Tom with one of his Light Sussex Hens.
Last week I was really excited to welcome local photographer, Tom on to the farm. Tom takes the most amazing photographs, documenting country life, wildlife, his chickens and his garden. Tom publishes his work on his beautifully curated Instagram 'Gnowangerup Cottage'. I am so in awe of Tom's photographs that I got in touch with him to see if he would like to take pictures of Highland Cattle! Amazingly he said yes and I can't believe how perfectly he captured the cattle and the chickens here on my family farm! I also took the opportunity to have a quick chat with Tom and find out more about the inspiration behind his work.
Where did your idea for starting your blog and instagram‘Gnowangerup Cottage’ first come from?
I was encouraged to start an Instagram account by a friend who thought I should document the 'good life' that I was living with the vegetable garden, foraging and living in a cottage with only wood burners for heat! It has slowly turned into more of a wildlife account, but still has links to gardening and country life every now and again.
How long have you been interested in photography?
Not that long really! It kind of developed alongside my Instagram account. Once my account focused more on wildlife I was inspired by other great accounts to get better equipment. I still have a wish list as long as my arm of equipment so hopefully my photography will keep on improving.
What is your main source of inspiration?
This is a difficult question, I guess I am inspired by the great nature accounts on Instagram who have raised the bar high in tea of nature photography. Also I really feel inspired by the great BBC nature documentaries like Planet Earth and Blue Planet whose filming is absolutely stunning.
You have to be one of the most patient people EVER to have captured some of your wildlife photographs! How do you do it?
Some of my photographs have been luck, and I’ve come across them when walking along or almost straight away so no patience has been needed! When I have had to wait, I often use my phone to pass the time or I visualise where a bird might land so I am ready to take the picture quickly. I also find it a good time to zone out and reflect or to work out my problems.
You are used to being surrounded by chickens as you have your own… but how was working with and photographing Highland cattle?
What can I say?! Highlands and their calves are particularly photogenic, so in that sense they are a breeze to photograph! I have had exposure to Highlands before through the farm attached to my work and always found them good natured, but even still there was a moment when they started running I felt very small, and another where I found myself face to face with a bull!
Do you have a favourite image that you have taken since starting Gnowangerup Cottage?
Following advice from big Instagram accounts, I have been trying to post only my best pictures and not clutter up my grid with ‘fillers’. This means that I really like all the pictures I post, but saying this my current favourite is of the three fox cubs I stumbled across on the old railway line, more of which is on my blog.
One of Tom's favourite photographs he has captured.
Is there somewhere in the world you would most like to visit to capture a specific image?
I have a wish list of places to visit with my camera, for both scenery and wildlife. In terms of scenery I really want to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights and the Faroe Islands to photograph the Drangarnir sea stacks. I would also love to visit the Norwegian Lofoten Islands.
In terms of wildlife I really want to visit the Farne Islands to get an image of a Puffin with sand eels in its beak, and to head to Finland to get a Great Grey Owl in the snow.
I would like to say a BIG thank you to Tom for visiting my farm and capturing and depicting rural life and the inspirations behind my designs. If you would like to see more of Tom's work follow him on Instagram and take a look at his blog!
Instagram - @gnowangerup_cottage
Blog - https://gnowangerupcottage.wordpress.com
I am Izzi, farmer’s daughter and textile designer at IzziRainey. If I am not designing or sewing you will find me out in the farmyard with my cattle. I am constantly seeking inspiration for my prints, not that I have to look very far. Growing up on the farm, I have always been influenced by my surroundings and this combined with my passion for farming is what inspires my designs. I love spending time on the farm but I also enjoy learning about other people’s animals, passions and stories, which are also influential to my design process. I hope you enjoy reading ‘Over the Farm Gate’