Behind the Lens with Oliver Bates | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Behind the Lens with Oliver Bates

Friday, 24th September 2021

Behind the Lens with Oliver Bates
Duckling © Oliver Bates

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a 19 year old photographer from Kent. I live in a small village called Bethersden, where I’ve lived all my life. I’m currently unemployed, focusing hard on my photography, and hoping one day to become a professional wildlife photographer. 

I care about wildlife because of the massive role it plays in our eco system and how fascinating each animal is. 


You're a regular at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve? What do you like about it?

My mum, dad and brother all come along to spend the day down here. We spent hours walking up and down seeing all types of different birds wading around finding food. I like the fact it’s a place you can come and relax. No worries or stress about work. 

The Discovery Centre is a lovely place to eat and buy a few souvenirs. The staff are very welcoming and polite and it has a great view of the whole reserve.

Websize oliver bates

How did your interest in wildlife photography come about?

My interest in wildlife photography came about through my grandad. He was a lover of birds and would have multiple birds boxes and bird feeders in his garden. I would go round every Saturday and spend hours in his conservatory counting birds in the garden to see how many we could name. When I was able to buy a camera and lens, I would go out for walk along the fields and woods and spend hours photographing all the wildlife in my village. I mostly like to photograph birds, I find them incredibly fascinating with all the different calls and colours throughout the year. 


What equipment do you use, in brief?

The Nikon d5600 and the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary. You really don’t need expensive equipment to get good quality photographs.

Saltmarsh rn oliver bates

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by a lot of photographers, but the main two are Morten Hilmer and Trond Westby. They capture absolute beauty in every shot and they inspire others to enjoy nature and pick up a camera.

What is your favourite photo?

When I last visited Rye Harbour, on the way back to the car park, I spotted a Little Egret hunting for fish. It’s such a stunning bird with its thin dark legs a almost pure white body and you can’t forget about the piercing yellow eyes. 

Little egret

Any tips?

My tip for photography/wildlife photography is that you don’t need the top of the range equipment to get these images just starting with a simple stock lens and budget camera is the best. Never give up if you are having trouble. Not every trip I do turns out how I hoped it would.

Follow Oliver on Instagram @oliverbates_photography

This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

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