My Outdoors Q&A: Andy Howard, wildlife photographer and author
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Name: Andy Howard
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you normally do.
I’m a full-time wildlife photographer, author and photography guide. My time is divided between wildlife photography projects, most recently focusing on otters, and running tours and workshops, primarily in the Hebrides, Shetland and the Cairngorms. I have guests travel from across the globe to photograph the wonderful wildlife we have here in Scotland.
Lastly, I write books and articles. My first two books were on mountain hares and the wildlife found in and around the Cairngorms. My third book, which I’m currently working on, is on otters and is scheduled for publication in 2021. I also travel the country promoting the books, attending book signings and giving lectures.
One thing is for sure: my chosen career path is varied and never boring!
Where are you based/where do you live?
I live close to Inverness airport, overlooking the Black Isle where I grew up.
How have you been filling the void of the great outdoors during lockdown and what has been the biggest change for you?
I’ve been keeping busy with selecting and processing the images for my upcoming otter book and writing. Choosing the images is no easy task when I have over 10,000 images of otters to choose from – it’s akin to having to choose your favourite child!
The biggest change for me is having time on my hands. In more normal times, I’d be rushing about running tours or doing talks; to be honest it’s been nice to be able to sit back and take stock and plan for the future.
What are you missing most about the freedom of the outdoors just now?
I’m really missing my beloved mountain hares. I’ve been photographing them for a decade, and this is the longest period of time I’ve had without paying a visit to them.
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Have you found any positives in lockdown?
Sure: honing my baking skills! All jokes aside, it’s been nice to have the time to concentrate on the more mundane tasks I’ve neglected for far too long.
What is the first place you plan to visit, or route you plan to do, once lockdown restrictions are eased to the point we can travel more freely?
That’s an easy one – I have no hesitation in answering that. It will be a walk in the Cairngorms, where I can catch up with all my favourite species – mountain hares, ptarmigan and dotterel.
What event or events are you looking forward to once things are up and running again, whenever that might be?
Meeting up with friends and other photographers, and simply interacting with others will be nice.
Do you have a favourite outdoors book or author?
The author who has inspired me the most is Mike Tomkies. He gave up life as a journalist in Hollywood, settling in a remote cottage on the shores of Loch Sheil with no power or television, totally off the grid. In his books he recounts his adventures and encounters with eagles, wildcats and pine martens to name a few.
- Andy Howard's latest book, The Secret Life of the Mountain Hare, is out in paperback this week from Sandstone Press.
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