A Focus On Nature


My Mentor: David Tipling

It was 2013 when I first met David Tipling. I remember looking through his website for quite a while before actually going to meet him, being stunned by the quality of his photography. When you go to meet one of the world’s best wildlife photographers, you expect to feel intimidated. And yet David is one of the most down-to-earth people I know.

Photo by Matt Adam Williams, taken at David’s hide at his wood in Norfolk.

I met up with David on the small piece of land that he owns near his home in Norfolk. We used his home-made wildlife hide to spend a morning taking photographs. Over the last few years I’ve been up to visit him a few times.

David’s advice helped me to choose the best camera equipment before my year in Borneo and his tips helped me to improve my wildlife photography skills. For me, wildlife photography is not a future career from which I could make my entire living, but David has given me an idea of how to take better photos and seriously improve the quality of my work.

More than that, we’ve become friends, and he lets me use his hide if I ask, and I’ve often been to help him with managing the woodland, spending lunchtimes around a fire with a few of his friends. He has also put me in touch with other key figures in the nature conservation world.

David’s advice has helped me to understand the commercial world of wildlife photography. Having a mentor has been a hugely rewarding experience, and I would fully recommend it to any young person who would like a career in nature conservation. A Focus on Nature has a huge selection of mentors on its website who are experts in communications, campaigning, ecology, political advocacy, nature writing, photography and far more. So why not get in touch with afonmentoring@outlook.com and find out more? During my five years of involvement in AFON, mentoring is what drew me in five years ago and has been the most rewarding part of it.

Matt Williams is a conservationist, nature writer and photographer. He was previously Co-Director of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, and is AFON’s Associate Director. Follow him on twitter @mattadamw and check out his website mattadamwilliams.co.uk.