15 Aug Questionary: Charlie Phillips - Researchers, guides, photographers, storytellers - with this questionary we want to introduce people who share a deep love for whales and dolphins: Meet Mr. Charlie Phillips!
Researchers, guides, photographers, storytellers - with this questionary we want to introduce people who share a deep love for whales and dolphins: meet Mr. Charlie Phillips!
#1 Who are you and what are you doing?
I am Charlie Phillips and I work as the Adopt a dolphin field officer for marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the UK. I study the resident population of Bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, Scotland.
#2 Best job in the world?
A lot of people tell me »oh you have the BEST job in the world« so it must be true. Seriously, yes, I sometimes have to pinch myself when I’m photographing wild dolphins and remind myself that I’m actually working.
#3 Why dolphins?
WDC has six individual dolphins from the population that the public can »adopt« and financially support the charity. My job is to study, photograph, film and gather sightings information on these six dolphins to give back this information to our adopters through social media channels, blogs and our supporter magazine.
#4 Your favourite place and time to meet the dolphins?
Chanonry Point, a peninsula in Scotland where the incoming tidal current creates an area of turbulence that dolphins hunt in and is only a few metres from the end of the Point – that water is very deep just offshore and migratory fish like salmon are caught by dolphins at certain times of the year.
#5 Favourite own dolphin photo? Why?
I have many, many favourites but one shot of a young dolphin called »Puddles« coming to the surface to breathe in mirror calm blue water won me a national photographic award back in 2012 so that one is pretty special. There is also the head on shot of my namesake »Charlie« who my publishers chose as the front cover of my book »On A Rising Tide«.
#6 Best thing that ever happened during an encounter?
The dolphin that is named after me »Charlie«, son of »Kesslet«, tried to give me his captured salmon one day as I was leaning over the side of a boat near Inverness to get photos of him – he nearly pushed the fish right into my camera lens – at least that’s what the other people on the boat thought was happening – it was SO funny.
#7 What makes a perfect day with the dolphins?
Good weather, strong tides, good supplies of fish to hunt, not too many people around so I can concentrate on identifying who the dolphins are and getting good photos and video plus just watching these amazing big predators doing what they do. Time goes by so quickly. When they have finished hunting, they often have time for socialising and that behaviour is very special to watch.
#8 What do you want people to bring home from an encounter?
Hopefully to have more respect for these amazing marine mammals when they see them doing what nature intended – not stuck in a filthy tank for a very much shortened life.
#9 Your advice for everyone who's planning a dolphin watching trip?
Do your homework, find out when, where and how to watch dolphins responsibly. There is some information out there that isn’t that accurate but thankfully more that is useful but if in any doubt then please contact us at WDC or go on our website. We would rather that you did the right thing and enjoyed the experience.
WIN CHARLIE'S BOOK!
We’re giving away one copy – signed for you by Charlie! If you want to win, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 30 September 2019 and tell us what you like most about dolphins and why. The winner will be notified by email, legal recourse is excluded. Good luck and we are looking forward to your stories!
Charlie Phillips works for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) where his main task is to maintain an exhaustive photographic record of the Moray Firth Dolphins, concentrating on the 6 individuals in particular, who are the stars of the »Adopt a Dolphin« scheme. Over the years he has taken hundreds of thousands of pictures – this book contains almost 100 of Charlie’s finest images. The pictures are accompanied by Charlie’s accounts and many charming anecdotes of the joys of dolphin watching. Learn more about Charlie on his website.