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About

I have been an enthusiastic naturalist ever since I can remember, but my interest in photography did not really develop until my early twenties. Then, after studying the art and science of photography for three years in London under Prof Margaret Harker, I merged my two passions to embark on a career of nature photography.

In 1970 having spent some years exploring conventional nature photography, I set out to do something totally new - to photograph insects on the wing. Flight, after all is what has made insects the most successful group of animals on earth, yet photographs of them actually flying did not exist!

Until then, there was no technique capable of stopping an insect with absolute clarity in free flight. At this time digital photography was decades away, film speeds (for quality results) were limited to ISO 25 - 32, flash units were restricted to about 1/1000 second - far too slow for stopping insects, or birds for that matter. Perhaps the most frustrating photographic hurdle was the excruciating long waiting times to assess results on film - up to a week!

It was the solution of these problems that became my overriding obsession. Two years of experimentation resulted in perfecting techniques and specialised equipment for achieving my ambition, allowing me to capture animal movements that were far too rapid to be seen by the human eye, and ones never observed in such detail before. Since that breakthrough I have worked not only with insects but with other wildlife including birds, bats, frogs and even striking snakes.

As well as writing about fifteen books I have held exhibitions in England and in Europe, the most recent being at the very popular Montier Festival in France which attracted 50,000 visitors.

One of my photographs of a flying insect, not one I am very proud of, was selected to board NASA's Voyagers 1 and 2 spacecraft as part of records conveying something of the science and culture of mankind to possible extra-terrestrial beings. The image is expected to last one billion years or more, long after life on earth has expired!


Voyager 1 is now some 20,000,000,000 KM away, having left the solar system and entered interstellar space - quite remarkable for 1970's technology. http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/