Wednesday 12 August 2009

Guest Photographer - Tony Wharton FRPS

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, we would be running our second guest photographer slot on the blog today. So it is my pleasure to give over today's space, our 250th post ( I mis-counted a couple of days back) to Tony Wharton FRPS.


I'm both pleased and honoured to respond to Martin's invitation to contribute to his blog by being his second " Guest Photographer", following an excellent contribution from John Bulpitt FRPS.

I'm afraid I cannot link my contribution to a recent trip overseas, as John did, since I haven't made any for the last three years or so, due to various health problems. I used to take groups abroad quite a lot, mainly Photo Travellers to places such as The Falklands, Galapagos, Antarctica, South Africa, Spain, Crete, Cyprus, Switzerland and Finland, although I have taken quite a few groups to East Africa under my own steam as it were. I have also led trips to India.

I took up photography in the mid sixties, when, as an avid angler, I bought my first camera to photograph the fish I caught. I was quickly bitten by the photographic bug and settled for natural history, a long standing interest of mine, for subject matter. There's more about that on the home page of my website,

Over the years, I have been very active in the RPS Nature Group, did a two year stint as it's Chairman, and served on it's committee for twenty years or so, although I have now settled for a more comfortable rocking chair in the background. I'm very grateful to the Group for awarding me it's Silver Medal some years ago and making me an honourable lifetime member more recently.

Obtaining a distinction with the RPS appealed to me quite early on, and I gained an Associateship in the then pictorial section in 1971, followed by a Fellowship in the Nature Category in 1978. I took great pleasure on serving the Nature Distinctions Panel for many years and, for my sins, am currently it's Chairman. The RPS awarded me it's Fenton medal a couple of years ago, which I consider a great honour.

I first met Martin when he joined Smethwick Photographic Society, of which I have been an active member for over 30 years, being particularly active with it's International Exhibition. A few years ago, I started a Natural History Group in the Society and Martin has now taken this over.

One of my great joys is judging exhibitions. I've had the pleasure of judging most of the UK's International and open Exhibitions, some of them two or three times.

With regard to my own photography, I enjoy most types but especially nature. Asked my favourite subject I can only say that it is whatever I'm photographing at the time, be it a bird, mammal, insect, flower, fungus - whatever.

I hope Martin has continued success with his website and this blog, and most of all, his photography.

Here are some of my favourite images.

Grass Snake at Rest.
Taken during a Smethwick PS NH Group field trip.
Pentax *ist D with Pentax 200mm macro lens

Grevy's Zebra Quartet.
One of my favourite images. Taken in the Samburu in Kenya.
Pentax Z1 with Pentax 600mm lens.

Jay with Hazelnut
Taken from a friend's hide in Warwickshire.
Pentax *ist D with Sigma 50-500mm lens

Keys of Field Maple
Another of my favourite shots. Taken in the
Severn Valley Country Park
Pentax *ist D with Pentax 200mm macro lens

Male Brimstone Feeding on Knapweed.
The backlighting appealed to me. Photographed in
Trench Wood, a Worcestershire Trust reserve.
Pentax K10D with Pentax 200mm macro lens

Sticky Coral Fungus
Taken during a Smethwick PS NH Group field trip
to the Wyre Forest. Pentax *ist D with the 15-55 mm lens
and a 3 dioptre close up lens


So many thanks to Tony for taking the time to send us some fine images, depicting the breadth of his Natural History photography. Tony is a genuine friendly, extremely helpful and amazingly knowledgeable about his subject. He has helped me out on a number of occasions either with identifications, field trips and with his amazing width of knowledge.

Tony is also very modest, so if you got the Digital Photographer magazine a few weeks back when it was printed in July, check it out as Tony was features in there. So we are honoured that he has supported the blog.

If you would like to feature as a guest photographer, then why not contact us, either via the comments on here, or via our respective websites. We would like to hear from you.


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