I have always had a fascination with great crested grebes; they are good looking, they have some amazing behaviors and their chicks are the cutest things on the planet. Even so, I have never really spent a significant period of time with any. I travelled to Holland to set this straight. Great crested grebes are common throughout both Britain and Holland so there are plenty of images of them. I wanted my images to be different from those gone before. I decided that if I was going to have any chance at achieving this aim, I had to get both very low and very close- I had to get in the water. Obtaining permission to do this in the UK is difficult whereas in Holland I had a location where it was acceptable.

I chose to focus my efforts on one particular pair: they were used to human noise and movements as for the last few years they had nested near to a section of river with regular boat traffic. Whilst they were very used to humans on the water, they had never seen a human in the water so at first they were very tentative. Each day I edged closer, studying the birds for any sign of stress. It was crucial that I didn’t rush this process as if disturbed; the grebes would abandon the nest. Furthermore, I wouldn’t get any images. After spending 7 hours a day for 7 days in the water, the grebes relaxed and regularly fished around my feet within my lenses minimum focus distance of 2m. This was great as I had an excuse to put the camera down (not literally or it would have got very wet) and enjoy the show. Unfortunately my waders leaked so whilst each session started dry, I may as well have been in a wetsuit by the time I got out 7 hours later.