George McCallum is a regular reader and sometimes commentator at this blog. He has been based in Berlin for the last 9 years, working as a freelance wildlife photographer, marine mammal observer, freelance field researcher, chief cook and bottle washer. He also runs his own one man company, Whalephoto.
George has just returned from the Arctic and is working on the 20,000 or so digital images he has shot this year as well as preparing a poster/paper for the upcoming European Cetacean Society conference in San Sebastian, Spain. The conference is in early 2007 and George will be speaking on the use of flash equipment in low light and backlit conditions.
And George has found time to send us information about himself for the people category at this blog:
“I’ve been an ID photographer/observer on Norway´s whale population surveys since 1995, team leader on same last year, team leader/ID photographer of whale observers on some ecosystem surveys also last two years, also in arctic Norway, North and North East Atlantic areas.
Previous and concurrent to this, I have worked as a field researcher volunteer/ID photographer from both commercial whale watching boats and hired vessels off Andenes in Arctic Norway between 1995-2000, occasionally as a guide on one of the whale watching boats. Also worked as a field researcher/volunteer/ID photographer with T.Simila´s killer whale project in Arctic Norway from 1993 onwards. I also spent a number of winter seasons in Tysfjord working with and for various TV and film crews who had come to Tysfjord to film the local killer whale population as either vessel driver, local expert and once or twice as the subject being a prat for the cameras.
Its a kittiwake on his head.
I’ve spent 6 months in the Canary islands off the north African coast as a research assistant on a boat studying Short-finned Pilot whales, basic ID work and collecting data on the effects of whale watching boats on the local Pilot whale population.
Prior to that, I studied in Scotland for 5-6 years at University as a mature student. I studying biology, but dropped out before my final year after a few field trips led me to the realization that the field researchers had most of the fun and aimed myself in that direction.
For the ten years before that, I worked as a marine mammal trainer (with dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea elephants, killer whales etc.) for around ten years in various marine parks and establishments throughout Europe.
I’ve also worked as a barman, driven a delivery truck, worked on a farm, trained Macaws, penguins and a herring gull (strange but true) as well as working in a commercial slaughterhouse for 6 months or so.
Other experience includes using pax arms (modified DNA sampling rifles used to take a plug of blubber from marine mammals) maintaining and operating high frequency sonar equipment, conning various sea vessels of various sizes, and trying to fix various bits of equipment in the field when it goes up the creek without a paddle.
I speak three languages fluently and get by in two others and I can stutter around in French.
Hobbies include hassling and being hassled by airport security/airline check-in folk whilst traveling with 25 kg or more of assorted photographic equipment and having a once fortnightly malt whisky tasting session in the best stocked Malt whisky bar in the world in Schoneberg. The bar has over 700 different malts so my journalist friends and I foresee a number of years further research before we can give a final opinion on which is best.
Best regards from sunny 28C Berlin.
PS. Have you seen this, Greenpeace taking a pasting again:
Thanks George for sharing this information about yourself with us … and for the great images!
As a reader and/or commentator at this blog you may like to tell us something about yourself. Contributions encouraged please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve just also received some great photographs and information from Walter Starck which I will upload soon with a link to his paper from the recent AEF conference.
More wildlife photographs at Whalephoto.com.