5th November 2014 - Animals on the edge

A club meeting scheduled on bonfire night might not seem such a good idea given that people might have other events to attend. However, if the meeting has a visiting eminent speaker such as wildlife photographer Chris Weston, then there will be no problem in getting a large audience. So it was no surprise that at Wellington Junior School, Wellington District and Camera Club was joined by members from other local photography groups keen to hear from a leading photographer specialising in publicising the plight of animals on the verge of extinction.
In a packed hall Chris delivered a carefully presented lecture which included his own personal journey from a basic amateur at the age of ten to a professional photographer travelling the world campaigning for the preservation of wildlife.
There was no doubting his commitment to this cause which was embedded in his statement ‘we all have a choice to make a difference’. Realising that effective conservation can only come when animals are valued more alive than when they are dead, Chris explained how Rwanda’s gorilla population was now increasing simply because this belief had been translated into an effective working relationship between the local population and the gorillas.
The talk was supported by some magnificent images of wild cats, elephants, apes and wildebeest. Photographers all know that wildlife photography involves patience and planning but in Chris’s work this is multiplied many times, with much ingenuity and often some considerable risk. Who for example would be prepared to dig a pit to hide in just to capture the wildebeest leaping over your head? Or who would plan the intricate aspects of a photograph involving a shot of hunting lions underneath star trails ensuring that you returned to Africa only when there was a new moon to avoid excessive light?
Chris is that kind of person and whilst his life-style or choice it may not be every photographer’s, his photographs were certainly examples of the high standard that would be endorsed by all keen photographers. And if it is not possible for many of us to follow his advice that the best place to photograph tigers is whilst sitting on the back of an elephant, it is possible to plan and design your photographs carefully as good pictures invariably don’t just happen when the camera shutter is released.
As a result of a very successful raffle with over 40 donations of prizes all proceeds were given to Chris Weston’s charity ‘Animals on the Edge’.