Fusion Art is pleased to feature award-winning artist, Nick Dale, in its “A Day in the Life” series. In this series of Artist Showcases, the gallery reveals the “typical” day of many of its award-winning artists.
Nick is an award-winning photographer based in London, UK. He has won numerous awards in Fusion Art’s online art competitions as well as been featured in the gallery’s Artist Spotlight solo art series.
Below please find, in Nick’s own words, the answers to 12 questions about him, his art and his “typical” day as he gives us a glimpse into his artistic life.
How do you start your day?
Most of my photographic trips are to Africa, so I generally start with a morning game drive.
How many days a week do you work on your art?
If I'm in Africa, I go on game drives morning and evening every day.
Do you have a home studio or do you go to an outside studio to work? Which do you prefer and why?
I don't have a studio - other than the Masai Mara or maybe the Serengeti...!
What kind of art do you create?
I take photographs that I then sell through stock agencies and galleries.
Walk us through your “typical” day?
On safari, I'll wake up at around 0530, get dressed, take my Nikon D810 and D850 with my 80-400 and 800mm lenses and head off on a morning game drive just before dawn. If I'm with Paul Goldstein at Kicheche Bush Camp, we'll generally look for a leopard or try and find a cheetah or two. I once saw five cheetah kills in a week with him, so he knows his stuff! We'll have a 'bush breakfast' in my favourite outdoor restaurant - the Masai Mara! - and then head home around midday. After lunch, I'll work on my photos until it is time for the afternoon game drive around 1600 or 1630. That usually lasts until around 1900, and then I'll just have time for a bucket shower before drinks and dinner. I'll usually be in bed by 2200.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Wildlife photography is an expensive business, so I can never afford to go on as many trips as I'd like. Fortunately, I've picked up a few assignments as the 'resident photographer' at safari lodges in Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania, and that means I can swap copies of the pictures I take for free board and lodging and daily game drives. Bargain of the century! Spending time with the animals is the most important part of my job, so it helped being able to spend four months in Africa in 2019.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I just like producing great pictures. The experiences themselves are great, and I'll always remember seeing my first cheetah kill or watching the bears catch salmon at Brooks Falls, but what makes me happiest (and proudest) are my pictures.
What do you enjoy the least?
I really don't enjoy the 'travel' part of travelling. The kinds of animals I want to photograph tend to live a long haul flight away, so it takes an age to get there, and I don't like the stress and worry of the airport experience. I never know if some rule or regulation will stop me from taking my camera bag on board as hand luggage, and I was once almost prevented from getting on the plane as I didn't have my yellow fever vaccination card on me! The Covid lockdown was particularly bad, and when I flew to Namibia in October 2020, the lab actually lost my test sample, so I couldn't board my flight to Windhoek and ended up stranded in Frankfurt for two days!
Do you have any mentors?
I'm pretty much self-taught, but I've been on a few trips with Paul Goldstein to Kicheche, Tadoba in India and Svalbard, and I've learned a lot every time either because of him or in spite of him - I can never really tell!
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Yes, the main problem is that I'm always travelling alone. The only photographic trip I've ever been on with friends was a visit to a safari park in northern Spain called Cabárceno. That was great, but it was only a long weekend. The rest of the time, you have to make friends on the job. Having said that, the people I generally meet on safari are friendly, intelligent and successful, and we all share an interest in wildlife, so I've had some great conversations on game drives and back at camp.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I guess I'd have to thank Paul Goldstein for teaching me the 'slow pan'. I tried it out first on Svalbard, but it wasn't easy. I took 1,504 slow pan shots of seabirds including kittiwakes and guillemots, and I only kept four! However, it's a great technique for capturing energy and excitement in action shots.
What inspires you?
I have to confess that I don't generally like other people's pictures, so it is hard to be inspired by them. I once went to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year show at the Natural History Museum and out of the 150 pictures on display, chosen from 150,000 entries, I only liked 12! That means I have to rely on picking up tips in the field or from online magazines such as ePHOTOzine. Practice makes perfect, I guess...!
Thank you, Nick, for sharing a peek into your life as an artist!
Below are 4 of Nick’s award winning pieces. To learn more about Nick and see more of his work please visit his website.
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