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I cannot put 2020 into one word. It has been more of a mixture of several words... At times, it has been crap, but at others it has been inspirational and exciting. We have all had things taken away from us, and plans cancelled this year. Some more than others, but realistically everyone has 'suffered' in some form or another. It is much easier to say that we will survive this pandemic than to actually trust we will, although I firmly believe that together we are stronger than we were this time last year. Stronger both mentally and physically.

VWH Hound

So looking back on my year, there has been significant change! A-Levels, Uni, Photography. Everything that happened was not planned in the slightest and was definitely not depicted in my head, mainly my photography. As I have spoken about in the past, I liked photography - it was something that I enjoyed now and then. I had my Nikon D3500 (which I still use now) and a standard lens. Now and then I would go out and take pictures of a few sports or a few sheep without a goal in mind. I didn't appreciate what I was photographing, which is why I didn't get as much enjoyment out of it. This is the first major lesson I learn from Covid-19 - love what you do, or don't do it! I think this again something much easier said than done. I don't always appreciate standing in the cold and wet and then having to drive home for several hours after a meet or a shoot, but 90% of the time I love what I do. I found something that I enjoyed and I pursued it. I will never be in a position to claim I am the greatest Field Sports Photographer ever, I don't think anyone can claim that. Everyone has different styles and techniques to their photography. No two photographs are the same. But I know at the end of the day that I gave everything I had to that photograph. This is the second thing I learned - if you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. There is zero point doing it half-hearted.

Aiden Tummey - Ludlow 2nd Whipper In 2018-2021

So from that those two lessons - enjoy what you do and do it to the best of your ability, I set out on a mission to be the best I could be in my field of choice. Hunting. Hunting is new to me... I had never properly been on a hunt before the 1st September 2020. I'd heard about them but I knew nothing about them. It was new and an opportunity for me to learn. Having photographed racehorses in the summer of 2020, I decided it wasn't enough for me. I enjoyed it yes, but I wanted more involvement. Field Sports gave me that opportunity to be involved in the hunt or the shoot and get stuck in with the keepers, or hunt staff. I made friends, spoke to interesting people and learnt a hell of a lot from simply learning how to speak to people.

Kimblewick Huntsman - Andrew Sallis and Kennel Huntsman - Ben Higgins

So now the photography bit... I used my camera to talk to people. I viewed it as my invite into situations. It gave me something to talk about, and I began to meet people wanting to talk to me about it. Much of the time photography is about being in the right place at the right time. You might have all the time in the world to set up your camera, get into the perfect position, but sometimes it doesn't work out - your photo is over exposed or your shutter speed wasn't quick enough... it is hit-and-miss most of the time, until you have the experience under your belt. Me... I've not even got six months under my belt.

Photography is a career that will teach me something new daily, which is why I love it. So as you go into 2021, make sure you enjoy what you're doing and do it to the best of your ability. Fingers crossed for 2021... may the sounds of the hounds live on.

Ludlow Hounds


Hattie Austin Sport Photographer
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