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Interview with Nick Dale

Please introduce yourself, where are you based and where do you photograph wildlife?

My name is Nick Dale, and my brand is Nick Dale Photography. I live in Putney in south-west London, and I make three or four photographic trips a year, mostly to Africa.

How did you get started in wildlife photography?

When I was about 15, I loved photography. I read several books and bought myself a film SLR camera, a Chinon CE-4. I wanted to become a professional photographer, and I even found a course I could do at the London College of Printing. However, when I told my mum about it, she just said, "Well, you can always take it up as a hobby later..." And that was that for 30 years! Fortunately, I received an invitation from a social group in 2013 to go on safari in Africa and climb Mount Kenya. I jumped at the chance, and I've been a wildlife photographer ever since.

Can you share a particularly memorable experience or encounter you've had while photographing wildlife?

Almost all the satisfaction I get from my trips comes from the quality of my photos. If I'm happy with my photos, I'm happy full stop! However, there are a few occasions when the experience itself is enough all on its own. I remember snorkelling with a green turtle in the Galápagos Islands once. I was trying to take pictures, but I wasn't happy with my Nikon underwater camera. And then I told myself to put my camera away. "You're floating on your back a couple of feet away from a green turtle. Just enjoy it...!"

Where is your favourite place to photograph wildlife and why?

I've taken pictures in 36 countries on all seven continents, but my favourite place is Africa. I was lucky enough to get four months' free accommodation in Kenya and Tanzania in 2019 in exchange for my pictures, and I've now been on over 350 game drives and boat rides in all the major African safari destinations. There's such a huge variety of exciting wildlife, and I particularly love the big cats. There's nothing quite so exciting as a cheetah hunt, and I love taking action shots and portraits of predators.

As a group, we strive to infuse artistic vision into our work. How does this vision contribute to conservation efforts in wildlife photography?

My skillset lies in photography, not conservation, but I hope the pictures I take help people appreciate the power, beauty, humour and cuteness of wild animals and birds. After that, it's up to them what they do to support Nature conservation.

How do you enrich your passion of wildlife photography?

Every time I go on a trip, I end up having one or two once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They're always different, but they're always valuable. Whether it's seeing my first cheetah kill, spotting a rare pangolin or seeing four male lions taking down a buffalo, those moments give me the energy and desire to keep coming back for more.

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