Photography News 69

Photography News | Issue 69 | photographynews.co.uk

Interview 22

TomWay Profile After quitting his job as a personal trainer, Tom now travels the world taking striking, fine-art photographs of wildlife – a task that is not without challenges

Photography News: Can you introduce yourself to PN readers, please? What is your day job and where are you based? TomWay: My name is TomWay and I ama fine- art wildlife photographer based in theUK. PN: What came first: photography or your love of nature and wildlife? TW: For me, it is the love of wildlife. To have the opportunity to travel the world and witness these beautiful and majestic animals in the wild is extremely rewarding. PN: How long have you been a professional wildlife photographer? TW: I leftmy job as a personal trainer in 2012. PN: How long did you spend building up your wildlife work before turning pro? TW: With my passion for wildlife and travel, I was intent on building a career around those two aspects. I felt one way of doing that would be to become a wildlife photographer. After generously receiving a Canon EOS 450D as a present, I quit my job to become a professional wildlife photographer and over the next two years developed a style that I enjoyed. PN: How does a wildlife photographer earn a living nowadays? High-resolution cameras and fast aperture lenses are within affordable reachofmany enthusiasts, and itmust be very competitive. Do you sell pictures, host photo holidays, supply a library or something else? TW: There are a few ways in today’s market that you can make a living out of wildlife photography, from running photography tours to guest speaking and lecturing. I’m personally very passionate about seeing my photography come to life in print and so I earn the majority of my income through selling my photographs as large, special edition pieces for people’s houses. I do also run small group and private photographic safaris to Africa and India as well as guest speaking around theUK.

Fotospeed Foto Fest

If I do actually happen to take an image I am proud of within the one-month shoot, then I am very pleased indeed

Foto Fest takes place on 8 September at theUniversity of Bath. TomWay is one the speakers alongwithMartin Parr, Rachael Talibart andNigel Danson. Aday pass costs £40 for all four talks, a panel discussionwith the photographers, car parking and entry to themarket place, where there’ll be special deals from leading brands includingCanon, Fotospeed, Lee Filters, Olympus, Sigma and Sony. fotofest.co.uk

PN: Do you specialise in any particular wildlife subject or location?Or is yourwildlife interest more general? TW: I describe myself as a ‘large mammal photographer’ – this is my niche. I am currently working mostly on the African continent, focusing on lions, elephants, leopards etc. PN: Do you have a favourite location? TW: East Africa – the open savannah fits my fine-art style of photography very well, with its clean and simple lines and large, open skies. This environment doesplayhost toahugevarietyand density of largemammals aswell. PN: What has been your best or most satisfying wildlife shoot so far? TW: Although my favourite subject is the lion, I enjoy every moment I spend around elephants as well. My most satisfying shoot thus far was two years ago out in East Africa on an elephant- focusedassignment.Iwaswaitingforaparticular moment during my stay, in which a large bull would cross an open lakebed. Fortunately, after twoweeks ofwaiting, themoment happened just before the sunset.

PN: Please give us an idea of what camera and lens kit you would take on a typical wildlife shoot. TW: I currently use Canon equipment. Typically my go-to combination is the EOS-1D X, coupled with a 400mm f/2.8 lens. I do also carry a 70- 200mmf/2.8 and a 16-35mm. PN: Do you have a favourite lens, a lens that you can’t do without? TW: The Canon 400mm f/2.8 is a beautiful lens. Stunningly sharp – and the aperture gives the photographer the chance to be creative. PN: Have you had shoots where nothing has gone right? Absolutely. There are more times than I can care to mention where I have landed back in the UK without astrong image. It isall part of thewildlife photography process, unfortunately, and although it can be demoralising and potentially a large hit to the business, I tend to go out with the attitude that I will most likely take nothing. If I do actually happen to take an image I amproud of within the one-month shoot, then I am very pleased indeed.

Right TomWay always wanted to take a photo of a male lion walking directly towards his camera, which he managed to achieve in December 2015 with the image ‘View To A Kill’

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