Natural Inspiration



Professional photographer, Will Bolton tells Living Art how so much beauty is so close to home...

With Summer upon us, there is no better time to be outdoors. For those creatively inspired by nature, the lighter, longer days, new growth and rich colours are a visual feast. To satisfy my need to photograph this season, I get out into my local area, visiting Nature Reserves or National Parks. Sometimes I plan, other times I simply walk, look and listen.
With the simplest of research I can establish which flowers, insects, birds and mammals can be found at each site and when to see them. The Wildlife Trusts, offer guides to most of their 2,200 reserves. A quick look at their website ( will reveal just how many there are close to home. As I tend to specialise in wildflower photography, timing is essential, so choosing to visit a reserve within a short drive from my house is a huge advantage. We can visit the far flung places of the globe with infinite ease today, and while I consider the environmental impact of this, I also believe that by visiting your local area, the woods, fields, meadows, rivers and mountains, you are more likely to produce an authentic, heart felt image than some fleeting shot from exotic location. My greatest successes have resulted from being able to return time and again, year after year to the same location.

This gives me a chance to know the area and my subject intimately and to consider new ways to photograph it. The endangered Snake's Head Fritillary, a gorgeous wildflower that grows in handful of wetland meadows in the south of England, is something I have been photographing for the past seven years, and because of these repeat visits I have been able to observe how my style and technique has evolved.

Far from planning every photographic trip, other successes are born from more fleeting moments while out walking or visiting new places. These are moments when I look for the unfamiliar in the familiar, seeking things I would normally take for granted. A love for the colour of evening light and backlighting, tends to reveal an endless list of suitable subjects. In many ways my love of nature photography is derived from these unplanned rambles.
Nature photography is best achieved getting out there and looking, but I have found over the years that seeking inspiration in other photographer's work helps me to consider new subjects and develop new ideas based on composition, equipment and style. Your local patch, whether urban or rural holds a wealth of potential, but even more opportunities will arise if you utilise the resources that are on your doorstep, such as your local Wildlife Trust. This is of course how I started, so I can do nothing more than encourage you to do the same. 

Currently based in North Somerset, William Bolton has been living the life of a photographer for almost 8 years. Having first been introduced to a 35mm SLR whilst studying a BSc in Biological Imaging at the University Derby his passion has kept on growing. William's main subject matters are wild flowers and plants.