I have been giving talks for many years now on nature and wildlife photography. Infact, my first one was some 20 years ago to the Swale Group of the Kent Wildlife Trust. Since then I have, easily, given in excess of 400 to all manner of clubs and societies throughout England in the autumn and winter months, ranging from gardening societies and WI’s to the RPS and National Trust. I just love communicating, whether it be about wildlife in general or nature photography. Typically, at some point, I’ll digress as I recall a particular moment while out in the countryside watching and photographing, a funny (to me, at least) story or get on my soapbox and have a moan or two about current issues, not least the proposed airport on the Thames Estuary…..Grrrrr!! But this, I feel (and hope) gives the talk a personal touch. Otherwise I may as well hand out scripts for the audience to read as I move from one image to another.
It goes without saying that you need to structure a talk, particularly if it is about a certain area but, I have to say, the one I enjoy most is that which I came up with after returning year upon year to the same clubs which were, as a result, rapidly exhausting my portfolio. The title I have given it is “Bob’s Best of the Year.” It does what is says on the tin. A selection of my favourite images taken over the last year (to 18 months!). It not only gives the audience something different every year but, from a personal perspective, it allows me the opportunity to review my own work taken over that period. As photographers we tend to go from one subject or project to another and rarely look back at what we have achieved and, dare I say it, even pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Nothing wrong with a little self gratification!
Ultimately, it is the response of the audience either during or after that keeps me on the lecture circuit, particularly if members come up during the interval or afterwards to comment on how much they enjoyed it or to ask questions. As I said, at the beginning, I just love communicating and so, if after a talk, I have enthused or inspired a member of the audience to try their hand at a field of photography they hadn’t yet considered or made others think that actually, it’s not just a piece of marsh with sheep on it and that it REALLY is worth conserving, then I shall remain on that treadmill for many, many years to come. That is, if they sill want me!
Below are just a few letters I have received over the years and, if you belong to a club and are on the lookout for a speaker, then why not get in touch.
On behalf of the Clacton Camera Club a very BIG THANK YOU for coming all this way and giving your lecture and showing so much of your work. I think and hope you could tell by the atmosphere, chatter and enthusiasm of your audience what an excellent evening you gave us. I am sure we will be talking about you and your images for many weeks to come. The evening seemed to go all too quickly, and we have had many phone calls thanking us for the evening, an evening which you made special.
Jean Pain, Programme Secretary, Clacton Camera Club
Many thanks for coming along yesterday and speaking to the Croydon Group both in the afternoon and evening. Your talk on Wildlife of the North Downs went down very well and your photographs were superb. I understand we had a record turnout for both meetings! I hope you had a safe journey home and look forward to inviting you back at a future date.
Judith Dunworth, Indoor Meetings Organizer, RSPB Croydon Local Group
I would like to thank you very much for such an interesting talk entitled ‘Field Techniques in Nature Photography’ and I know members were impressed with the amount of information received on wildlife, as well as all the various tips on taking such wonderful photographs. I particularly like the hares! Many members were enthused about the evening and I was very pleased with the turnout – one of the best.
Margaret Rimmer, Secretary, EPIC (Eynsford Photographic Image Club)
About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
Read more about Robert Canis