Tony Sparkes South African Wildlife Photographer
EACH DAY I STRIVE TO LEARN AND PHOTOGRAPH THE NATURAL WORLD WHICH SURROUNDS ME
Hey, it's not just about me. I want us to get to know each other.
Let me start.
Well if you really want to know the secret inner me, I think I should start by saying say that I am a lover of ‘Carrot Cake’ and ‘Skinny Cappuccino’, opposing ends of the calorific scale I know but that’s me, we like what’s not always conventional? Our favourite things may be very different but that should not stop us from at least trying them out, like my photography. I like to express myself in many different ways, experiment and try new genres and photo techniques and see what works.
Well, I guess you really want to know about me and how it started.
Being a Brit, a bit cliché I know but back in the early seventies African wildlife documentaries and holiday programs about safaris in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, for example, adorned our televisions, the wide open spaces and many wild animals on the vast continental plains of Africa fascinated me to a degree it’s hard to express, but the fire was lit.
What about your wildlife and nature photography?
A good friend of mine back in the UK many years ago encouraged me in the art of light, the art of photography. My first camera was an Olympus OM1 from there I started experimenting, taking wildlife and nature images wherever and whenever possible.
So you went on to make a career as a wildlife photographer?
No, not exactly, now living in South Africa my career over the last 40 years was as an engineer in mechanical and electrical construction management. Luckily that career has allowed me to live and travel extensively to some of the diverse wildlife places around the globe. Africa, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Caribbean, for example, which gave me the opportunity to combine my engineering career while practising and honing my wildlife and nature photography skills. Nearly 40 years on and I am still learning about photography and the world’s wildlife.
An Englishman in South Africa how did that come about
I met my wife Glenda, a South African whilst I was working in Cairo. As we share so much of the same interests, loved to travel, meet new people and experience new cultures, it seemed logical after we were married to base our home on such a diverse continent like Africa. We chose South Africa particularly and in the heart of the South African ‘Bushveld’ Hoedspruit in Limpopo, a small town near the world-famous Kruger National Park.
What have you achieved from your passion for wildlife and photography?
I suppose we must define ”achieved”. I have had a few photographs published over the years but that has not been my main focus since moving to South Africa. With so much to learn about the bush, not only the animals and the birds but ”how does” and ”why do” types of questions soon started to arise in conversations with others in the guiding profession.
Therefore, in 2009 I undertook a year-long FGASA (Fields Guides Association Southern Africa) course, FGASA being Southern Africa’s field guiding governing body. Becoming a professional qualified South African field guide was one of my life’s great achievements. My wildlife photography, however, really developed (excuse the pun) outside of my close circle of friends, through the current social media craze. In April 2017 after many requests from people I had never heard of, people like you, who were wanting more regular wildlife postings, I started African Wildlife and Nature Photographs (now Tony Sparkes Wildlife and Photographic Safaris) Facebook page to showcase some of my work and share my knowledge based on my wildlife and nature postings with you, the African and wildlife loving, general public.
So finally, what are your hopes for this website?
I want to be able to further expose to you, the wider worldwide audience, either through my photo safaris and guided wildlife safaris or birding tours, even my blog eventually, to realise the wonders of the natural world that surround us. Encourage your participation in and involve as many people as possible in exploring and asking ”how does” and ”why do” in their own natural environments that surround them.
To share with you my enthusiasm and knowledge of wildlife and nature photography and the natural world (especially Southern Africa) gained through my own experiences over the years. Finally, help you to achieve your own personal goals and to be successful in that quest.
Well, you know about me, if you want to keep up with what I am doing then check out my regular ‘Safari Buddies’ blog or why not subscribe to my Safari Buddies monthly journal, get my new tour announcements first, updated wildlife and photo safari information as it becomes available. Photography tips and tricks each month to help you improve your photographic workflow. Travel news across the world and early-bird discounts and specials to help you save some $$.
I hope I come to know a bit more about you in the not too distant future. If you have any queries or questions on any part of this site or would just like to chat about wildlife (particularly Southern African) or wildlife photography in general (we love to chat) please contact us, otherwise, enjoy your day, I hope we can catch up soon..