Not untypically I began this blog post over a month ago, started meandering slowly toward an end point about which I was unsure, got frustrated and left it for a while only for a similar subject to appear in one of Niall’s more eloquent and considered blogs. I don’t want to labour over old ground and so I will keep this short or at least will try to.
A lot has been said recently about people paying for their images, the why’s and the how’s and whether or not it is a legitimate way to produce images, build a career as a wildlife photographer or whatever. I’m not usually known for my fence-sitting on such matters but on this one I guess that I fall somewhere in between the two sides. It is not something that I do readily, though I have paid to access both African, Indian and Alaskan National Parks so I could be perceived as having done so in a roundabout way, but it is something that I have done recently, enjoyed and would do again in a heartbeat.
I had previously seen some squirrel images produced by a couple of friends of mine, Jules Cox and laterly Danny Green at Neil McIntyre’s red squirrel site in Scotland and so I decided, as I was in the area for a couple of weeks, to give it a go. I had only ever photographed red squirrels before at Formby Point in Liverpool (introduced Scandinavian’s I believe, correct me if I’m wrong DW!) and the logistics of me trying to find my own, truly wild red squirrels in Scotland and then producing similar standard images to what was already in the market was very small indeed (partially tempted to drift into an inane Blackadder quote about Baldrick’s brain and a water biscuit but I wont as due to my non-blogging recent history I’m probably about to be sacked from this blog by my more organised co-bloggers!!).
I digress. Neil Mac has been feeding his squirrels for the best part of 20 years now and it was an absolute joy to spend 3 days with him and his squirrels and it is something I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend (other squirrel sites are available from Pete Cairns and probably a few thousand B&B’s around Scotland – you’re still paying for your squirrel images though!!).
It’s fair to say that my images wont set the world on fire and there’s a number that would argue that the marketplace is already super-saturated with red squirrel images and that there is little point going over old ground. I absolutely understand this viewpoint but as I am primarily experience driven this doesn’t apply to me. Strip out all of that familiar comment about time spent, money earned blah blah etc etc and what you’re left with is a wonderful wildlife experience with a cracking fella. And you end up, hopefully, with a few half decent squizza images. Bonus!
What I would say with absolute certainty however, harking back to previous blog posts etc is that, in the unlikely event that one of my squirrel images won or was recognised in a competition (zero chance!) then I’d absolutely give credit to Neil or whomever else’s hard created site that I was enjoying.