Chris Packham and YWPUK

Exeter student creates UK e-platform for young wildlife photographers

Adorable wildcat kittens, European brown bears and even elusive wolverines are just some of the subjects shared by young photographers from across the UK, thanks to a student at the University of Exeter.

Young Wildlife Photographers UK is an online community set up by Danielle Connor, 21, a second year BSc Zoology student at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. It allows the UK’s most talented young photographers to share their pictures of wildlife with one another and the British public.

Danielle is encouraging talented young photographers under the age of 25 from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, and the rest of the region, to contribute their best wildlife photos.

A number of experts have praised the group, including Chris Packham at the RSPCA Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Conference (see top image) along with Gemma Ward, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition Manager and Danny Green, photographer for National Geographic.

Courtesy of Ben Porter
Courtesy of Ben Porter

A gallery of outstanding photos from members of the community were recently featured in BBC Wildlife Magazine, in support of World Wildlife Day on 3 March. It featured images of a variety of animals, four of which were snapped by students at the University of Exeter, including Danielle herself.

Danielle’s entry featured a majestic red deer at Richmond Park. Discussing her photo, she said: “Last autumn I travelled home for the weekend to photograph the red deer rut. This stag was exhausted and near the end of his rut. Between roars his legs shook, his eyes closed and he slowly lowered his head.”

Will Hawkes, 20, also a second year BSc Zoology student, managed to capture a stunning close-up of a ruby tailed wasp on camera at The Lizard, Cornwall.

He said: “Wildlife photography is, for me, a way of showcasing the lovely creatures we have on this planet that may otherwise go unnoticed. Take this wasp for example, it’s beautiful. To photograph one you really need to spend time watching and observing their habits, as they’re very fast.”

Courtesy of Danielle Connor
Courtesy of Danielle Connor

Second year BSc Conservation Biology student, Ben Porter’s (20) photograph featured a silhouette of a grey seal in a striking night time shot at Manx Shearwater, Bardsey island, Wales. He said: “I’ve been captivated by the natural world since an early age, and strive to capture something of its wonder and beauty through my imagery – a challenging task sometimes, but always rewarding. This particular photo involved a 30 second exposure, a fisheye lens, a clear night – and a lot of patience and perseverance!”

Jack Barton, 19, BSc Zoology, had his abstract photograph of a colourful ring-necked parakeet featured in BBC Wildlife Magazine too. He said: “Ring-necked parakeets are rather feisty in Kensington Gardens and with camera in one hand and food in the other, it’s easy to entice them down. To illuminate the wings and freeze the motion, it was essential to use a flashgun. I hope that my images will help inspire people to cherish and protect our environment, which needs all the loving it can get when so many species are facing precipitous declines.”

Young Wildlife Photographers UK was set up in 2013 and was created through Danielle’s desire to meet people her own age who shared her passion. She now has over 1,000 likes on her FaceBook page and 40 active contributors from across the UK, all under the age of 25.

“I’ve been taking wildlife photos since the age of 14, but I found it difficult to find friends I could share it with,” Danielle said, “so I decided to do something about that. I set up a FaceBook group which started small but has grown massively over the past 3 years or so. Now we have real professionals recognising our work, which is incredible!”

“I feel proud to have started such a friendly community and I’ve made great friends along the way. The feedback has been overwhelmingly encouraging and I can’t wait for the project to grow even further. We are planning conferences, meet-ups and a launch of a new website in the future and I can’t wait to share this young talent to an even wider audience.”

For more information about Young Wildlife Photographers UK or to join, visit the FaceBook page.


(from a press release)


(from a press release)