My name is James Shooter and I have been volunteering at RSPB Birds Magazine as an editorial assistant for the past couple of months.  If you've written into the magazine recently, chances are I've responded to you (along with fellow volunteer Roger Bardell). 

I really enjoy reading through the varied emails you send in.  I answer your questions, read about what you've been up to and definitely learn a few new things myself.  I also love to see the fantastic photographs our readers have been taking and part of my work is the difficult task of helping to choose which of your great images to print. 

I'm a very keen nature photographer myself and I have been lucky enough to get images published in the national newspapers (including the front page of The Daily Telegraph in January) and also won a couple of awards including 2nd place in the student category of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards this year. 

I thought I'd use this blog as a way of sharing my experiences and images with you.  Over the coming weeks I will be posting some of my favourite photographs and offering hints and tips to hopefully inspire you to get out with your cameras even more and to keep sending in your stunning photos.  My first image looks at light:


Light is the most important factor in photography, it enables us to record what we see and the way we use it can produce very different images.  With photography you need to think about the quality of light, the direction and angle it's coming from, it's intensity and the colour temperature.  Here I've photographed a common species, in great light, and it makes all the difference. 

I visited this loch in the Cairngorms at sunset, which gave a nice warm cast to the evening colours.  The sun is positioned low in the sky and behind the subject which lights up the back of the bird instead of the front, creating a "rim-lit" effect around the edges of this mallard.  With a dark background behind, this rim-lit effect makes the shape of the duck stand out really well and offers a different perspective than a daylight shot.  Next time you're out with the camera, really think about light and the way you can use it.  Perhaps go out at sunrise or sunset instead of the middle of the day and challenge yourself to think about where your subject will receive the best lighting.

For more of my work you can visit my website at: or if you're on facebook you can like my page:

I'll be back on here next week with another photograph and more tips. 

Thanks for reading,