I have been creative and being outside watching birds, playing survival and building huts as long as I can remember. My interests included many, but were almost always linked somehow to nature or being creative. Although I had no possibilities to do any meaningful wildlife photography as a teenager, I did start early learning the skills that I still use today. I have owned a series of Amiga computers. The first personal computers that allowed consumers to create digital art. When the possibilities arrived to digitise photo and video into the computer I quickly stepped into that area. Meanwhile, I created photocopied ‘magazines’ about nature which I spread between classmates. While doing my military service I first got interested in tracking. Later this would become one of my passions.
I have been working as a volunteer for several organisations. Besides being a nature guide for my local chapter of the IVN institute I have also been involved with badger and otter conservation. Especially badgers have kept me busy for years as I was the coordinator of the local badger working group. I have been tracking the first wolf pack in the Netherlands since 200 years. First documenting the female. Then on a snowy morning we found the tracks of a male beside hers… Doing these activities I gained essential field skills which I make use of while photographing wildlife.
Professionally I have made a few U-turns. The skills I learned while making 2D & 3D animations for video productions is still something I use today producing my vlogs. In 2008 I did the renowned course to become a qualified Nature Guide by the IVN institute in the Netherlands. In the years after that I slowly built my company Weylin Tracking. There I teach nature guides, ecologists and others to read the tracks & signs of animals. I have published field guides (including an English one) on this topic as well. For these guides I wanted to use my own photography. The start of my serious interest in wildlife photography.
Although I have been photographing wildlife since my teens, it was more based if possibilities arose by itself. Now it became a serious goal in itself. I wanted to develop myself as a wildlife photographer. Being out there photographing animals quite naturally fitted in what I was doing already. I was doing something new, but it was all familiar as well.
I live in the Netherlands . Not in the busy West but the quiet East, precisely the city of Deventer. There is a very diverse range of habitats close to my house. I have the possibilities for photographing many different types of animals. Pine-martens, red deer, wild boar, beavers, otters, badgers, wading birds and even wolves are within a 20 minute ride from my house. I am married to my lovely wife Sandra and we have two sons. Occasionally they come along on my photographing trips. Anyone who watches my vlogs will know. And I practice and teach kung fu. Which might surprise you, but has many similarities to tracking.
Over the years I owned a lot of camera equipment of as many brands. My first digital camera was a floppy disk driven one made by Sony. Somewhere in the 90’s… That was used mostly to create textures I needed for my 3D animation work. I have also owned Canon equipment. Such as the famous Canon Digital Rebel 300D. I got that with a kit lens and a 75-300mm zoom. The possibilities that camera gave me! These days I am based on the Sony E-Mount system. You can read all about that on my gear page.
I am typing this in September 2020. Little over half a year ago I started my YouTube channel. I have passed the thousand subscribers this summer. The ride has been amazing so far. I struggled at first understanding YouTube. I also had to gain skills to properly record video outdoors. Making animation inside a computer environment is so much easier. There is no wind causing audio issues inside a computer generated world. Now that I am getting a grip on proper video production and the way YouTube works the channel also starts to grow. There is an amazing group of loyal viewers. They keep giving me feedback which I use to improve the channel. I am so grateful that people both enjoy the content that I make and at the same time help to deliver better quality as well. I feel blessed that my paths have converged into this one. I hope this website and the channel will inspire you to go out and enjoy nature.
“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.”
“Lost”, David Wagoner.