By developing your fieldcraft you will become more aware of the wildlife around you and get closer to it. A key objective is to become 'part of the scene'. It is a solitary exercise where you need to develop skills by 'doing'. It takes time. If you are recognised as a regular, non-threatening, 'part of the scene' a lot of wildlife takes no notice. Over time your will learn that many have a routine, the same hunting ground, a set trail and often at the same time of day.

Below are some of the hints and tips I have discovered and honed over many years, but more especially since 2007.

More hints and tips can be found on the South Today interview BBC South Today website.

Good luck.

The Approach
• work alone, if your age or situation allows, letting others know where you are
• approach quietly and gently
• know where you are treading
• keep your balance
• move slowly towards the subject, avoid sideways movement
• wear ‘quiet’ footwear
• do not wear bright colours, choose colours that match your surroundings; be part of the landscape
• avoid having anything flapping, such as a camera strap
• don't let your shadow give you away
• watch and wait, let the insects and animals come to you
• if an insect or animal moves away, just stop, watch it and see where it goes - then start again - even some insects are territorial and may return.
• look for the signs: trampled grass, droppings, holes in leaves, folded leaves, discoloured leaves, footprints
• be good at standing absolutely still or playing ‘statues’, if you spot something, consider the moment, then consider how to record the event.

• different insects and animals appear at different times of the day and night and in different conditions
• take a picture as soon as you can by zooming in; move forward (10 paces works well), take another; and so on... Seize your opportunities in the moment, you may never get the chance ever again.
• stay safe near: water, ditches, barbed wire, nettles, roads...
• ask permission if you wish to go on to private land
• take spare camera batteries
• know your equipment so that you can use it quickly and with one hand, if possible.

Half-eaten fish  (Select to close)
Pheasant footprints in snow (Select to close)
Thrush snail cemetery  (Select to close)