It was great to have a ‘live’ speaker once again and wildlife photo-journalist Chris Weston said it was good to see am audience once more. Chris is passionate about turning the tide in the battle against the extinction of critically endangered animals. His book ‘Animals on the Edge’ was published 10 years ago but sadly in many cases little has changed to bring red listed animals back from the brink.
Chris has travelled extensively over the last 20 years photographing the conflicts faced both by humans and animals. Land where once animals roamed freely is now farmed and animals often trample crops and kill livestock which leaves the farmers with little income. In other areas endangered species are hunted for bush-meat, skins or even trophies. Chris related many sad stories of the conflicts but also a more upbeat story about the Highland Gorillas of Rwanda where eco-tourism has encouraged the local population to regard the Gorillas as an asset to the country.
Chris showed us some of his amazing wildlife photographs and explained that he prefers to not use large telephoto lenses. He likes to get close up images by spending time and getting close to his subjects by gaining their trust. If that is not possible, then he uses hides or remote cameras. Chris likes to plan beforehand exactly what he wants to portray in his images and goes to great lengths to get his images. Sometimes its months or even years before he gets the ideal conditions to get the image he has in his mind. Chris likes to experiment with his images and he showed how he managed to photograph lions hunting at night with a background of star trails. ICM and panning resulted in some interesting images that gave an impression of animals on the move.
A range of AV’s were shown featuring images of the lives of Big Cats, Elephants and Great Apes.
Chris was thanked for giving such a thought provoking and interesting presentation. PM
See Chris's website for images and information on conservation, workshops and safaris.