough if you think you have a nice shot your proud of and its a truly wild moment then enter. The prize is the One to One day with me. Where I will show you everything I know, how I work and it will be fun at the same time very rewarding in terms of knowledge shared and fieldcraft learned.
Please email/message your image at 600 x 600 and 72dpi to my Craig Jones Wildlife Photography facebook page here.
The rules are very simple:-
1. Anyone, any standard may enter the competition.
2. Only one entry per person.
3. The competition is open only to UK residents.
4. Your image must be completely wild were nothing has been changed by the hand of man.
5. The competition will run from October 1st until Monday 21st October.
6. The winner will be announced by Friday 25th October.
I would then like a brief explanation of the story behind the image as I am very strong on this and again it tells the full story to those not lucky enough to have been there when the image was taken.
With another year almost over this brings my 2012 photo tour programme to a close. What a year it has been, from the beaches of Norfolk to the heat of the Indian forests of Ranthambhore in search of the majestic Bengal Tigers and the amazing and unique island of Madagascar and its famous Lemurs, to breaching Humpback Whales in the Indian Ocean. Thank you to all of my valued guests for your custom and company and I hope you’ve had a wonderful time on my trips as well as learning more than you knew at the start of your adventure.
My 2013 tours are filling fast, with new destinations added along with my popular and favourite destinations. The emphasis of my tours is to maximize wildlife watching and photography options for everyone while at the same time enjoying and learning more about the habitat and the wildlife that coexists alongside our target species.
I’d be delighted if you’d join me next year or in the future to witness the amazing wildlife my trips offer, while learning more about the subject and photography. The locations chosen for all of my tours offer unrivalled photographic opportunities. The pace of each trip is such that there is ample time to indulge in all that is on offer and maximise the photographic potential of each location.
Here you can read just a few of the reasons why lots of other photographers have chosen to join me.
In February 2013 I will start the year with my amazing trip to the Falklands which is now fully booked. For details of my 2014 trip please click here for more information.
In April you can catch the season moving from winter into spring and see the wildlife of the Norfolk coast come alive on my Early Spring in Norfolk trip with 2 places remaining. Click here for more information and booking form.
Then in the middle of April I travel to the wonderful Dutch island of Texel for my Texel photo tour run alongside friend and fellow wildlife photographer Jeroen Stel who lives in Holland. It’s a haven and paradise for thousands of waders and waterfowl during the spring/summer months where they choose this picturesque island to play out their courtship routines and breed, feeding their young all quite close to you, presenting some of the best opportunities to photograph Avocets, Spoonbills, Caspian, Black Terns, Oystercatchers, Kentish Plovers, and many more waders. Click here to see this photo tour.
Then I round April off and follow through to May with my second trip and head to Ranthambhore for my Tigers of India tour. The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is the single largest expanse of dry-deciduous forest left intact in India. It is one of the best places in India to see these amazing animals in the wild. My first trip is fully booked and I have a couple of places left on my second trip. For details please click here. If you would like to buy one of my limited edition Tiger prints that help a charity I support then please click here to be taken to 21 Century Tigers website.
The month of June finds me travelling north to two amazing places for wildlife. Firstly my ever popular trip to the Isle of Mull which lies on the west coast of Scotland. It has a breathtaking coastline of 300 miles and the climate is a mixture of rain and sunshine. The island is a wonderful place to see Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, Otters, Porpoises and a whole host of Hebridean Wildlife. Come and join me as I take you around this beautiful island on this amazing 6 day/5 night trip. I still have places available so click on this link to see the details.
Later on in June I have a new photo tour-Stunning Shetland, where we will spend a whole week on this wildlife packed island. I will be working with my friend who lives on the island to deliver you some of the best animal and birdlife in the UK. I only have two places left so for more information please click here.
I start the month of July off with a brand new trip to the wild forest of Finland. You will get the opportunity to photograph wild Brown Bears, Wolves and the very unique Wolverine all from purpose built professional hides perfectly designed for photographers. These shy, iconic predators will go about their business around you, giving you a unique insight unto their lives at the same time giving you some if not the best opportunities to photograph these rare and elusive predators. I have a couple of places free so for more information or to book click here.
Another brand new photo tour for 2013 is my Jaguars of Brazil trip. Join me on this amazing 8 day trip in August to the Pantanal in Brazil to see the beautiful Jaguar in its wetland and woodland habitat. Wildlife in the Pantanal includes Anteaters, Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Caimans, Anacondas, Ocelots and Capybara, along with a host of colourful and exotic birds. I have places free on this trip at present so for more information or to book please click here.
In September I am planning a 9 day trip to Sumatra which hopefully will be completed and ready for you to view very soon. Then in the month of October it’s my Madagascar photo tour. After this year’s successful trip to this amazing island I am doing another 11 day trip photographing the very unique wildlife this island has to offer. For more information click here.
I then finish the year off with my Winter Waders in Norfolk trip. This place is famous for its winter flocks of Geese, Wildfowl and Waders who begin to gather here to make their home during our winter months. I have places free at the moment so for more information please click here.
In between all of these trips I also offer workshops to Skomer to photograph the Puffins, Mountain Hares, Spring Tides & Barn Owls. I also run workshops for Dippers, Red Grouse and Water voles which are still as popular as ever, all these worshops can be viewed here. I take clients to places I have visited since my early teens so they are very personal to me and make great one day workshops photographing these subjects as they go about their lives in the wild.
Lastly, my One to Ones, which are still very popular. The list of places throughout the year and more information can be seen by clicking on this link. Many thanks to all of the wonderful people that I’ve met this year and I look forward to meeting new and existing clients in 2013.
Just before I go if your looking for a wildlife calender for 2013 that helps and supports the amazing work of the wildlife trusts then click here to purchase this amazing calendar. I am proud to say that my Otter image has been chosen as the front cover and also January image of the month.
I have just had two amazing days presenting my talks from my recent trip to Sumatra alongside Panut the founder of OIC from Sumatra. A big thank you to everyone that attended the Spotlight Sumatra talks in the Natural History Museum, London and Chester Zoo. I’ve only been back from Sumatra a few weeks and my trip is still so raw, with every image I process and publish taking me back there. I had amazing access over the two weeks and the images formed the basis of my talks. To speak at two such amazing and well respected places was a great honour for me.
I’ve made many visits to both places since childhood, Chester Zoo is an hour away from where I live and has an amazing successful breeding programme with all its animals but more so the very rare wildlife entrusted into its keeping. Sumatran animals are doing so well at the zoo. The Sumatran Tiger and the Sumatran Orangutans all giving birth to babies there. I met some amazing, passionate people during our time there all doing amazing work. The zoo does so much for wildlife conservation around the world. I have visited many places being a wildlife photographer from Madagascar to India and very often the locals in the countries I visit always mention Chester Zoo somewhere in our talks, that just shows you how respected this place is.
Helen Director of SOS, Panut and I had a guided tour of the zoo by vet Steve Unwin. I had sat in on a meeting he’d being having earlier with Panut and Helen and other important staff from the zoo. I was amazed at his knowledge and passion for the Orangutans. His no-nonsense approach really struck a chord with me and afterwards I told him. Time is running out for many animals throughout the world, but the problem is so acute now for the Sumatran Orangutan that everybody using all their knowledge and expertise needs to come together to help save this first great ape that may become extinct should current trends of de-forestation in Sumatra be allowed to continue. These words were echoed throughout Steve’s conversions.
During our visit we witnessed the new baby Sumatran Orangutan that was born there last week. His proud mum, Emma who was showing off here new baby boy to the public. Holding the baby so close reminded me of their wild counterparts in Sumatra. I have never witnessed such a close bond between mum and baby outside of humans during those encounters I saw in Sumatra and the same bond was clear to see here in Chester Zoo. Click here to read this amazing news.
Both talks were full houses and again I cannot thank everyone enough for attending and showing their support for the problems facing the Orangutans and their rainforest habitat. I met some wonderful, lovely people during those two days. I met some of the Sumatran Orangutan Society trustees who were all very nice, thank you all for helping Helen and SOS each of you. Thank you to the guys at the Natural History Museum for all your help in setting up the talks and slideshow. Special thanks to our host who helped Panut and me through it all, Ana Rita and kind lady.
Thank you to everyone from Chester Zoo for caring so much about the wildlife within your zoo and around the world. We had two lovely ladies helping us through the talks, comparing and doing the raffle. So a massive thanks you to Penny and Andrea for your help. Both have worked for many years at the zoo doing wonderful work, I hope we can see you all again in the future doing something along the same lines.
Lastly a huge thank you to everyone who attended both talks, what’s happening in Sumatra cannot go on any longer unchecked. With firm and loyal support small things will lead to change on the ground there and in turn a safer world for the Orangutans. I’d like to finish this blog with one of the presentations I showed. Just processing these images brought every emotion I went through in Sumatra flooding back to me. It’s a mixture of what I saw during my time there. It upsets me just watching this clip such was the effect this place and trip had on me. For best results watch in HD on YouTube full screen here.
The Spotlight Sumatra talks have been hugely successful already, raising money for SOS from prints, and many other items. Showing through powerful presentations what is happening out there. If you are a school. Trust, Zoo, Camera Club or anything like that who would like to host this series of talks then please get in touch with Helen Buckland, UK Director SOS here. Alternative contact me through email here many thanks.