Canterbury Photographic Society
Russell Miles is a photographer based in Thanet and has devoted years of his life to documenting wildlife in his local area. He had, on a previous occasion, presented a talk on 'The Life of Hare' and members were keen to see this presentation titled 'Seals, Seascapes and other Wildlife'
First and foremost Russell is a wildlife conservationist. His main focus of interest is the Seal population who gather where the River Stour flows out via Sandwich and into the sea at Pegwell Bay. Constantly shifting sandbanks provide places for the seals to haul out and rest. His favourite time to observe their behaviour is at dawn when the quality of light produces some ethereal images of the seals both in and out of the water. He has become expert in predicting what the seals may do next and holds his nerve to capture that split second of action resulting in some dramatic images.
Russell shares many of his images with Wildlife Conservation Groups who monitor the health and condition of the animals as well as their environment. He reports to them about any concerns he may have about an individual seal's heath, accompanied by photographic evidence. An increasing number of grey and common seals around our shores are becoming entangled in plastics and discarded fishing gear. Russell showed images of seals who had tight rings of fishing wire or parts of lobster pots around their necks or fish hooks in their mouths. Some had large bite marks or boat propeller injuries but other images showed the well healed scars of previous injuries and intervention to help can only be given once the seal is becoming weak and able to be captured. Over the years he has raised thousands of pounds donating the fee for his talks to conservation groups resulting in the purchase either of vital equipment of packages of land to be developed as havens for wildlife.
Spending so much time at a safe distance waiting for the seals to accept him gives him ample opportunity to capture images of the seascapes and other wildlife in the area which added extra interest to his very educational and entertaining presentation.
Report in the Kentish Gazette