FARMER-TURNED-PHOTOGRAPHER DISCUSSES HIS PASSION FOR LANDSCAPES AND WILDLIFE

by AMIT ROY

DAVID WHITE, a 70-year-old farmer from Wiltshire turned amateur photographer who went trekking in Nepal for a month, has returned with some stunning images of the Himalayan country.

“I was there to try to photograph the wonderful landscapes, the mountains, the flora and fauna, also the people and rural life,” he said.

“I also wanted to photograph the stars, particularly as we were there with a new moon,” added White, who ended up trekking some 200 miles. “This means no moon, which makes it much better for photographing stars. The Milky Way was stunning, forming a complete arc across the skies.”

He also wanted to photograph the elusive monal, which is Nepal’s national bird. It is also called the ‘bird of nine colours’.

“They love digging in the potato fields,” he said. “However, as soon as you get anywhere near, they disappear from view very quickly. The local farmers do not appreciate them in their fields.

“After many attempts, I did finally manage to get some photos, after a very long stalk under the cover of the walls surrounding the fields.”

White explained: “In order to get a good view of Everest, you have to trek very high up into the mountains. Wild rhododendrons in full flower and the rhododendron campanulate were especially lovely. A stunning sunrise over Everest will be remembered for a long time.”

White is the fourth generation of his family to have farmed in Wiltshire, on the edge of the Marlborough Downs. After handing over management of the family acres to his son Edward 10 years ago, he took up photography as the perfect way to explore his lifelong passion for the natural beauty on his doorstep.

“Ever since I was a child I have wanted to know more about the wonderful wildlife and landscapes of the Marlborough Downs,” said White, who feels photography and wildlife go hand in hand.

“I still feel that moment of complete joy when I stand on top of the Downs and look around the views that seem to last for ever,” he said. “There will be kestrels hovering and kites soaring high in the sky. If there is heaven on earth, it is this.”

He now travels the world taking photographs. The Nepal trip gave him the chance of “total immersion” in landscapes of breathtaking beauty. But he stressed such photography demands infinite patience and persistence.

Earlier this year he went to Hokkaido, an island to the north of Japan, particularly fascinated by the red-crowned cranes. His photographs of the birds recall the spare minimalist lines of traditional Japanese prints.

For students of photography, White said: “I have used Canon cameras and lens for the last 10 years. However, I am just trying a new Olympus camera. It is a Micro Four Thirds camera.”

n A solo exhibition of David White’s Nepal and other photographs will be held at the Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU, from September 17 to October 3.