Behind the Lens with Bob Eade

08 June 2020 | Posted in Emma Chaplin , wildlife photography
Behind the Lens with Bob Eade
Pearl-bordered Fritillaries on a Bluebell © Bob Eade

Tell us a bit about yourself, your love of wildlife and wildlife photography 

I was born and bred in Lewes, and now live in Seaford. 

It was living in the Pells area of Lewes that got me interested in wildlife, I was an obsessive fisherman, so I would sit around and look at the wildlife around me. 

Red Fox

Badgers were my first love. The first one I ever saw was in 1974 in Offham. At school, I was called Badger Bob. When I was about 13, my brother and sister went on the SS Uganda school cruises, and I didn't want to, so my parents bought me my first camera instead. It was a way of recording what I saw. 

Firecrest

My first job was working in the photography department at HA Baker in Lewes from the age of 16, and I ran it soon afterwards, for 13 years. Then I became a sales rep for one of the suppliers. I got involved with Lewes Camera Club. But I consider myself more of a naturalist and wildlife enthusiast rather than a photographer. 

I didn't really have time for photography whilst Pen and I were raising our two boys, Matt and Chris (Matt is a well known bird fanatic by the way). But 15 years or so ago I got back into it. 

Marbled White

What qualities do you need to be a good wildlife photographer?

Butterflies are my main subject, and species behave in different ways so you have to learn about their habits. Some you need to get up at 6am to see them roosting, when they are not too active to photograph.

mullein moth larva

What equipment do you use, in brief?

Two cameras - both Nikon DSLRs. I use mainly a macro lens for close-up work. For bird photography I've got two different telephoto lenses, one lightweight one for walking around and one that's much heavier for working in the hide.

Barn Owl

What's your favourite shot?

One of a Barn Owl out hunting (above), because of the positive memories involved with when I took it. It took three hours of field-craft and I captured it just after it caught a vole. I don't do much bird photography and normally I'm assisted by a friend who has a bird hide. 

common toad

What are you trying to communicate with your photographs?

The beauty of wildlife and the natural world that is worth preserving. We might not get the same species you get in Africa, but we still have a lot of beauty on our doorsteps. 

Elephant Hawk Moth

What do you find most challenging to photograph and why?

Birds in flight are difficult. Auto-focus struggles and you need to practice to get it right. 

Fulmar

Where would you most like to be with a camera?

I'd love to go to Scotland a bit more in future, in different seasons. 

What's the most unexpected thing that's happened with your photography? 

At Deep Dene in 2019 I came across a very rare form of the Chalk Hill Blue, a bilateral-gynandromorph (below). It's half male, half female, and occurs due to an imperfection in the egg.  

Chalkhill Blue ab. Gynandromorph.

Got a top tip?

Get down to the level of whatever you're photographing. 

Bob Eade 2

For more of Bob's work, see his website

Comments

  • Valerie wickx:

    09 Jun 2020 18:35:00

    Hi bob,
    Remember you so well for doing our wedding photos in 1981.
    My aunt and uncle were friends of your parents as they lived in Toronto terrace.
    So glad that the photography is still something you enjoy.

  • mary boorman:

    11 Jun 2020 07:56:00

    amazing pics Thank you so much for sharing I run a local Horti. society and we are all into wildlife and so enjoy all aspects of nature Thank you

  • Carole Mendham:

    18 Jun 2020 11:19:00

    Loved the photos and videos. I saw my first badgers in 1958 when i used to regularly sit close to their sett in Thundersley, Essex, when staying with a cousin in the country for 5 weeks each school summer holiday. I lived in London and each summer and Easter holidays i would take my bicycle on the steam train to my Aunt’s bungalow in Hadleigh, Essex, and after my cousin was married, to her house. The badgers had their sett in the grounds of a large house on the Thundersley/Dawes Heath border. During my holidays, I rode my cousins horses (she married a farmer and moved her riding stables to his farm), mucked out and groomed the horses, helped with the haymaking, creosoted the stables and drove the tractors, among other things! I was mesmerised for hours by the badgers I watched in those grounds all those years ago. Thank you for taking care of the wildlife in our locality.

  • Anne SINCLAIR:

    18 Jun 2020 12:05:00

    Beautiful photos thanks

  • Lindsey Cooke:

    18 Jun 2020 19:05:00

    Astonishing photos. Your skills are superlative. I only use my mobile phone for photo but have used more since Lockdown at various Nat Trust visits and locally but mainly for Flora as Fauna too difficult!

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