What are some of the names you've come up with for squirrels?
"Baby Pear because he liked to eat pears. There was a squirrel called Ghost who was quite unusual. She was very comfortable with me but very quiet, and she would just appear out of nowhere. I realised later that she made tunnels under the snow which she would pop up from. It always confused me! Other squirrels would do an alarm call to say, 'I know you're there but don't come closer', but she never did. She was very chilled, very quiet like a ghost."
What does a day in the field look like?
"It depends on the species and where I'm going. If it's somewhere accessible, where I know the animals, it's about preparing for the conditions or a long day – maybe logistics, such as getting to the island. If it's a case of finding an animal in a forest, I'll be looking for tracks – droppings, footprints, hair. Once I know roughly the area where the animal might be, I'll set up a trail camera. It's an all-in-one system with a camera, sensor and infrared light. Sometimes it can take months to find something. Understanding the ecology, the habitat and the animal's behaviour really helps."
What's your post-production process like for photos?
"I'm quite harsh – I delete about 95% of the photos I take. Wildlife photographers take thousands of photos, so even when you cut that much, you're still left with a few hundred. At that point, I go through and assign a five-star rating to my top shots. Then, I'll do some basic edits – up the shadows and brightness. I'll spend hours on one image trying to get it right. I edit photos for two outputs – YouTube and Instagram. I do a 16x9 edit for YouTube first, so it fits the letterbox style that I really like, and then portraits for Instagram. It takes quite a while!"
And how long does it take to edit a video?
"Up to five or six days. It's a lot of work: organising the footage, creating a storyline that includes vlogs as well as voiceover. YouTube is very competitive. People watch the first 45 seconds of a video and if it doesn't tick their boxes, they'll move on to the next, so the first minute is the most vital and that's where I often put the best clips and try and have some captivating storylines that get people interested. That's the tricky part when nature is quite relaxed and often slow-moving."
What's been your most memorable wildlife experience?
"I didn't have a camera with me at the time, but I was sitting on a tree having lunch in the rainforest in Costa Rica. Suddenly, I heard growling and could see the foliage moving, and out came two male pumas. Clearly it was a territorial dispute – an older puma chasing a younger one – and they ran past about five metres to my left. Maybe they didn't even see me. It was scary but also quite cool. Another time, we had trail cameras on the paths to monitor wildlife, and we discovered that a puma had been following me for an hour. I never saw it – they're just curious animals. Two quite memorable instances."