Five years on, the mum-of-two, whose stunning photographs have already earned her a reputation as one of her profession’s true high flyers now travels the world to capture the scenes that command the viewer’s attention.
“I can’t believe the impact that digital camera has made on my life,” recalled Lesley, as she relaxed in the studio that adjoins her spacious Edwardian home at Stretton near Warrington. “When it was presented to me by my other half Steve, I was really surprised.
“I was a keen photographer from my early childhood, encouraged by my father and brother who were keen amateur photographers. In those days we used the family bathroom as a dark room to develop the films we used.
“But digital photography was relatively new to me and now I had this smart new camera I decided to use it. I started taking a few shots of people and places and before long I was hooked. I even found myself entering photographic competitions – and winning!”
As time went on, Lesley’s interest in photography deepened and she considered turning her hobby into a new career. After completing a professional training course Lesley Wood Photography was born.
Lesley was soon busy with portrait work and wedding photography but it was a commission to photograph eleven newly born Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppies that would send her business into a new direction.
Lesley won a national photographic award for the line-up of eleven adorable pups and it wasn’t long before other pet commissions came flooding in.
“I dropped the wedding photography and concentrated on people and their pets, mostly involving dogs, which was strange really because I had not been a dog person when I was younger.
“My shots managed to capture the bond between people and their beloved pets. Soon people were asking me to photograph their horses – now equine photography is a hugely important part of my business. My equine photography is not show ring photography – it’s all about capturing relationships between horse and owner and producing beautifully artistic pictures.”
As a result, Lesley’s interest in animal photography grew so much so that she decided she would like to capture images of animals in the wild. And that led to her embarking on a series of photographic safaris around the globe.
She completed two overseas trips in 2010, first to Botswana and Zimbabwe in Africa, where she captured dramatic images of lions, elephants, giraffe and zebra in the wild. After which she went onto India later in the same year.
Then she joined an expedition to Ecuador where she visited the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon rainforest in May 2011. Lesley captured images of elephants, lions, hippos, crocodiles and leopards in Kenya last year and earlier this year she flew out to the Camargue in the South of France where she photographed the legendary wild horses of the region.
“My wildlife photography from my various expeditions is marketed under my other business name, Wild Earth Fine Art Photography,”
“My travels have also illustrated, only too clearly, how endangered many species are in the 21st century. We all have a responsibility to protect these wild animals and their habitats. That’s why I support charities like Elephants for Africa and the World Land Trust.”
Lesley now makes a donation to various wildlife charities from sales of special limited edition prints while her photographs continue to attract prestigious awards. She was presented with five gold awards for her animal, wildlife and fine art photography by the SWPP, the international society of photographers in July and August this year.
And two of her photographs reached the finals of the 2012 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
“I’m flattered by these awards but they’re not the reason I decided to enter the world of photography,”
“I feel extremely privileged to be able to witness the scenes of natural beauty that the majority will never witness.”
For further information click onto: www.lesleywoodphotography.co.uk or www.wildearthfineart.com