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Interview with Kevin Morgans, runner-up in the category Mammals for the NPOTY contest 2018

by | Jun 9, 2020 | They let Nature Talk

How does a young and adventurous boy turn out to be a successful, multi awarded nature photographer?

To get an answer to that question I had an interview with the English nature photographer Kevin Morgans, runner-up in the category Mammals for the NPOTY contest 2018.

Kevin has succeeded in becoming a professional nature photographer. In between his own photo trips, which last preferably two or three months, he shares his experience in both photography and wildlife through workshops and short stay photo trips. From his first serious photography attempts on, he build up an impressive track record earned in multiple photo contests throughout the years. His adventurous spirit and catching enthusiasm made me curious about the motives of this passionate nature photographer.

Inspiration

“Living in the UK, the coast means everything to me, it’s where I live, work & seek solitude. As a small child, I grew up on a small peninsula surrounded by beautiful beaches and dramatic coastline. At this time, I had very little interest in photography. I spent my days exploring rock pools and the endless coastline around the local area. Since I was young, I’ve been inspired by the natural world and what wonders it beholds. Being an outdoor kid, I was always looking for my next adventure.

It wasn’t until my late 20’s I first picked up a camera, this was during a road trip around British Columbia, Canada. I had no clue how to take an image then. So naturally all images were out of focus and pointing the wrong direction. But this was my first introduction into photography and I was driven to improve. I began practicing down at my local pond, working with the local waterfowl. Working with common species such as geese and mallards, the opportunities were endless. This allowed me to move freely without the restraints of a hide and learn how to use light to my advantage.

Working on this small project granted me my first photographic highlights as a few of the images were awarded in a major photographic competition. This was the trigger for me to pursue what has now become my passion in life. Don’t shy away from working with common species such as ducks, rabbits or pigeons. Remember photography is never about the subject but the light.

It's about the light, Kevin Morgans

Drawing on my childhood roots I’ve always been drawn to adventure. That’s why photographers such as Paul Nicklen & Vincent Munier are my greatest inspirations. Photographers who don’t shy away from adventure and immerse themselves in the habitat for their craft. This doesn’t mean traveling to far away exotic lands, it can be close to home immersing yourself in a local woodland or wetland for example. As long as you are passionate about showcasing the beauty of whichever project you choose, this is all that matters.”

Ambition

“Over the past 4/5 years my focus has been working with the ever-comical Atlantic Puffins drawing nicknames such as the Puffin Man. My love affair with Atlantic puffins has become more than just a photographic project, it’s become my passion to protect these birds and the habitat they call home. But sadly, the UK coastline as does the rest of the world carries a dark secret. Seabirds are in massive decline. Due to overfishing, pollution & climate change. In fact, puffins are now listed on the IUCN list as vulnerable and decreasing. If we change our attitudes towards overfishing and climate change, there is still hope we can stop this decline and preserve our seabirds for many generations to come.

Anyways back to the photography. My style used to be predominantly long lens photography, particularly my trusty 500mm. Whilst there still is a place for this, my approach has changed. With our rapidly changing world I now prefer to shoot wider to include the environment. This helps the viewer to see the beauty of the habitat’s wildlife call home, and what we are fighting to protect.

Think wide, Kevin Morgans

A theme which carries throughout this interview is my passion for adventure and no U.K species represents this more than the mountain hare. The UK’s only true Arctic inhabitant. I adore working with mountain hares, be it the physical challenge of working in the Scottish Highlands during the Winter months or the close bond you create with a hare after years working with the same individual. The only way to convey the true hardships these hares face, is by hiking into the mountains and experiencing the conditions for yourself. This is the kind of photography I love, combining my passion for adventure and my drive to photograph.”

Experience the conditions, Kevin Morgans

Photography contests

“Why do I enter photography competitions? This is a question I’ve often asked myself. I think the reason behind entering is as wildlife photographers we often spend countless hours out in the field alone, isolated from the world. It is great to have a platform for photographers to come together and showcase the best work from the wildlife photography world. The standard of photographic competitions such as Nature Photographer of the Year is raising each year. I find them great sources of inspiration and will definitely be putting my entry in before the deadline.

From a slightly selfish perspective, competitions are a great way to build your profile. Getting your work published to the wider audience. Who knows where a competition success will lead? It’s all part of our photographic journey. One thing for sure, it can only help and not hinder your profile.

Shoot what you love, Kevin Morgans

If any budding photographers out there are thinking about entering a photographic contest this year, the best bit of advice I can give you is don’t be afraid of rejection. Remember competitions are so subjective. What might not make it through the first round of one contest might win the overall in another. Draw inspiration from the amazing images you see awarded in these contests, but don’t imitate. We all need to find our own photographic style, so don’t let contests define you. Shoot what you love and not what you think the contest will love!”

To finish the interview I asked Kevin the following question: “if you could ask another nature photographer one question, who would that be and which question would you ask?”

“This isn’t a photography question but I would ask Vincent Munier how he first felt when first coming face to face with an Arctic wolf on Ellesmere Island? The trip was so full of hardship I’d be interested to know how he felt when all the planning and hard-work finally came together.

Northern Gannet, Kevin Morgans
Erik Ruiterman

Erik Ruiterman

Hi there! I am Erik Ruiterman. I love birds and photography so I am an enthusiastic nature photographer. I like writing as well so I am a blogger. And because there must be food on the table I also work as a consultant. Due to my training as a fashion photographer my view on 'natural beauty' has change for ever. You can find my portfolio on Nature in Stock. (https://www.natureinstock.com/search?s=ruiterman) My photo adventures often form the basis for my blogs in which I try to view the phenomenon of nature photography in a relative way. For me that is always with a wink and a nod. You can of course find my blogs on this site. But also on topic2.nl.

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Conservation project

At Nature Photographer of the Year competition we like to do things different. So therefore we share a percentage of the entry fees and contest profits to nature conservation projects throughout the world. So next to the chance of winning great prizes you also support nature conservation!

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