Three emperor penguin chicks examine a tripod and camera in Snow Hill Island, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. David Tipling /

By Tom Dare

THE FASCINATING stories behind a series of breath-taking nature pictures have been revealed for the first time in a new book, which seeks to get in the mind of one of Britain’s most successful nature photographers.

Incredible images from ‘A Bird Photographer’s Diary: The stories behind the pictures’ by world-renowned bird photographer David Tipling include a touching moment between an adult emperor penguin and its chick, while another captures the famous Kazakh eagle hunters out on a hunt in Mongolia.

An emperor penguin with her chick in Snow Hill Island, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. David Tipling /


Further shots from the book show a common cuckoo being fed by an unsuspecting warbler that thinks it is its own chick, with another showing a single golden eagle approaching the carcass of a fox it has recently killed.

The book sees David, who has scooped both the European Nature Photographer of the Year Award and Nature’s Best Indigenous Peoples Award during his glittering career, take an in-depth look at the events and circumstances that lead to each one of his unbelievable photos.

And it’s something which David, who has written several books about wildlife photography in the past, says he enjoyed far more than any of his other projects.

A group of Sandhill Cranes in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico, USA. David Tipling /


“No book I have written before has given me as much pleasure as this one, but it has been the most difficult too,” he writes.

“Writing about experiences lived during the taking of the images is easy, but articulating why I shot an image in a certain way proved challenging.

Two great crested grebes fighting at Montreux, Lake Geneva, Switzerland. David Tipling /


“On many occasions I was moved by the scene that lay before me, and such moments stirred my soul. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes standing in a red mist at dawn, or a million Common Starlings shapeshifting across the sky are good examples of those special ‘wow’ moments.

“They often lead to an obvious choice of lens and technique – the scene you see is the picture you wish to create. But there are times when composition and style of image need thinking through, you design the image in your mind then attempt to create with your camera.

A goosander with lamprey on River Nith, Dumfries, UK. David Tipling /


“For those pictures I have tried to give an insight into how and why I took a picture in a particular way. We all view images in different ways and my vision might be very different to yours, but that is the beauty of a visual world – we can all interpret a picture in different ways and find our own way of seeing.”

A Bird Photographer’s Diary: The stories behind the pictures is published by New Holland Publishers, and can be purchased here: