Bob Brind-Surch

I am an experienced photographer and naturalist passionate about my work and sharing my observations of wildlife with others.

I have been a keen naturalist from a very young age and a photographer from my late teens. I am foremost a naturalist who photographs what he observes rather than a photographer specialising in wildlife. This is very important to me and goes back to why I started taking photos in the late 60s.

My early photography consisted of taking colour slides to illustrate talks I gave on wildlife.

I learnt my photographic craft seeking to capture animals in difficult situations and specifically recording animal behaviour. This was all the more difficult with older manual film cameras but proved a good grounding for practising and refining the skills that still serve me well in the digital age.

Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have shared experiences and worked with some very competent naturalists and photographers. They have collectively helped me enormously and taken me on my exciting journey of exploration. I am also a qualified teacher and consider it a privilege to share with others the lessons I have learnt and experiences I have gained.

I have developed this website to give an insight into my photographic work and to share with you my enthusiasm for wildlife and photography. I also regularly give talks to camera clubs, lead wildlife photographic days and run trips particularly to a favourite location, East Africa.

Biography

When I grew up in the 50’s in the West Country it was quite normal for a young boy to spend all his free time exploring the fields and hedgerows and learning first-hand about nature. The BBC Natural history unit was established in the early 60’s when my family was lucky enough to own a television. I was immediately captivated by the early Look programmes and watched in awe the famous woodpecker film made by Heinz Sielmann. The series producer at the time was the late Sir Peter Scott who I was fortunate enough to meet some years later at his home in Slimbridge.

In my early teens I lived in Bristol and through the very active Bristol Naturalists Society met many celebrated naturalists and pioneer film makers from whom I learnt a great deal about wildlife and also about photography.

On leaving school I had a year’s break before going up to University and spent it working as a field technician at Hill End field study centre beside the famous Wytham Woods just outside Oxford. This 350 hectare woodland is private and has been dubbed the “most studied wood in Britain”. It has been owned by the University since 1943 and has been used by countless students ever since as a natural ecological laboratory. Where better for a young wildlife photographer to develop his trade. My time in Oxford and my work there also gave me a unique opportunity me to meet with many other successful pioneer photographers and film makers from organisations such as of the then newly established Oxford Scientific Films.

From Oxford I went to Southampton to study maths and computer science. This was excellently located on the very edge of the New Forest where I spent much of my non-study time observing deer. Here I had further great opportunities to meet many fellow naturalists, photographers and film makers and at this time I acquired a real interest in macro photography. It was here that I had my first commission to illustrate a booklet on Lichens.

Deer

Fallow Deer hind under Oak trees in the early morning light.

After Southampton I became a teacher and taught science in a secondary school in Banbury. This was a time when schools were starting to introduce computers and technology for the first time and I was one of the early pioneers in establishing computers in schools. Many years later when I abandoned film and moved to digital photography I was very grateful for this opportunity and the skills and lessons I learnt along the way. I soon realised that I could combine my interest in photography with a new found interest in technology to give me a head start in this new and at the time bewildering world.

Cheetah

Young Cheetah in the evening light – Ndutu Plains Tanzania

Over the years whilst maintaining my three fold interests in technology, wildlife and photography the need to earn a living and support a growing family meant much of my time was spent working. However a redundancy in 2007 has allowed me to explore other options. As part of this new found freedom I have started to offer talks to camera clubs, workshops in wildlife photography and am organising photographic day trips and holidays initially to East Africa.

I lived in Kenya for 3 years whilst a child and have been fortunate enough to revisit many times. I have now formed a partnership with a long established UK safari company please read more under the trips section of this website.

Over the years I have changed my primary reason for taking photos. It began as a simple means of producing images, transparencies, to illustrate talks I gave on Natural History and has progressed to an all absorbing pastime; a pastime  where developing and perfecting the art and techniques have become as important to me as the subject matter itself. I have been chairman of the Towcester Camera Club for a number of years and this has encouraged and enabled me to experiment and explore other photographic genres supported and often challenged by fellow club members.

If you would like to find out more about the talks I provide to camera clubs, the trips I organise to various locations in the UK or the Safaris I run to East Africa please do get in contact either through this website or by directly e-mailing me at bob@naturesphotos.co.uk