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You might recognise Raelton Laing from our front-of-house Hospitality team. When he isn’t mixing a summer cocktail at the bar, or serving dinner in the Fig Tree Restaurant, you’ll find him swapping his apron for his camera bag. We chatted to Raelton about his passion for photography.

Name and age?
I am Raelton Laing and I am 27 years of age.

What inspires your photography?
What really inspires me I would say is the very idea of capturing a moment. A moment which can allow others to see the world through your eyes or more accurately from your perspective.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start on their photography journey?
If I could ever give any advice to someone who is thinking of pursuing a career in photography or to just improve their photography skills, I would say practice, practice and more practice. Photography is a vast field of work and to this day I still learn something new every time I pick up my camera!

Do you have any wildlife or photography role models?
When it comes to role models, I really admire Frans Lanting – a giant among nature photographers. His vivid storytelling is definitely something worth examining.

How did you first discover your love for photography?
On the 12th of January 2019 I was hiking along one of the many beautiful trails at De Hoop Nature Reserve I noticed a crowned lapwing and the thought came to me: “What if I can share what I just saw with others. What if I can relive this moment again and again?” and so my love for photography started.

What do you think is one of De Hoop’s best-kept secrets?
De hoop has so many jewels, so many secrets. We have 86 mammal species including eland, grey rhebok, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard. The reserve also has 260 bird species. Potberg shelters the last remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture

Which is your favourite De Hoop photo of yours so far?
My favourite picture I would say so far is of the Spoonbill it took me over 30 minutes to get the shot lying down in the grass! But in the end it was all worth it.

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