Twenty-five years ago I sat in Nancy's cafe in Norfolk and saw an advert for a pelagic trip run
by Peter Harrison (now MBE) on board the M.V. Chalice. Although I had been birding a few years my
experience of anything connected with the oceans was limited to a small amount of seawatching.
The trip changed all that. I still don't do much seawatching from land, but Peter's enthusiasm,
and the chance to closely approach birds like Great Shearwater and Wilson's Storm-petrel, had me
hooked; and the camera came too!
Ann and I have subsequently visited Antarctica, the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands, and the
South Pacific, as well as doing the Atlantic Odyssey and the Southwest Pacific
Odyssey. (If these terms are unfamiliar to you have
a look at Wildwings website on www.wildwings.co.uk).
I have also been to the North Pacific
(Kuril and Kommander Islands) and done pelagics off California and South Africa. As a result I have built up
a sizeable portfolio of seabird photos, especially Albatrosses, Penguins and Petrels.
Photographing seabirds is often not easy, in the preface of "Photographic Handbook of the
Seabirds of the World"
(Enticott & Tipling) it was likened to "photographing a bird on land whilst running on the spot".
You can do little to affect the outcome (apart from chumming), you can't set up a hide, or
stalk, you just neeed perseverance and the ability to work quickly. A Pterodroma petrel can be
past the ship almost before you see it, and Diving-petrels always enter the water just as you've
got the focus right! But it's an enjoyable challenge, and some of the times I got it right are
illustrated on this site.
Should you be visiting to locate a shot of a particular species, whether to buy a print, or for
research purposes, bear in mind that these are only some of the photos I have. I have tended
to leave out most of the transparencies I have from before going totally digital (the cameras
not me!), and some species which I hope to improve on. Some of these photos are suitable for enlarging,
it is not always clear from the web image, or you might want something different. We are just an
e-mail away. There are no Gulls or Terns in this section of the site, but I have photographed most of the
Gulls and several Terns and these now appear in a seperate gallery. Four years ago I wrote that I needed about thirty seabirds in the world.
In those years new species have been described, and as of summer 2015 we've now sailed the Humboldt Current and visited Christmas Island for
its two endemics, but I still need nearly twenty, although I have photographed most of those I've seen.
It's getting difficult now, but there's still a few easy ones left (I still haven't seen Yelkouan Shearwater!)
We would like to thank especially Wildwings and Rodney Russ of Heritage Expeditions
(www.heritage-expeditions.com), for providing the
platforms from which to attempt this photography, even if they're not always very stable!
Please follow the links to their sites if you are interested, and also PLEASE visit the site at
www.savethealbatross.net, so others may still have the opportunity to do what we've done.