Winter can give the countryside a beautiful new persona. Frosty mornings, vivid green holly against a piercing blue sky with just, perhaps, the chance sighting of a roe deer. It's these glimpses of nature at play that Norfolk-based farmer and photographer Chris Knights, patiently waits to capture on film.
With an international reputation as both a wildlife photographer and film maker, Chris is also a winner of British Birds magazine's prestigious Bird Photographer Of The Year Award.
In his only exhibition this year, Chris' work returns to Pensthorpe near Fakenham, in a stunning display of British wildlife photographs. He admits that his camera is never far away.
"I've always got my camera with me as there are always things to photograph. The day I don't take my camera out is when I always see something really exciting," he said.
"There are some real honey pots in Norfolk for photography. The Wash is excellent as the tides bring you the waders and geese, but it doesn't really matter where you are.
|Heron at Cley (detail)|
"Norfolk is one of the best counties in England for wildlife photography and could be one of the best in Europe as far as I'm concerned," he added.
A well-known farmer and conservationist, Chris supports farming practices that encourage some of Britain's rarest wildlife to flourish on his land and the surrounding area. This has provided a number of photographic opportunities for his exhibition.
"I've got around 60 pictures on display. I've got a shot a stone curlew in flight which I'm very pleased with. The curlew is quite an elusive bird with only around 160 pairs breeding in the British Isles. To capture one in flight, on film, is really quite rare," he said.
Born in King's Lynn, Chris has lived in Norfolk all his life but has travelled extensively around the world with his passion for photographing both familiar and more exotic wildlife.
This exhibition at Pensthorpe, entitled Wild Britain, focuses on the incredible wealth of wildlife that we have in the British Isles - from the wilds of Scotland to the heart of Norfolk.
"The curlew I mentioned is probably my favourite shot from Norfolk, or it could be the pink-footed geese going to roost on The Wash," he said.
"I think the reason why people like wildlife pictures so much is because there's a craving to be part of the natural world. We're all living in concrete and surrounded by motorcars. People seem to like the wildlife pictures as it's a return to nature, an escape from the urban world around us," he added.
Wild Britain can be viewed at Pensthorpe until Tuesday 4 January, 2005. For more details call 01328 863628.