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Pete Oxford

As long as I can remember I have wanted to spend my life travelling and with wildlife.

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Featured Photographer

Pete Oxford

About

Pete is a British biologist who has lived in Ecuador, South America since 1985. He works as a team with his wife South African Reneť Bish. They have travelled repeatedly to all continents in search of images and are more and more drawn to native cultures as well as wildlife believing that the preservation of one is inextricably linked to the other. Their images have been published in most of the major magazines in the world in their field, including National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Geo, Smithsonian, Nature, International Wildlife, Airone and Nature's Best.

Pete is a ten-time award winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and is a founder member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (www.ilcp.com). Pete is a committed conservationist and aspires to illuminate the natural world to the public with the aim of raising awareness and respect for the environment.

ĒAs long as I can remember I have wanted to spend my life travelling and with wildlife. Having converted my dream to a career my mission now is, through photography, to inspire others about nature - the beauty, the importance and the fragility.Ē

ďIn the end, we will conserve that which we love. We will love that which we understand. And we will understand that which we are taught.Ē - Baba Dioum

Website: www.peteoxford.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
I simply feel very close to nature, I have spent my life immersed in it and like to feel and try to understand its moods and rhythms. I am a qualified biologist as well as a professional naturalist - its helps a lot in the field when trying to predict behaviour. I like to capture the images in a way that they best remind me of the best moments I spent in a particular situation.

What's best about it?
Having the biggest office in the world.

What's worst about it?
I've worked extensively between 40 below to more than 40 plus degrees, slept under very rough conditions, got very sick, waited days in vain but thatís not it, in fact thatís all part of the package and the fun. Probably the worst aspect, apart from having to leave a place, is that itís very hard to communicate to your friends who have a more sedentary life exactly how much satisfaction you have felt and why.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Mammals. I definitely am a warm and furry guy. I'm a mammal too and find them the best group to photograph. My assigned subject for WWE is the Iberian Lynx, the rarest cat in the world, somebody in management either over inflated my prowess or was getting some kind of revenge (just kidding we're all friends). I don't know Europe very well outside of the British Isles as I have lived in Ecuador 23 years. In UK probably Dartmoor, however I have to say my favourite place is usually wherever I am at the time.

What's in the bag?
All Nikon gear, still with D2x's, minimum 2 bodies, lenses ranging all the way from 12mm to 600mm (if not too much hiking or if I have a porter, otherwise its teleconverters). Most used lenses 12-24mm, 70-200mm and 200-400mm when I finally get one! Graduated neutral density filters. Gitzo carbon fibre tripod. Plenty of cards Sandisk Extreme 1V's, mostly 2 or 4GB (8GB for underwater), Nexto downloader, Mars bars.

Your specialities / skills?
I specialize in being a generalist. I like to and will shoot anything that attracts me and try to cover it from all angles. My speciality is probably that I seem to have a lot of patience and am not afraid to wait.

What will you do in your next life?
Pretty much the same again but start younger and go to all the rest of the places that I didn't get to in this life.

3 tips for beginners
1) Shoot from the heart.
2) Cover a subject well.
3) Know when to stop before you stress an animal.

Mission

My mission for WWE is the Iberian Lynx. At approx 300 left in the wild it is the rarest cat in the world. Not only that but itís a cat! Somehow I'm supposed to outsmart a highly intelligent, top predator with acutely developed senses, sensing things that I can't even imagine, let alone a bush worn unbathed and pungent field photographer. Somehow I've got to convince at least one to show himself long enough for the shakes of excitement, when he finally does show himself, to subside, focus and get a shot. If I think I have a chance I must obviously be pretty stupid - maybe thatís why it could work. Low tech, low IQ, numbing waiting. I intend to wear them down with my presence until I become non-threatening and accepted. For months already I have been making strong links with Spanish biologists and park wardens in preparation. If all else fails I might try using a camera trap. Pre and post shoots should be pretty fun with the Spanish, their humour and their wineÖ

Best Picture

Best Picture

What's cool about it?
Probably my Favourite image of the ones submitted is the one of the rays. What I like is the sense of tranquillity and serenity, the ordered formation across the diagonal, the similarity between the rays and the clouds, the sense of purpose and just the fact that I was there to witness it.

Could it be better?
Always.

Behind the Scene
Standing precariously on the tubes of a zodiac as the "driver", using a paddle, was trying to keep up with the rays without scaring them.

Date: May 2008
Location: Tortuga Negra, Santa Cruz Island , Galapagos , Ecuador.
Gear: Nikon D2x, 12-24mm lens, Sandisk card, Neutral density filter to stop down the sky.

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