The biggest office in the world


wildlife photography in the digital age

How often do we hear people saying how lucky we are to have such an amazing job, how glamorous it must be or alternatively, when are you going to get a real job or I love travel but wish I had done more when I was younger…

There is no doubt that we try to live our lives to the fullest and we often flippantly reply to these questions with remarks such as, “Yes, we seem to have the biggest office in the world” or “why would we want a ‘real’ job?” In fact, we have often said that, while folks in the modern world, have been working and saving their entire lives in order to finally be able to travel to exotic destinations when they often should have done so previously. We, on the other hand have earned way less money but don’t need as much as we are already at those same destinations! It’s all a question of perspective.

What is seldom understood, however, is how tough the life of a wildlife photographer can be (or a trip leader for that matter!). We have sat, for example, for 12 days in a 40 degree centigrade dry stream bed in Madagascar, covered in flies before the first sighting of our subject (a fossa) and for nearly 3 months, mostly in a freezing blind, waiting for wild Iberian lynx or dangled on a rope 40 meters up in a rain forest canopy in front of a harpy eagle nest, interesting, yes, but none of it glamorous as one might be led to believe.

A real complication for us in this digital age of photography is the need to carry a computer and backup hard drives to download the images – yep we actually do have office work! The nature of our work is often in remote areas where power is an issue (thank you for sorting that out!), where, even in the biggest office in the world, there is no desk or comfortable chair, where it could rain on you at any time, where inquisitive spectators may appear over your shoulder, where insects bite and are attracted to the light of the computer screen, where you often have to keep your rubber boots on, where… where…

We wouldn’t change it for the world!

Reneé Bish

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