Dear Sir David,
It has been a week since I wrote. A lot can happen in a week. I went on a holiday to Broome and am now back at work. I also managed to buy tickets to your talk at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne when you visit in August. My boyfriend and I have booked our return flights from Perth, Western Australia. We are so very much looking forward to this journey even though it is still many months away.
On the outside, my life in recent times seems to be a series of holidays. In February I had a short stay in Port Hedland where I discovered a citizen science turtle monitoring programme. I was enthralled and decided that I would write an article for Science Network WA. I spent many early mornings trekking out on the beach with volunteers and researchers to gather material for my article and to help with counting the tracks of new hatchlings of the Flatback Turtle, (Natator depressus). What I was really hoping to also see was a turtle hatchling.
My wait was a mix of patience, disappointment and hope. The tension built as my stay was nearing to an end and I had not seen a hatchling. All I wanted was one photo of one. I kept thinking of the stories told by the film crew in Life on Location of the experiences they had while producing the documentary series Life. Compared to them, I had it easy. My task was wake up early and head to the beach with a camera in my hand. The rest, came down to timing.
My persistence was rewarded on the fourth day. Just as the crisp dawn air was being warmed by the sun, a family visiting from Tom Price had found a hatchling among rocks heading away from the ocean. They had picked it up and were heading to the beach for a release. I was over the moon at seeing a turtle hatchling and snapped away as it headed towards the ocean.
Although I did get photos of a turtle hatchling, it didn’t feel the same as seeing one hatch and make its way towards the shore. It was nothing of what I have seen in wildlife documentaries and it definitely didn’t have an “Attenboroughnism”, a term I use to describe magical moments I have when experiencing the great outdoors.
However, 15 minutes later a hatchling did emerge. In awe, a small group of strangers followed and watched it make its way to the ocean. Nothing else mattered while we shared this moment. I had forgotten that I was on the beach wanting to take photos until someone came out of their reverie to remind me. This is possibly not a desired attribute of a BBC wildlife photographer but I don’t mind. I was enjoying a moment of Attenboroughnism.
Thank you for not just taking me around the world with you but also for teaching me to appreciate nature and to be the careful observer when close by. There are many times when I am out photographing animals I think, “What would David Attenborough do?” or recall a moment in one of your many documentaries in my mind. Sometimes for inspiration but mostly to share a private conversation of understanding.
I hope that I will be able to have a conversation with you in person in a few months.