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Photographer of the Month

Shag, Farne Islands, Northumberland • Sony A77 Mk II, Sony 70-400mm, f/5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO 800

Photographer of the Month • Oddy Barber From the UK

Oddy Barber • Bio

Oddy BarberMy passion is wildlife photography and I try to get out when I can as I work full time. I use my photography as my chill time as I work in a Critical Care Unit at my local hospital, so being able to sit quietly for hours, watching nature and unwinding is important to me.

What's in your bag?

Sony A77mk1

Sony A65

Sony 70-400mm f4-5.6 G Series SSM II

Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6

Sony 1.4x Teleconverter

Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 D

Giottos MML3280B Monopod

Giottos MH7002 Ball Head

Benro A2560F Tripod

When did you start photography?

I started doing photography aged 15 when I inherited my father's camera after he passed away. I enrolled in a photography class at night school where I learnt about taking pictures and developing film. I have always liked animals and nature so wildlife photography seemed the obvious choice.

Favourite location

One of my favourite locations is the Farne Islands in Northumberland, UK. This is where you can get up close and personal with Puffins. Although I don't enjoy the boat ride to the island, it is the closest place for me to get to to see the Puffins. You can get next to their burrows and watch them scurry in and out of their holes and they don't seem bothered. It is just the best experience ever.

Latest wildlife picture

My latest photo is of a Shag on the Farne Islands. I was probably within 2ft from the bird while it was sitting and preening itself. I wanted to do a close-up of its head as it has an amazing bright green eye. To be able to get this close without it flying off was an experience.

Who are your heroes?

Steve and Ann Toon. I wrote to Steve Toon for advice on wildlife photography a couple of years after taking it up, along with one of my images. I received a very lovely email reply saying that he was trying to find a gentle way of telling me that my photo wasn't very good, but in fact when he saw the image, he praised me for the photo I had sent. He said that I was doing a great job and this gave me the boost to continue to this day.

Best piece of advice

Plan the type of image you are after. I read this is one of my many photography books and I have seen a big improvement in my images rather than just going out and firing off a load of shots.

Favourite subject?

Red Squirrels as they are quite rare to be seen in the UK. I also love birds of prey and Kingfishers.

Favourite lens?

My 70-400mm telephoto because I can get fairly close to my subject without disturbing it. I would love a 800mm prime lens but Sony don't make one yet.

Most memorable moment?

While out walking in a local woods my husband and I came across what we thought were rabbits playing in the woods. On closer inspection we discovered it was a family of fox cubs (seven in total) with their mum. The following day we went back in the mid-afternoon and set up my hide. We sat for 90 minutes watching the cubs play in the sun and photographing them. We had put down some kidneys for them, but it took them a while to figure out what they were. We then got to see the typical alpha male dominance behaviour over a submissive cub and it was such a fantastic moment. We have been back to the same spot for the last four years and have never seen them again.

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