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Birmingham’s Aspiring Wildlife Photographer: The Story of Mark O’Neill

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My name is Mark O’Neill and I’m a wildlife photographer based out of Birmingham UK with a big aim in becoming the leading wildlife photographer in Birmingham.

My photography journey started out after serving 6 years in the British armed forces as an infanteer with our local regiment the Mercian regiment, and after finally putting down the rifle I soon needed something to replace it with, something to keep me outdoors, active and also help re adjust back to civilian life which I and many other ex-servicemen find difficult. I then replaced my rifle with a Fujifilm mirrorless camera and went from shooting rounds to shooting wildlife images.

Birmingham's Aspiring Wildlife Photographer: The Story of Mark O'Neill
credit: Mark O’Neill

I’ve always had a passion for wildlife and wildlife conservation and so wildlife photography soon began to quickly take over all of my spare time and within just two years I’ve had images published in newspapers across the country and with the likes of big camera giants like Jessops and even BBC earth which you can find on their socials. Although honing my camera skills wasn’t easy and took a massive amount of practice and patience, I’m proud to say that my camera skills and extensive wildlife knowledge is all self taught and I hope to inspire people to spend more time in our beautiful natural areas and even to try learn something new, you just never know what direction it will take you.

I have now pursued a fast-paced lifestyle travelling and working with wildlife and taking wildlife photography and after just spending a one year on the Isle of Skye working on boats taking people out to sea on wildlife tours, I then had a strange yet educational and rewarding opportunity in aiding in the recovery of 12 stranded dolphin in Scotland and after a successful haul I’m now waiting on training next summer to become a marine life medic. And so After following a passion my life’s now heading in all new and exciting directions, with the newest opportunity in brisking the cold winter working in Finland to see what wildlife wonders await me and I’m super excited for what’s to come.

credit: Mark O’Neill

So why wildlife photography?

It requires a lot of patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the animal kingdom but the hard work results are more than worth it. As a wildlife photographer, its my job is to capture the essence of the animal species I’m photographing and to bring its story to life through the lens. Wildlife photographers must also have a deep respect, love and understanding for animals as It’s nice coming away with great images but it’s also important to be able to observe and appreciate them in their natural habitat without disturbing them or their routines. By doing so, not only will I be able to capture even more beautiful images, but it will also be contributing towards the conservation of these magnificent creatures. And so by capturing the beauty and diversity of our natural world and wildlife, I can only hope my images can inspire others to appreciate and protect our natural world that little bit more.

So, if your also interested in what’s to come or interested in seeing my images or are looking for something in particular or just simply want to know more about photography please don’t hesitate to reach out on my social media page @mark_escapades_photography on Instagram as I’d love to connect, share and hopefully inspire people with my story to do more of what they love and reconnect with this wonderful rock we call home.

Written by Mark O’Neill

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