Elliott Neep - ‘Being a wildlife photographer is a dream come true” (Part 1)

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‘Being a wildlife photographer is a dream come true – I am literally living the dream. I travel around the world to wild lands and aim my lens at truly beautiful creatures and breathtaking scenes. It never grows old and it never gets dull, simply because it is always changing.’

Wildlife photographer

Description: Elliott Neep

Elliott Neep photographing from canvas hide, England, UK

Elliott Neep ( is a professional photographic explorer who embarks on some incredible adventures around the world. With an infectious passion for the wild and its inhabitants, Elliott’s love for what he does is without a doubt the driving force behind his hugely successful career. Leaving behind his desk job in IT over seven years ago, Elliott has since established himself as a recognised wildlife photographer, with his inspiring work being published in various mediums across the world – even featuring as part of Apple’s desktop image selection.

For Elliott, his work is a way of sharing the remarkable sights he has witnessed with others, ‘Since I began my career, I’ve really wanted to reveal the beauty in nature. Even if it’s a tiny beetle, I’ve aimed to make it look like a jewel so that somebody, somewhere would fell inspired by it.’ As Elliott’s career has progressed, so have his photographic goals, and he adds, ‘I now feel that I’m now standing on a cusp, looking at the natural world with a different eye. I’m turning away from pretty portraits and waiting to capture something raw, images with drama or life and death survival.’

Description: Massai Lion

Massai Lion

His regular excursions to the African continent provide plenty of opportunity to photograph the realities of the wild, as Elliott say.’ Africa is safari. It’s the home of wilderness adventures and it’s all because of the sheer immensity and raw nature of the wildlife that’s there. It’s not a place of fluffy birds and seals, or timid little hedgerow critters. It’s the land of the lion pride versus the hyena pack, the fastest land animal, the biggest land animal, the most elusive and beautiful leopard and so on. And if that isn’t enough, you also have the drama that unfolds in the vast open wildness with the dust and the storms and what is arguably the best light on the planet.’

Description: Black Rhinoceros in the Mara

Black Rhinoceros in the Mara

Out on the savannah, it’s the big cats that Elliott really thrives on photographing. He says, ‘The range of imagery you can capture in the single day is just phenomenal. Bring a few cats together, like a pride of lions or cheetah cubs, and it all explodes with drama, action, emotion and surprising unpredictability.’

It’s because of their capricious nature that Elliott recalls an encounter with a Bengal tiger in India as one of his most hair-raising experiences, ‘I was onboard an elephant looking for a rather bad-tempered tigress that had disappeared in the tall pampas grasses of the meadow. We found her seemingly asleep, until my girlfriend spotted something small crawling nearby – it was a cub. They were only a couple of weeks old and she was suckling while we watched. It was the most emotional scene I’ve witnessed. Then, without any notice, our elephant decided to rip up the grass from right underneath the tigress! She span over and leapt out the grass roaring and snarling. Our elephant span around with fright, both my girlfriend and I nearly fell off the top. The tigress withheld from an outright attack, but sat back and roared in our faces. My heart was hammering so hard, I only managed one photo of her snarling face before I demanded we leave. I was ashamed that our presence had caused this stress – the mahout however thought the whole scene rather amusing.’

Description: Emperor Penguins

Emperor Penguins

Even after many years of wilderness exploration, across 11 countries, there are still plenty of wild subjects on Elliott’s photo wish list. He says,’ Lemurs, wolves, jaguar, and mountain lion are all high up on my must-photograph list. But if I have to pick just one animal to photograph right now, it would be the Arctic wolf. As much as I love cats, the Arctic wolf is still the epitome of the wild.’

As a career choice, the genre of wildlife photography is notoriously hard to break into. Elliott’s suggestion to enthusiasts is to get in as much practise as possible. He says, ‘Practise doesn’t mean waiting for your yearly safari, or the weekend wildlife workshop. If you wish to make a career out of it then you need constant practise so that you know your equipment inside out and can operate in the dark, or even without moving the camera away from your face. You also need to become as much of a naturalist as a photographer and learn all you can about your subjects. This is the only way to gain that extra insight in order to anticipate the action and behaviour for great wildlife photographs.’

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