Andy Nunn has made a name for himself among footballing circles for years. His action-packed pictures are second to none and clubs up and down the country are always honoured to have him capture their matches. His work has featured extensively in national newspapers, books and magazines. Suffice to say, he knows his way around a camera.
However, I wanted to pick Andy’s brains regarding another passion of his… wildlife photography. Andy was more than pleased to give his thoughts. Whilst his words will give advice, it’s his pictures that really give inspiration.
What initially drew you into wildlife photography? Why do you love it?
I have always loved “the great outdoors” Since I was a young boy I have always enjoyed viewing nature and as a keen photographer it was a natural progression in trying to capture it through a lens.
What are your favourite locations to shoot?
There’s several places I enjoy visiting. Most of the time, you can find me at Bushy Park in Surrey, for which I am lucky that it is a few miles away from my home. It’s a fantastic area to wander and capture wildlife through the various seasons of the year. I also enjoy the Wetlands Centre at Barnes, Richmond Park and Whipsnade Zoo. At places like these you are almost certain to get up close to different wildlife.
What kit do you use and do you carry any extra accessories?
I take my Canon 1D Mk 4 which is an amazing camera , I vary which lens I use… sometimes it’s a prime 300mm f/ 2.8 lens, alternatively I use a Canon 100-400 f/4, but of late I have been just using my Canon 70-200mm f 2.8, which is a great versatile bit of kit. For the close up stuff I use a Sigma 105 mm Macro lens which suits me just fine.
I’ve often heard from wildlife photographers that patience is the key to getting the right shot? Is this the case for you? How long will you wait for the right moment before shooting?
I am not the world’s most patient person but when it comes to Wildlife I like to take my time. I’ll study my surroundings and find a spot where I hope something will make an appearance. Sometimes I’ll sit for several hours with nothing worth while to shoot… I move on and try my luck somewhere else. But when you finally get a shot you are happy with it’s all the more pleasing when you realise the effort you put in!
How much research do you do prior to going out in the field? Is it important to know a lot about animal behaviour to get the perfect shot?
The internet is a great tool for finding out about where local birds and animals have been spotted, but at the end of the day it’s down to luck with regards to them to make an appearance in the right spot at the right time under the right conditions.
What’s your favourite wildlife photo and why? Is there a story behind this shot?
My favourite shot was taken a few years back at Sheffield Park in Sussex, the picture was taken on a sunny day in the Autumn and the leaves on trees were beautiful oranges and reds. I managed to capture a Swan in an area of the lake where the reflection made the water look like it was on fire! I have tried many times over the years to try and recapture it but I don’t think I ever will.
Where would be your dream location to photograph wildlife?
I would love to travel to the North Pole and snap Polar Bears. I have only ever once seen a Kingfisher so I would love to find a perfect spot to catch them on camera. I am visitng the Island of Skoma in the Spring to photography Puffins which has been on my “to do” list for ages.
Do you choose a specific time of day to photograph wildlife? When do you get your best results?
You can normally find something to photograph at any time but early morning or a few hours before dusk “the golden hours” are the best times.
What advice would you give to those wanting to start photographing wildlife?
You don’t need fancy equipment or massive telephoto lenses to capture great wildlife shots. I have seen some quality stuff shot on mobile phones. Dress in dull colours and stock a pair of walking shoes and waterproof trousers as they are always handy for getting low and dirty.
Start simple… Go into your garden or local park and observe what animals are around you. If it’s birds you’re after, carry some bird feed or nuts in your pocket, sit down somewhere nearby and spread the feed out. You’ll be amazed at what turns up. Feed the ducks down by the river – again you will have several eager visitors! Trips to Zoos and Wildlife Parks give you a chance to get up close with a lot of animals who are used to being around humans. But the most important part is enjoy being outdoors surrounded by beautiful scenery. Take in your surroundings and if you managed to capture some wildlife on your camera what better way to spend your time!