Wildlife keeper Matt Binstead is able to get up close to his enchanting charges for shots packed with personality
I’m the head keeper at the British Wildlife Centre, near Lingfield, in Surrey, and my job is to care for all the resident animals at the centre with my team of keepers who help me. I have a close bond with the animals here, and my mission as a photographer is to take great pictures of them, helping to show British animals off at their best and engage the public with local wildlife.
I got my first camera, a Nikon D90, about five years ago. At first it was an excuse to sit and watch our animals at play, but I quickly became hooked on photography, and since then I’ve been lucky enough to have my photos picked up by national newspapers. It is always nice to see them in print, and gives me a bit of a buzz to think that thousands of people out there will get to see one of my photos.
My most popular picture to date is one of a tawny owl in bluebells, which was published by three newspapers on the same day. It’s one of my favourites, too – in it, the owl is peeking inquisitively around the tree at the camera.
There is never a typical day as a keeper at the British Wildlife Centre. We’re only open to the general public at weekends, bank holidays and during school
I nearly always shoot in aperture-priority mode, with my White Balance set to sunny… I only ever shoot handheld
01 Grinn ing fo x Nikon D300s, Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, 1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO800