Photographer Vince Burton has enjoyed wildlife and nature since he was a child. Later in life, he developed a passion for travel and photography. Today, Vince can be found photographing the local nature of the countryside where he lives in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. His work has also taken him on adventures in far off places. During these travels, Vince not only captures extraordinary images for viewers to enjoy, but he also has an intense desire and purpose to use his work to influence others. He hopes to offer education and inspire the public to take vital action regarding wildlife and the preservation of the natural world. Through his photography, Vince would like to bring awareness to humanity’s role in both the destruction and preservation of the environment around us.
Vince, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses. It’s not every day we get a behind the scenes with someone who has such a passion for the natural world.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I’m passionate about nature and have always loved wildlife from a very early age. My love for photography came much later, but from the very first camera I owned, all I wanted to photograph was wildlife. I love to capture its beauty, to show my audience the amazing wildlife that we have, and hopefully educate some before it is too late.
Where do you call home?
I am based in Norfolk in the UK. I am lucky enough to live in a rural location where there is plenty of wildlife.
After browsing through your website, I see that you have built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. When did you first become interested in photography and how long have you been involved with it?
I started getting into photography at a young age and wanted to study it at college. Unfortunately, the college I attended didn’t offer photography as a subject. So I ended up taking professional exams first in business and accountancy and then came back to photography.
Are you formally-taught or self-taught?
I am mostly self-taught, although I have done a few courses, workshops, in order to top up my knowledge where required, such as flash photography.
Are you satisfied with your choice of getting involved with this industry? Is there anything else you would rather be doing?
I love wildlife, it is my passion and pretty much all I think about while I am awake during the day, and often what I dream about when I am asleep. There is nothing more rewarding for me than spending time out in the field, observing wildlife and learning about it. At present this is however not my main job, and that is still my ambition, to be a wildlife photographer full time.
When shooting subjects, what do you find most challenging?
In the UK, it is often difficult to find a subject and then to gain permission to access the land to work the subject. I am very grateful to those landowners that have allowed me access to their land, in order for me to spend time and photograph various subjects.
What would you say your most remarkable wildlife encounter has been?
Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to Canada in search of polar bears, and their cubs. Although it took us almost a week to find a mother and two cubs, when we did, she sat down in front of us and we shared five magical hours in her their company. This was such a privilege and honor.
Location and weather conditions seem to be a crucial aspect of a successful photograph. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
You cannot change the weather, and so you just have to work with it. There is always a shot to be had.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
It’s the excitement of not knowing what to expect, but also the expectation of what I want to achieve. I will always have an idea of some of the images I would like to achieve.
Who is the most inspirational photographer in your life?
I have several photographers that I follow, and sometimes I gain ideas from them, however mostly I like trying to do my own thing and come up with new ideas and new images, although it is still great to add the standard images to my portfolio.
Do you have any tips for new photographers who want to take better wildlife photographs?
Get out and practice, it is the only way to improve. We are all still learning and I very rarely achieve the shot I want on my first visit. But I will be learning about the location and the subject and therefore know what I have to change for the next time. If you are lucky enough to have a subject local to you, then practice with that. The more time you spend with a subject, the more you will learn about it and can predict it. This enables you to take different images, to show the subject’s behavior or its habitat.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
The barn owl images attached. I have been working with this bird for over 2 years, feeding it every night, although not photographing it every night. This was a great learning curve for me, how to attract a wild animal to a location, then to slowly introduce a hide and then the camera. She is a beautiful subject and has given me so much pleasure. It is also very rewarding to have an idea for an image and then to achieve this image.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I like to create pictures with my images, something that I would be proud to have hanging on my wall. I also like to show the behavior or character of the subject.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
I currently use a Canon 1DX mark 2. My main lens is a 500mm because this means that I don’t have to get too close or disturb my subject.
What is in your camera bag?
In addition, I have a wide angle lens, as if the subject allows, I like to get close and personal and to show the subject in its environment.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
A flask full of tea. I often spend many hours in my hide, and can go without food or sleep, however, I do need tea. I am tea powered.
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
I have recently been discovering flash photography and remote triggers, and would like to progress with this and add additional equipment.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
I only use Photoshop to carry out minimal adjustments, as I try to get everything right in the camera.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
My first success as a category winner in an international competition was a massive boost. Confirming that images I thought were good, some other people also perceived in the same way.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
Not to date. There are always projects that don’t quite work, but you learn from these too and move forwards.
Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?
I have a passion for wildlife, and photography allows me to spend quality time with nature. I don’t see that ever changing, as it would require me to change.
In addition, there is still so much of the world to see and its wildlife to photograph, so this will continue to drive me for a long time to come.
I am currently working on a book, which I hope to get published soon. This shares my best images, and hopefully shows what a great range of wildlife we have here in the UK.