Guide and Illustrated Natural History
Walks & Talks
Welcome to Steve's website
Here you can learn more about Steve and his work,
buy his photographs, books and greetings cards.
Treat yourself, or gift someone
an illustrated Walk & Talk.
One to One or group nature walks
Planned subjects or customised to your own interests.
_ _ _
'Fifty years with a camera'
Fishing, foraging and nature watching
"By coincidence, the subtitle of a book
Steve wrote for his daughter.
This extraordinary fellow's journey through Britain, and indeed life, is an inspiration.
From press, radio and television to
photo exhibitions to guided walks & talks.
If you want to know Steve, take a moment to
read a few clips from his book,
'Source to Sea'
the cover of which, is the background photo
on this page."
Michael J. Loates Artist/Illustrator
I was born in Brighton, southern England, but as an adult in 1987 I moved north to the
Cumbrian Lake District after reading a book called 'Nature Detective' - by Hugh Fulkus.
The legendary fellow and I met shortly after my arrival by complete accident, we were both in Cockermouth post office at the same time buying a Salmon & Sea Trout Licence.
I subsequently spent twelve years exploring a totally different world to the one I grew up in,
and on my return to Sussex I was compelled to record just about all of it in a book;
'Source to Sea' and three other smaller works.
Occasionally I might take a fish for supper but I use my camera to 'catch' fish now!
My good friend, wild life Artist Michael Loates, and a work college, film writer Anita Ward said, after listening to countless tales of adventure; " For goodness sake write a book!"
'Micky' very generously helped by illustrating my book with his paintings, famous in their own right in the well known publications; Collins 'FISH' of Britain and Europe
and the reprint of Henry Williamson's 'Salar the Salmon', to name just two.
I hope you might like what I have written and what I aim to do here with this website.
I very much look forward to meeting new friends, naturalists and like minded people. SJH
This is my Grandfather on my mother's side, Harold Victor Mason
with a very large flatfish he caught in Newhaven Harbour c1950
He was known to most as 'Billie' a name given to him by his friend Rudyard Kipling who thought him, his diminutive size and his
story of being lost in a far away land, was like that of the character Billie Fish in Kipling's tale ' The man who would be King.'
During WWII he was stationed in Africa and spent 2 years with an
indigenous group of nomadic Pigmies who taught him to hunt, forage and be part of nature responsibly and sustainably.
Thereafter he always wore a suit and tie when fishing to remind himself to be as respectful as possible when taking the life of
another creature in order to feed himself and his family.
When I was just 10 years old he woke me very early one morning to go look for a legendary Pike with sharp pointy teeth that lived in the stream beyond the woods, across the field, at the back of his house in Bognor Regis.
What I was about to experience was completely new to me, another world that I had no idea existed, it changed my life and made me who I am today.
I dressed as fast as I could and we passed through the back door into the 4am darkness of a summer's dawn. The air was heavy with scents of damp earth, wet grass, honeysuckle blossom, and all enveloped by a cathedral of bird song. "Talk if you must" Grandad said. "but in a whisper, or you'll break the spell of the magic hour." I stood speechless for a moment.
"Don't just listen to things, 'hear them' and don't just look at things, 'see' them" he said.
Those words were etched into my mind.
We crossed the field towards the trees under a dark royal blue star studded sky.
The woodland floor was almost the same! A carpet of Bluebells studded with white anemones. "Roll your feet gently as you walk so as not to make a sound" he said.
"Slowly slowly, catchy monkey"
The sky had lightened a little and my eyes adjusted as we reached the far side of the wood.
Out in the water meadow yet another fantastic scene. A sea of ground mist, purply pink from the coming sunrise. Cows, seemingly with no legs, 'floating' on the mist. The moment is still hard to describe but at the time I said it all by just a facial expression to Grandad. He paused, then nodded for me to look to my left, a fence post not ten feet away, it had eyes! A fabulous barn owl sat there, almost a part of the sun bleached wood, it's eyes staring straight into my brain.
It turned, leaned forward and dropped, with wings open, into the pink 'sea' and outward, the tips of its wings flicking up little spirals of the mist. My life was changed forever.
We never did see the giant Pike but I think that might just have been a trick
to lure that little boy me, out of my bed.
Fairy Glen, Stonethwaite beck, Cumbria.
I risked my life for this photo of a Salmon.
Plunging fully clothed into the ice cold water in December.
But I just had to get it!
Not a typical day by anyone's standards but this is how I spend most of my time, sometimes just a short distance from other folk but seeing things that might as well be a thousand miles away from them.
I now live back in Sussex where I was born, and have settled in Lewes next to
the Railway Land Nature reserve by the River Ouse.
Half way between Lewes and the sea at Newhaven, is an old swing bridge
at Southease in the Southdowns National Park. I spend a lot of time here with my camera.
Here's a little winter movie from there.
I was asked to take a Walk & Talk for the public and to advise the developers on ecological impact, around and adjacent to the new Eco housing development at Lewes in the Southdowns National Park.
The Pheonix Human Nature project is something unique to this area and I'm extremely grateful to be able to contribute my local knowledge.