My name is  Dave Collins and I'm an aspiring wildlife photographer based in the  glorious Cotswolds in South West England. I have a full time job so my photography is limited to my free time....for now. 

I've been interested in all things nature for as long as I can remember, and whilst I've not pursued this interest as much as other hobbies over recent years ,  I've gradually started to spend more time outdoors exploring, learning  and becoming addicted to capturing those precious moments that only the natural world can provide. I often choose to stay close to home if I can as less travel means more  time with  camera in hand and I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to locations with rolling farmland, forests, lakes and meadows all  around.

My interest in wildlife began at an early age. For those that know me well, my comfort blanket as a child  was not a toy, teddy or actual  blanket. No. Anything that crept and  crawled found it's way into my very special yellow bucket. Special in that I filled it with whatever I could find, In hindsight, not my finest  moment but it fed my fascination for minibeasts. I soon moved on to a  proper bug bottle and would spend every waking moment hunting for caterpillars, beetles and reptiles.

I then developed an interest in  birds and would spend my time sketching them if I wasn't out trying to  find and identify them. I then entered my teens, when football, computer games and girls arrived on the scene. My formative years, if you will.  The spark for wildlife returned in my late twenties and coincided with the purchase of my first DSLR. Taking pictures has always  been something I've enjoyed   doing and the two interests have grown into a combined hobby that I find increasingly addictive.
 
I was quickly drawn to bird  photography but have found myself shooting a much wider variety of  species and I'm more than happy to be capturing images of pretty much anything that moves, be it butterflies,  dragonflies, mammals, reptiles or amphibians! The acquisition of my  first macro lens was a huge contributor to this expansion in subjects  and I find it just as satisfying.

The vast majority of my images are taken in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and I'm fortunate to have the
Cotswold Water Park just a few minutes drive from home. Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is another location I like to visit. A great place for learning about and seeing a wide variety of  birds and the place where my interest in  birds really took off (no pun intended!).

None of the images featured in my galleries are of captive species unless explicitly stated  so I take the  utmost care to  ensure I avoid disturbing my subjects. I'm continually developing my techniques and still make the odd mistake here and there but it makes those great  moments even sweeter and being  self taught, much of what I've learnt has been the result of doing  something wrong and missing a shot.
 
A few highlights in my early stages as a photographer have included winning the People's Choice award in the 2013 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Photo Competition, a Photo of the Week on BirdGuides and having an image used by the Cotswold Water Park Trust for a winter birds guide. Most recently I was awarded 1st and 2nd place in the 'Wildlife Portraits & Behaviours' category in the 2014 Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Photo Competition, and 3rd place in the People's Choice category. My proudest achievement so far is getting a runner-up spot in the BirdGuides photo of the year competition (article here). Such recognition is a real buzz and it inspires me to keep improving!