Hamza Yassin: Life Behind The Lens

Blog post by Oscar Lawrence on 27 Feb, 2024
Hamza Yassin has become famous the long way round. Moving from Sudan as a child, growing up in the Midlands with the expectation he would go into medicine, to spending 18 months living in his car to follow his dream to work in the world of wildlife photography.
I was privileged to attend his "Life Behind The Lens" talk in Norwich Cathedral to get a special insight into what it's like as wildlife photographer.
Hamza began by talking about what got him into wildlife photography. "I got a camera for my twelfth birthday," he recalled, "and I kept making all my family stay still for photos!"

He had always loved wildlife because it was abundant in his home in Sudan but soon his parents' career in medicine facilitated them moving to the UK, and specifically, Northamptonshire. At this point, he regularly visited RSPB reserves and learnt much from the "old guys" he met. They taught him everything they knew about wildlife, and he is grateful to them to this day.
Hamza and Oscar

Hamza and Oscar

Pursuing a career in nature, Hamza headed west to Bangor University in Wales and took up a degree in photography and wildlife imagery. After university, his greatest desire was to move to Scotland for the amazing wildlife. To this day he still lives in the beautiful Hebridean village of Ardnamurchan. And I am definitely not jealous!
Hamza spoke lovingly of the wildlife he has supported over his lifetime. Caring for an otter kit, letting a pine marten live in his attic, feeding the eagles near his home. I deeply admire this wildlife hero's devotion to nature. He sets a high standard for any budding ornithologist or photographer, and that clearly deserves recognition.
He spoke at length about how he captured such incredible footage. He said sitting in a hide could be very boring, and that on a number of occasions he'd fallen asleep. "You can only really eat soft foods," he told us. This is because the foodstuffs he likes, crisps and fizzy drinks, make too much noise! Hamza also shared a time-lapse video of life in a hide: the only things moving were his eyes!
Hamza’s passion for wildlife is evident: his newly released book, ‘Be a Birder’, is a clear representation of that! I find it more personable that he chose only the birds he loves to write about, and I must say he made great choices; how he describes the screaming swifts, his love of our humble blackbird, his admiration of the black-browed albatross. Every page showcases his passion for our natural world. For Hamza to sit in a hide for 18 hours straight just to get a single shot, the passion must be strong…
His presentation having drawn to a close, he was asked questions by the audience. My personal favourite was what his favourite place in the world was. He replied: "My favourite place in the world?"
A long pause ensued, before he showed a photo. His home in Ardnamurchan.

Header image - swifts at dusk by Nick Upton
Share this

Latest Blog Posts

 Norfolk’s lost lake is a haven for wildlife  Norfolk’s lost lake is a h...
by Robert Morgan on 16 Apr, 2024
A Siberian gem A Siberian gem
by Oscar Lawrence on 03 Apr, 2024
From our reserves: The return of a long lost stream From our reserves: The retu...
by Robert Morgan, NWT Reserves Officer on 02 Apr, 2024
Volunteer Spotlight: Poppy Bye Volunteer Spotlight: Poppy Bye
by Poppy Bye on 12 Mar, 2024
Last of the winter jobs on our reserves Last of the winter jobs on ...
by Robert Morgan, NWT Reserves Officer on 29 Feb, 2024
Is the humble toad the real harbinger of spring?  Is the humble toad the real...
by Robert Morgan on 20 Feb, 2024
NWT employs stubborn old goats NWT employs stubborn old goats
by Robert Morgan on 20 Feb, 2024
Short-eared owls: their magic and majesty Short-eared owls: their mag...
by Oscar Lawrence on 12 Feb, 2024
Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Suiter Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Su...
by Tim Suiter on 05 Feb, 2024
Some old-fashioned care is needed in the winter Some old-fashioned care is ...
by Robert Morgan, NWT Reserves Officer on 02 Feb, 2024
Could a once abundant Norfolk fish become extinct?   Could a once abundant Norfo...
by Robert Morgan on 23 Jan, 2024
Wild is the wind Wild is the wind
by Robert Morgan on 23 Jan, 2024
Waxwing Winter Waxwing Winter
by Oscar Lawrence on 17 Jan, 2024
Volunteer Spotlight: Tricia Dolamore Volunteer Spotlight: Tricia...
by Tricia on 10 Jan, 2024
January on our reserves January on our reserves
by NWT on 04 Jan, 2024
Robin Redbreast Robin Redbreast
by Oscar Lawrence on 19 Dec, 2023
A Christmas Wish for Nature A Christmas Wish for Nature
by Robert Morgan on 18 Dec, 2023
November on our reserves November on our reserves
by Robert Morgan, NWT Reserves Assistant on 07 Dec, 2023
Our vision for Hickling Broad Our vision for Hickling Broad
by Eliot Lyne, NWT CEO on 07 Dec, 2023
Winter wildlife on the North Norfolk coast Winter wildlife on the Nort...
by Robert Morgan on 05 Dec, 2023
Meander through the meadow - Sweet Briar Marshes guided walk Meander through the meadow ...
by Oscar Lawrence on 29 Nov, 2023
Kites and eagles: the falsely accused Kites and eagles: the false...
by Oscar Lawrence on 20 Nov, 2023
Nurturing nature with love Nurturing nature with love
by Nick Acheson on 14 Nov, 2023
Foray into fungi Foray into fungi
by Robert Morgan on 07 Nov, 2023