In the wild with Rob Ward
As part of the Nature of Britain series, meet Cinderford-based amateur wildlife photographer Rob Ward.
Those fortunate enough to live in or near the Forest of Dean will appreciate just how much wildlife there is to be watched, enjoyed and even photographed on their doorstep.
The rich mixture of woodland, meadows, lakes and nature reserves all ensure the area is populated with everything a wildlife enthusiast could dream of.
So enter Rob Ward, Cinderford-based amateur photographer with a passion for supporting and appreciating the wildlife in the Forest and further afield.
Red Kite, taken by Robin Ward
Way of life
"My parents are great wildlife lovers and I just picked it up from them.
"The reason I'm still doing it today is that it's just become a way of life. I don't think about anything else.
"When I'm not working if I haven't got anything else planned I'm thinking about going out with my camera."
BBC Gloucestershire's Chris Sandys met up with Rob, his camera and his two daughters Alice and Louise at a nice spot in the Forest.
Click on the links in this article to hear from Rob and see a gallery of his wildlife photos.
Rob Ward and his camera
Reptiles, wildfowl & birds of prey
Rob goes on to outline his favoured locations around the Forest for appreciating and snapping the wildlife.
"Favourite places to go with the camera would have to be the lakes around Speech House area, near Cinderford.
"With water you've always got reptiles, wildfowl and birds of prey and it's a great opportunity to catch them all in one outing without having to hunt around for different species."
For more locations, click the link below to listen to his full answer.
Over the years around the Forest with his camera, Rob has captured many moments that will live in his memory forever.
From being bitten by an adder, to snapping everything from wildfowl to wild boar (see the gallery for evidence) and even one chance meeting he will never forget...
"Photographing the white stag was unbelievable. Just to see it is fascinating but to be lucky enough to have my camera with me and photograph him...that was something else!"
Caterpillar, taken by Rob Ward
Research and patience
Pretty much every amateur and professional photographer across Gloucestershire will have one thing in common...a lot of very expensive camera equipment!
But is it necessary to spend a fortune to get a brilliant picture?
Whatever your camera, just get out there and give it a go - Rob says the important things are fieldwork and patience...
"Don't just go out and think I'm going to go out and take some pictures today. Think I'm going to go out and take a picture of a certain subject today.
"Research that subject, find where there'll be and make it come to you. Don't try and go to your subject because 9 times out of 10 you'll scare them away.
"Finally, be patient! If you're not patient, you're not going to get the picture".
Equipment (the expensive part!)
Here Rob details the equipment HE uses to capture wildlife.
Canon EOS 50E Film camera
"It was not cheap accumulating my gear, with the 100-400L lens costing £1000 on its own, but the enjoyment I get from it is ten fold."
Rob dreams of becoming a professional but with his full-time job, the expense of all the gear and of course his wife and two daughters, it will be a while before that plan becomes a reality.
Saying that, Mrs Ward is often grateful of the quiet house when Rob takes Alice, 12, and Louise, 9, out on one of his long walks!
"She likes to get rid of me sometimes because I get on her nerves" says Alice.
To listen to more from Alice and Louise, click on the link below:
There are many conservation projects you can get involved with around the Forest of Dean and even county-wide, but there are many other ways you can support and appreciate the wildlife in your area.
For Rob though, his favourite tool for doing just that has to be his camera...and judging by the results of this amateur, long may he keep on snapping.
More from The Nature of Britain:
last updated: 01/04/2008 at 09:07