Originally from Cheshire, England, photographer Chris Martin has spent the past 12 years living in Cork, Ireland. A lover of nature, he has focused his attention on capturing remarkable images of rugged landscapes and striking wildlife all over the world. Having just shared a new series online, the photographer has offered practical tips for enthusiasts wishing to up their travel photography game.
“One of the most important tips which can almost instantly improve your wildlife photos is to get down to the subject's eye-level. Too many photos are taken from the photographer's standing height, but if you're prepared to lie flat on the ground (for shots of squirrels on the forest floor for example) the photograph becomes far more engaging,” Chris told Lonely Planet Travel News.
Chris has hiked and hill-walked extensively around the UK and Ireland, capturing animals and landscapes along the different routes, and also spent time exploring countries further afield. At 28, he took a year out to go backpacking, visiting scenic areas and national parks in North America, New Zealand and Australia. He travelled to Borneo to see orangutan rehabilitation, and went wildlife watching in Thailand and Nepal, honing his craft the entire time. He is a firm believer that no matter the destination, the beauty of the natural world can be captured in a unique way with the proper knowledge.
“For instance, not all wildlife photography has to be ultra-telephoto close-ups. It's often a much more interesting photo if an animal is shown in its environment, so consider sometimes using a wider lens. I also think you need lots of patience for photography, and you need to be out and about a lot both early and late to get to know where different species might live in your local area. Wildlife is so unpredictable that you should always try to have a camera at hand wherever you are!” he said.
Chris was recently named the winner of the Fur and Feathers category in Photocrowd’s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition 2018 for his image entitled The Obedient Fox, which showed the animal sitting calmly on some rocks on a beach in Ballycotton, Cork.
When it comes to sharing tips on travel photography, Chris says the key is to relax and enjoy the experience. “I find that wildlife and landscape photography lets me slow down and really appreciate the natural world in detail. Today it seems that mindfulness is the latest big thing, but I think photographers have known for a long time that sitting patiently watching a heron waiting for a passing eel is itself a form of relaxation. If you're lucky enough to capture the decisive moment when it strikes, afterwards you realise that for an hour or so you thought of nothing else but that heron. Not so relaxing for the eel though!”
Chris also said that the welfare of the animals is the most important thing to consider, and photographers should always allow their subjects space to feel comfortable.