Annmarie Meredith – An Interview

“I try to reveal the beauty in nature and often crop in close for impact, for example, the feather detail on a cormorant, the eyelashes of an elephant.”

Annmarie Meredith is a portrait and event photographer with a passion for nature and wildlife photography. Here, she talks about her nature photography and in and outside of her hometown of choice, London.


Annmarie Meredith © Annmarie Meredith
Annmarie Meredith © Annmarie Meredith

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

My name is Annmarie Meredith, I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and have lived in London for 30 years.

What sort of photography are you specialised in?

I promote myself as a portrait and event photographer but I spend my free time photographing nature and wildlife.

What is your background as a photographer?

Like many others, I grew up watching Wildlife on One narrated by David Attenborough which instilled in me a real love of nature.  I found that I had a strong appreciation of artwork depicting the natural world which developed as a desire to photograph flowers in the garden and progressed to my present addiction for nature photography.

“I found that I had a strong appreciation of artwork depicting the natural world which developed as a desire to photograph flowers in the garden and progressed to my present addiction for nature photography.”

Why nature photography? Did someone/something inspire you to do this?

The natural world never ceases to amaze me and my interest has only increased over the years. I took my first photographs at age 10 whilst on a school trip to London. At that time, my favourite images were of the dolphins jumping through hoops, and the baboons and lions from our visit to Windsor Safari Park and Dolphinarium. Around age 14 I joined the camera club at school, at first photographing my younger siblings and holidays, then moving on to capturing pigeons in flight in the local park.

“The natural world never ceases to amaze me and my interest has only increased over the years.”

What does the job as a photographer entail next to the actual taking of images?

I worked in the Corporate world for 20 years and enjoyed photography as a fulfilling hobby so when people started paying me to photograph them and booking me for weddings 6 years ago I quit the city job to dedicate myself to photography and creative pursuits full time.  For nature, I enjoy locations that offer beautiful landscapes and wildlife such as Africa, Scotland, Farne Islands and Skomer Island and I visit scores of Wildlife Trust locations in the South East of England. There is an incredible wealth of wildlife in London’s Royal Parks and I share my findings with the Parks and Trusts and on social media.

Goldcrest, Hyde Park, London © Annmarie Meredith
Goldcrest, Hyde Park, London © Annmarie Meredith

Is there anything in particular that you do when taking photos of wildlife in London?

When planning a visit to a local reserve or Royal Park I will check their website and twitter accounts for recent sightings.  The London Bird Club twitter account is also helpful.  It means I waste less time and can head to a certain part of the park in the hope of spotting something – I’m still trying to find the little owls in Kensington Gardens!

How would you describe your style of nature photography?

I try to reveal the beauty in nature and often crop in close for impact, for example, the feather detail on a cormorant, the eyelashes of an elephant.  I also take wide angle shots to portray the subject naturally in its environment and try to capture interesting behaviour and interaction.  I was thrilled last year to have two images shortlisted for the NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition also one image shortlisted for British Wildlife Photographer of the Year.  Another image was awarded runner-up prize in Maramedia’s ‘Highlands-Scotland’s Wild Heart’ competition.

“I try to reveal the beauty in nature and often crop in close for impact, for example, the feather detail on a cormorant, the eyelashes of an elephant.”

What kind of camera equipment do you use?

I use a Canon 1DX and 100-400mm IS II lens and the 24-70mm lens.  For portraits I use a 85mm lens.

Next to the camera – what do you think is the essential piece of equipment you have for nature photography?

Whether in the Highlands or the local nature reserve, my thermals, waterproofs, inflatable waterproof cushion and a flask of hot tea are the essential pieces of equipment next to my camera.  It’s important to make yourself as comfortable as possible because nature photography can be quite tough going.

Could you shortly describe your workflow for nature photography?

As I am drawn to certain birds and animals I will research a good accessible location and work out the best time of year for photographing them, and then plan a trip.  Being in the right place at the right time increases your chances of attaining a successful image. When I get home I edit and highlight the keepers then look for opportunities for using them.

“As I am drawn to certain birds and animals I will research a good accessible location and work out the best time of year for photographing them, and then plan a trip.”

Do you have a favourite photo of your own?

That would be my red deer in a snow flurry taken in Scotland last year.  For me, it has a magical mood and a cold wintery feel. I created Christmas cards with that one. Other favourites include a chimpanzee portrait and birds expressing emotion for example mating rituals of swans and great crested grebes.

Red deer stag in a snow flurry, Alvie Estate, Scotland © Annmarie Meredith
Red deer stag in a snow flurry, Alvie Estate, Scotland © Annmarie Meredith

Do you have a photo that you dream of taking one day?

There are many dreams – chameleons in Madagascar, polar bears in the Arctic, gannets in Shetland, snow monkeys in Japan …

Do you have any advice for people interested in nature photography?

Find a local nature reserve and visit at various times of the year.  Observe and record the changes through the seasons.  Find an environment or animal that gives you a buzz and spend time with it to learn its habits and characteristics.  Practice photographing it at every opportunity and have fun with it.  Always be aware of your safety and the animal’s welfare.  Learn appropriate fieldcraft and be patient. Show your work to friends and family for feedback.  If your objective is to licence your images, look at the ‘wanted’ lists published by the photo libraries. Make notes about your photos and metatag your images with location, date, and species details.

“Find an environment or animal that gives you a buzz and spend time with it to learn its habits and characteristics.”


Overview – Annmarie Meredith
Working location: London UK
Speciality: Portrait & Event Photography / Nature & Wildlife Photography

Contact
Website (Nature & Wildlife Photography): www.annmariemeredithwildlifephotography.co.uk
Website (Portrait & Event Photography): www.annmariemeredithphotography.co.uk 
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