Search

Award-winning photographer records Hampstead Heath’s wildlife and changing scenery

16:22 28 August 2014

Grebes on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Matt Maran

Grebes on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Matt Maran

Archant

Globe-trotting snapper Matt Maran spent hours in the chilly waters of a Hampstead Heath pond to capture these stunning shots of great crested grebes feeding and caring for their young.

Matt Maran gets into the water to photograph grebes. Picture: Adrian BrookerMatt Maran gets into the water to photograph grebes. Picture: Adrian Brooker

The award-winning wildlife and landscape photographer has travelled the world in search of rare animals and remote terrain, producing work for the likes of BBC Wildlife magazine and National Geographic.

But last year he embarked on an ambitious project far closer to home – to record the diverse wildlife and changing scenery of Hampstead Heath.

The grebe photos were taken in the Men’s Bathing Pond in June and July.

The 37-year-old made about 15 separate visits, clad in a wetsuit and standing shoulder-deep in the pond for an hour each time, his camera raised just above the water, to meet the birds at their own level.

His efforts resulted in startling images of them ferrying chicks on their backs, swallowing whole crayfish, and catching perch to feed their offspring.

Mr Maran said: “The grebes are so used to people being around them, so they were not disturbed by my presence.

“When one caught a red swamp crayfish and swallowed it whole right in front of me – that was quite a sight.

“It took about three or four minutes to get the thing into the right position to swallow – that was definitely the most exciting moment.”

Ex-Fortismere pupil Mr Maran, who hails from East Finchley but now lives in Tottenham, is hoping to produce the first high quality photography book dedicated to the Heath.

With the blessing of the City of London Corporation, which manages the green space, he began the project about 12 months ago.

Getting the right shots is a time-consuming business and he will continue to make frequent trips throughout the changing seasons until publishing some time in 2016.

While he hopes to return to the grebes in February, to catch their unique mating rituals, kestrels are his current focus.

“Kestrels are much more challenging than grebes,” he said.

“They don’t stay around for too long, but they’re beautiful-looking birds of prey.”

Meanwhile, he is launching a series of Hampstead Heath photography workshops from next month.

The £90 day-long sessions are scheduled for September 27, October 11, November 15 and December 13 and will offer both creative and technical help.

Mr Maran says even those equipped only with smartphones are welcome to take part.

He said: “It really strips away all the technical side – you have one button so it’s all about composition and framing.

“Sometimes people become obsessed with technology, but it’s more about getting people to notice things, to take in the Heath.”

Visit bit.ly/1zpalqP for more information on the workshops.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Saturday, May 2, 2015
The scooter was in collision with a car driven by a member of the public

A teenager hospitalised after his scooter collided with another vehicle while being pursued by Camden police remains in critical condition.

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Steve McQueen's Porsche 917 driven at Le Mans.

The roar and growls of supercar engines will soon get pulses racing as St John’s Wood gears up for its annual supercar pageant – this year in association with the Ham&High and its sister title the Wood&Vale.

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Royal fans celebrate outside the Lindo Wing entrance at St Mary's Hospital after reports from Kensington Palace announced the born of a baby girl (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a girl - with mother and baby both doing well, Kensington Palace has announced.

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Tim McArthur with Hi-de-Hi! star Su Pollard at Lauderdale House. Picture: Polly Hancock

The star of 1980s sitcom Hi-de-Hi! has given her support to a £2.1million fundraising campaign to restore a historic Highgate house.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Two phones. Same phone case. Genius.

To celebrate the launch of the first luxury dual phone case, PearPeel, we are giving away two of the black leather Rocha cases, perfect for holding two iPhone 6 handsets.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder