In our latest blog post focusing on photographers featured in this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards, we spoke to Jan Galko about his work.
Can you tell us the story behind your photo in this exhibition?
For this particular shot, I just went out as usual with my camera ready. This picture was taken at one of my favourite local places - the River Anton near Andover. I was fascinated by a pair of swans that were building a nest, fiercely protecting any potential invaders. The wire stretched across the river meant that not all of the chased intruders escaped unscathed. As I was born in central Europe the barbed wire is somehow symbolic for me.
Jan Galko's 'The Last Song' features in this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards in the 'Close to Nature' category, Jan Galko
Did you use any particular equipment or software?
Camera Nikon D7100. Lens Sigma 150- 500mm. Photoshop. A pair of wellies.
What are your favourite scenes, species or motivations behind your photographs?
I have not got a fixed idea as to what I am going to photograph when I leave the house. I am always prepared to be surprised and am grateful for little opportunities that offer themselves to me. The basic criteria for a good photo is good light and composition. But to really feel happy, the photo needs to have a meaning.
What are the difficulties of wildlife and nature photography that you face?
Juggling between my day job and my hobby proves quite difficult at times. I try to seize every moment I have and go out with a camera. Other than that, I also find frustrating the boundaries created by private land. Just as everything is coming together; I have the subject, the perfect light, all I need is to tweak the angle or come a bit closer and the big private sign gets in the way. To set the record straight, so far I have always stayed within the law.
What would you like people to think about when they see your work?
I think, just as with any other form of art, I would like people to come away having discovered something new for themselves. That all that they need to do is to look around them as there is a wealth of beauty all around us.
How long have you been a photographer and how did you get started?
My background is in the fine arts, with a particular interest in landscape painting. My passion for photography only really came into with the introduction of digital colour photography.
What would you advise someone wanting to start taking photos of wildlife or nature in their local environment?
What projects are you working on now or have coming up?
One of my dreams is to capture the misty atmosphere - there is a picture that I painted in my mind: the perfect moment when the balance between sun and condensation in the air results in a myriad of colours and only lasts for a few seconds. This is my next challenge.
Other than that, I enjoy taking pictures of other photographers at work - peculiar creatures, contortionist aren't they?