This is my blog about my wildlife photography partnership with marine-conservation charity Sea-Changers. For my main blog please click HERE .
My name is James Roddie and I am a wildlife and landscape photographer based on the Black Isle in Scotland. I sell images and write articles for magazines, with a particular focus on the wildlife and wild places of the Highlands.
I live on the shores of the Inner Moray Firth – one of the best places in the world to watch bottlenose dolphins from land. During the summer months I spend a great deal of time photographing the dolphins from the world-famous Chanonry Point, which I’m lucky enough to have only a 5 minute drive away. Observing the daily activities of these dolphins week after week is extraordinary and it has heavily influenced my outlook on the world around me.
The bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth.
I have had some remarkable experiences whilst photographing marine wildlife. To see the new calf of a dolphin which you have been watching almost every day for months is deeply touching, and seeing my first ever whale is still as fresh in my mind as the day it happened. However I have also seen many things that worry and disturb me. My teenage years were spent on the Suffolk coast – a place known for its nature reserves and high-quality coastal habitats. Over the years I spent dozens of evenings exploring the mouth of one particular estuary – a great place to watch birds and learn how to use a camera. One day when I was 14 years old I finally noticed something gapingly obvious that somehow had escaped my attention. Over a mile-long stretch of beach there was barely a square metre of ground that didn’t contain some kind of plastic or litter washed up by the sea. It stirred something inside me, and since then I have become deeply concerned about our relationship with the natural world.
Our relationship with cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoises) is still a very unbalanced one, and these animals are still exploited, mistreated and killed in many areas of the world. But this issue is just one of countless problems concerning our seas and oceans. Some people argue too much emphasis is put on the ‘glamorous’ species such as dolphins and whales, when so much that is wrong with marine environments concerns the less obvious and less visible things. But change is inspired by understanding, and understanding only comes if people are interested. One of the main reasons I photograph the Moray Firth dolphins is to try and encourage people to learn more about the wider issues concerning our seas.
There are so many simple things that all of us can do that will help the condition of our seas – making responsible choices about what we eat, not buying ‘one-use’ plastic bags at the supermarket, reducing our family’s use of chemical cleaning products, decreasing the amount of food we waste. Through my photography I aim to inspire people about our seas and coastlines and hopefully encourage them to take more of an interest in how they can help.
I’m excited to be starting blogging for Sea-Changers. I will be posting images, issues and stories surrounding the Moray Firth with a particular focus on the resident bottlenose dolphins, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all.