One of my favourite quotes is by a certain David Attenborough:
When people ask me, “How did you get interested in animals and nature?” I reply, “How on Earth did you lose your interest in animals and nature?
All children are naturally curious about wildlife and nature, and it’s so important to nurture this interest in the early years. So many people talk about how interested in nature they were as a child, but then as they get older other priorities can take over. I think a “scientific model” (based on my own experience) paints a clearer picture of this:
But on a positive, and as the model shows, most of the people I speak to who had that engagement with nature as a child, rediscover the pleasure and rewards of spending time in the great outdoors later in life. My fear is though, if we are not investing time engaging our children with the natural world, then there is less chance of them coming back to it later in life.
I actually lived in Frodsham for 5 years, but this was during the 15-20 stage (see scientific model!), so sadly I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Frodsham Marsh (I did however discover the joys of the Mersey View and engaged in a very different sort of wildlife)!
Early thirties hit and I was completely grounded by the arrival of two-time consuming babies, but this sparked the start of the “what is really important in life” considerations. Seeing the world through their eyes, and being influenced by their infectious enthusiasm for nature on a daily basis, rekindled the love of the natural world I had in my early years.
Findlay (link to https://frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/14-04-13-birdlog/) has developed such a strong affinity with nature, but in particular birds. He has us out in all-weather to all locations and this is how we discovered the hidden gem that is Frodsham Marsh.
It’s amazing how one simple, but beautiful experience can leave a mark on you. On the 12th May (link to https://frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/page/3/ ) this year it was a cold, wet seemingly miserable day, but we decided to visit the Marsh anyway. To be honest there wasn’t much about so we parked up beside No 6 tank and decided to brave the rain for a few minutes. Well that few minutes turned into nearly an hour standing in the rain with a group of about 50 Swifts swooping and diving in between us. I don’t really do gushy, but it was the most magical experience, they flew so close that you almost felt that you were flying with them.
Photographing the Marsh, and photography in general is a very recent journey that I have embarked on. Myself, Findlay (add link http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/ ) and Harley (http://wilde-lifephotography.blogspot.co.uk/ ) all approach photography from very different angles. For Findlay it is all about getting those record shots to go with his written notes on the birds he sees.
Harley has a keen interest in nature, but not the obsession that Findlay has. Trying to balance the needs of two very different children was becoming a challenge, but photography has opened up a whole new world for Harley. Whilst Finn is happy to just observe (and launch a barrage of questions at Bill), Harley can be found crawling through the undergrowth, viewing the marsh through a lens.
My own approach to photographing the Marsh is simply about trying to capture a moment. It doesn’t have to be perfect (which is just as well as it never is), but it does have to stir some emotion deep within. The marsh has so many contrasting image opportunities, from the stark openness of tank 6 to the hidden corners where wildlife and nature go about their business, getting the balance of life just right.
I often get asked how we find the time to fit “all this nature stuff” in; well if you look at the state of the washing pile and the dust gathering on the vacuum, there’s a few clues there! But seriously, for us nature is not a “nice to have experience” it is at the core of how we bond as a family. It is an integral part of our family life and we all take something slightly different (but equally special) from it.
Heather Wilde (Head Honcho of the Wilde Bunch)