Scottish Nature Photography – Taking Stock
Laurie Campbell is one of Scotland’s leading natural history photographers, developing an interest in natural history at an early age. He is the author of many books, and is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photography Magazine. A self taught naturalist, after leaving school, his 1st job was working at Edinburgh Zoo. He began photographing wildlife in the early seventies, and later studied photography at Napier University in Edinburgh. Although based in the Borders, he almost exclusively works in Scotland. Believing you should know your home patch and behaviour of individual animal breeds. Although you may think you know an area, there’s always new things to find and discover. He’s always trying to think of new ways to photograph subjects, such as taking abstract images of frequently photographed subjects. Pictures that give that extra lift, rather than what’s been done before, is now the challenge. For him the images you don’t get, are the ones that leave you motivated to get next time. He’s a big believer in hides either pop up ones or making his own where he will reside from periods of days to weeks on end. He’s not a big fan of what he refers to as pay and display hides where everybody will get the same images, but does appreciate that sometimes it’s necessary. With his own hides, he will go in at night, so as not to disturb whichever animal he’s wanting to photograph. When he was photographing Eagles, he dragged a dead deer (road kill) up the hill, so as to ‘bait’ the birds and to photograph them in the best possible spot from his hide. In some cases such as following Badgers, he sat in the same spot and wore the same clothes, so the Badgers got used to him. He goes to Farne Islands every year and prefers to stay in one area and work with just handful of birds. As well as using tripods, he’s also a big fan of bean bags anything to keep the camera still, to get the best image possible.
He showed us 400 images of which 40% were shot on film. Images varied from Pine Martens, Beavers, Eagles, Caterpillars, Scottish Wild Cat, Highland Cattle, Red Deer, Fungi, Moths, Lichens, Garden Birds, Dolphins to Puma’s.
Another entertaining and educational evening, it was great to see so many visitors to the club.