<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Cal Cottrell - wildlife photographer

PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 June 2016

Cal Cottrell - Short-eared owl at Blackpool. They look around when they hear the camera shutter

Cal Cottrell - Short-eared owl at Blackpool. They look around when they hear the camera shutter

Cal Cottrell

Cal Cottrell put down his gun and picked up a camera in pursuit of Lancashire wildlife

Cal Cottrell wildlife photographer Cal Cottrell wildlife photographer

The phrase ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ fits Cal Cottrell like a falconer’s gauntlet. ‘You name it, I did it,’ he says. ‘I followed the Holcombe Hunt, went hare-coursing, fishing and shooting. My dad took me ratting, I had a lurcher for hunting, spaniels for collecting game and tried falconry. It was a bit sad really.’

Cal, who describes himself as a working class lad born and bred in Blackburn, adds: ‘I was following in my dad’s footsteps – when I was eight or nine I was out egg collecting. But as I got older I started to make up my own mind. Age has changed me. Now I’ve no wish to kill anything.’

Cal still shoots wildlife but only through the lens of camera and his work shows great promise.

The 46-year-old father-of-two hasn’t cut all ties with his past. ‘I’m still friendly with a lot of gamekeepers, partly because they are a great source of information about where to find wildlife to take pictures.

Cal Cottrell - These hares were captured near Dunsop Bridge Cal Cottrell - These hares were captured near Dunsop Bridge

‘It’s also because I can see both sides of the argument. I don’t want to kill animals but without the conservation work on shooting estates we would lose a lot of native birds.’

Cal put away his guns more than a decade ago and has been taking pictures for the last six years. ‘I just started to going to some of my old haunts in the countryside with what was a pretty cheap starter camera with a 100mm lens,’ he says. ‘I am pretty much self-taught although I have had some advice from top photographers such as Danny Green.’

Cal’s wife has most faith in his ability – without his knowledge, she entered him into a national wildlife photography competition and he was shortlisted.

Cal works as a supervisor at an engineering firm. ‘I can’t afford to buy a camera lens for £8,000 and travel to exotic places like the US and Japan so I have to concentrate on British wildlife,’ he says.

Cal Cottrell - It took Cal three months to get this picture of a weasel near Darwin Cal Cottrell - It took Cal three months to get this picture of a weasel near Darwin

‘But that’s not a hardship. There is stunning wildlife out there on our doorstep. There is a massive amount in Lancashire and one project I really want to do is otters on the River Calder.

‘Cal also helps nature along by collecting pupae and keeping them in a special tank so he can photograph them when the moths hatch.

‘Patience is the key to everything I do,’ he says. ‘I can spend four to five weeks just watching before taking out my camera. I watched a family of foxes every night, feeding them so I could get a shot of the cubs playing. It took me three days to get the shot of a kingfisher.

‘My wife puts up with me. I’m forever saying I’m just nipping out because I’ve been told there are dragon flies hatching somewhere…but I do get my ears clipped from time to time!’

Cal Cottrell - Southern hawker dragonfly. This image was taken near Bolton Cal Cottrell - Southern hawker dragonfly. This image was taken near Bolton

Cal relies on of spotters to contact him when they see animals that would make great wildlife pictures. You can contact him on 07860 484945.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 09:41

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Southport
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Colne
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDY KITCHING

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Canals
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Spring
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

John Lenehan selects a relatively gentle walk to blow away the post-Christmas cobwebs

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search