Our profiles of News Shopper Camera Club members continue with Greg Gillies from Bromley and his awesome wildlife images.

Who or what inspired you to take up photography?

My father-in-law has been a keen amateur photographer for many decades. In 2007, during a trip to New York he persuaded his daughter (now my wife) to buy an SLR camera so she too could enjoy his hobby.

She immediately gave the camera to me, along with the manual and told me to find out how it worked and then show her, so she didn’t have to read the instructions. After shooting some average shots on that holiday, I was immediately hooked. My wife still does not have an SLR.

What is your specialty or what you do enjoy photographing the most, and why?

Wildlife is by far my most preferred style of photography, occasionally branching out to some landscapes. Wildlife is perfect for me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it lets me get outside, away from the pollution and chaos of London. I get to visit some of the wildest places on earth, as well as many beautiful local locations.

I find animals considerably more predictable than humans and they also don’t (generally) get too upset when you take their picture.

Are you trying to express yourself or make a point with your photography, or is it just for fun?

Foremost, it is to enjoy myself. If I didn’t enjoy it, I would not do it.

Whilst it is just for fun, I do it with a very serious point in mind. That is to raise awareness and record some of the world’s most vulnerable and endangered species.

To share images of some fantastic animals with others who may never get the opportunity to see them means a lot to me.

I’ve been fortunate enough already to capture images of black rhino, elephants, Sumatran orang utans, African wild dog and many more.

What’s the story behind your favourite photo?

This was taken fairly early on in my photographic life, back in 2010. I was on safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa and we came across two elephants beside the road. As we watched and waited, two became four, then eight, then about 15 elephants surrounded our vehicle and proceeded along the road in front of us.

News Shopper: African elephants fighting. Photo: Greg Gillies

A disagreement broke out and these two began fighting, albeit playfully.

It was taken on my back-up camera at the time, as the zoom lens on my main body was too big for such a close encounter. The camera was an entry-level Canon EOS 500D picked up on eBay.

The photo has since been used to promote a National Geographic TV programme (Animal Fight Night – Savannah Smackdown) which proves you don’t need expensive equipment to get a successful shot.

What equipment do you use?

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon 100-400L IS USM Mk II, Canon 100mm f2.8 L LI Macro, Canon 15-85mm.

On a ‘special’ trip (e.g. an Africa safari) I hire a Canon EF 200-400mm f4 L IS USM with Internal 1.4x Extender Lens.

What post-production treatment do you give your photos i.e Do you use any software?

Ninety-nine per cent of my images are catalogued and edited using Adobe Lightroom. I almost always limit my adjustments to crop, dodge/burn and adjust black/white levels.

The other one per cent I edit in Photoshop. This is to do more advanced editing such as cloning, focus stacking or stitching a panorama.

Do you have any advice for budding photographers?

Never give up, and don’t be embarrassed to show others your images. Take (constructive) criticism on board and experiment with all the settings.

Turn off ‘auto’ and always shoot RAW files if your camera supports it.

Is there anything you’ve not photographed yet which you’d love to capture one day?

Mountain gorillas in the wild.

The News Shopper Camera Club is for people looking to get their photos published online and in print.

Now with more than 620 members, the club invites people to share their best photos from around the area.

There is also the chance to talk to fellow photographers, join in projects and enter our competitions.