Fiona has a deep and abiding love of the natural world and has spent many years traveling the world photographing wildlife and wild places. Her artworks, images and videos attempt to captivate and inspire people to connect directly with the wild as it truly exists. Her photography is instinctive and creative and she focuses on a documentary fine art style to capturing wildlife images and scenes of the natural world. Whilst her more recent artworks are rooted in a more contemporary conceptual approach to utilising images as a medium for creating fine art. They are an interpretation of the feeling of beauty and enrapture that nature provides as a solace in our hectic lives.
For 5 years she managed a Safari Lodge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. During this time her passion and knowledge of the intricacies and rhythms of the african bush became deeply embedded in her soul. Since leaving the lodge she has spent the last decade pursuing her love of wildlife photography, travel and writing.
Over the years she has become an award winning wildlife photographer and videographer, who’s work has been exhibited internationally. She has been a shortlisted finalist in the British Wildlife Photography Awards, ZSL Animal Photography Prize, Nature’s Best Wineland Smith Rice Awards, Golden Orchid Awards and Remembering Great Apes Competition. Her images have been featured alongside her writing in many publications including Africa Geographic and Travel Africa Magazines.
She is passionate about wildlife conservation and has worked with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, on a painted wolf reintroduction project in South Africa; The Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Uganda and Chad and the African Parks Network, producing both images and videos to document their work. She continues to supply images for magazines and charities to raise funds and awareness for conservation.
What Collectors Say
“I have been following Fiona’s photographic journey for many years. Her ethos is rooted in honesty and her respect and deep love of the natural world is evident in every photograph.”
Fiona MacKay Photography is bursting with imagery that reflects my passion for the natural world & the splendour of mother nature & I hope that my pictures will allow me to take you into this incredible world with me.
In recent years my editing style has developed and my more recent work has become more conceptual art than straight photography. I use my own images as a medium to build up unique compositions inspired by my love of nature and a desire to create something beautiful and completely bespoke for you to treasure.
I believe in true long lasting quality so I select only my absolute best images to display here & sell. I take this belief through to my approach to the post production side & have invested a huge amount of time selecting a professional print partner to offer the best quality archival fine art papers and printing processes to provide a faithful rendition to the original photograph but also a print with maximum longevity so your photographic art investment will be with you for years & years to come. For this reason all my prints are either chromaluxe or giclee prints.
Instead of offering bulk mass-produced prints, I want you to know that you are buying something special and unique. I feel that people should purchase fine art photography prints because the artwork speaks to them and they feel an emotional connection to the print and the photographer. All my prints are strictly available as low number limited edition runs. As a limited edition print sells its price will appreciate accordingly in the online store, as fewer remain available to purchase.
I have referred to it as my signature line as each limited edition artwork features a discreet digitally embedded signature and you will be issued with a signed certificate of authenticity to accompany your purchase.
I recommend that when you receive your print that you have it properly mounted and framed by an experienced professional frame shop to ensure the maximum care and longevity of your artwork.
Should you wish to purchase a limited edition print in a different size to that listed, please contact me and I will be able to discuss your requirements and provide a quote for the cost to produce the print in your desired size.
All the subjects of my photos and films are living a completely wild and free existence, both animals and plants. Nothing is captured, baited or removed from its natural habitat in order for me to photograph it. I try to have as little impact as possible and rely on the luck of the Irish (I did kiss the blarney stone once!!) when it comes to getting that once in a lifetime shot, without the assistance of using captive animals or of baiting wild ones or any of the other unsavoury practices that are sometimes employed by photographers.
Through my extensive travels and work in Africa I have gained a depth of understanding & even more importantly a respect for the amazing & varied creatures that call this continent home & the incredible individuals that are doing all they can to protect & conserve this natural world. As a result conservation is close to my heart & a percentage of all my profits is donated to charities actively working to conserve the natural world, be it the wildlife of Africa, the equatorial rain forests or any other important threatened ecosystems. So you can be assured that when you buy one of my prints you can enjoy the beauty that little bit more knowing you are also helping to conserve it for future generations.
I hope that my work will inspire you to look at nature more closely & take time to marvel at the miraculous that is the natural world that surrounds us, even in the midst of a city you can find glimpses of nature reclaiming the earth & rejuvenating the weary human spirit. Without the beauty of nature to feast our eyes upon we will be all the poorer, but even more importantly without nature we simply can not survive.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by the natural world and mother nature. I’ve always loved to be outdoors in wide open spaces, away from cities and people and surrounded by animals. These passions have echoed on throughout my life.
My earliest memories all involve wonder & amazement for the plant & animal kingdoms; hours spent glued to David Attenborourgh’s latest documentary on the BBC of far off places & wild creatures & reading about adventures and travels in Africa. Growing up in the UK perhaps wasn’t as wild and abundant in African wildlife as I wanted but I was always out and about learning the rhythms, sights and sounds of nature. Learning all our native birds and visiting our wildlife reserves and protected habitats. Sitting out late into the summer evenings in the hope of seeing owls and badgers.
When I got my first SLR (it was all film in those days) at the age of 16, photographing this world seemed like a natural progression. I clearly remember days spent lying on my stomach, in the grass on my grandmother’s lawn, waiting for her local pheasants & squirrels to come by on their rounds so I could get a couple of snaps. I learnt early the lessons of patience a wildlife photographer must have in abundance.
After leaving school I worked hard to save enough money to make my dream of reaching Africa a reality. Once my feet hit the hot aromatic earth of mother Africa I felt like I was home & to the shock of my family & friends I pretty much refused to leave. I was hooked, utterly captivated by this amazing continent, her beautiful animals and the amazing people I met.
By the age of 20 I was managing a luxury game lodge in the greater Kruger national park in South Africa. It was an amazing time in my life. As anyone who has worked in the lodge or guiding industry will know it was an all consuming and utterly exhausting lifestyle, but the chance to live and work in this world renowned reserve was worth every ounce of sweat it required.
Living and working in the reserve for an extended time, I gained a deep insight into and respect for the wildlife that call this unrelenting environment home. I also came to work alongside some of the truly incredible individuals that are doing all they can to protect & conserve this natural world, which at times literally requires them to put their lives on the line.
I have too many memories to list here (& 1000s of photographs too), perhaps one day I’ll share them all in a book. If I had to pick a few highlights for you, top of the list would be: Being part of the team responsible for the reintroduction of a pack of 7 endangered African Wild Dogs (or painted dogs as they are sometimes known) with the EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust). The dogs were acclimatised to the area in a temporary holding boma, where we got to know all of them as very distinct individuals.
When the big release came they decided they liked the area and stayed nearby for a good year before they really started to venture the long distances that Wild Dogs are known to travel. In that year we had some incredible times with the dogs, they denned nearby & I was lucky enough to be monitoring them on the day that the pups were first spotted out in the open. Just a couple of weeks old, little fat sausages with a leg at each corner they still remain the cutest babies I’ve ever seen & I felt immensely lucky to have shared that experience. There were a couple of nerve wracking walks from home to the lodge in the dark when the dogs were hunting in the area. They make the most incredible twittering sounds & we even had to fish an Impala out of the swimming pool, that had chosen this as its escape route from the hunting pack (the Impala survived to run another day on that occasion).
The Elephants of course need a mention, although often causing mischief (they liked fresh water and our water tanks & pipe work was often too much temptation for them to ignore). I still remember the awe I felt the first time I saw an elephant in the wild. There’s been a few close encounters over the years & I have nothing but respect for these grey ghosts of the African bush. Probably my favourite sightings have been in the wet season when the breeding herds have come down to drink and the youngsters have indulged their childish side with a play in the water, submerging completely using their trunks like snorkels, rolling about in the mud & tussling with their peers.
Since leaving the Lodge in Kruger I have travelled extensively to some of the most amazing corners of the planet & been lucky enough to experience some of the most highly regarded & diverse wildlife areas in the world. These have included extended time in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Chad, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, Argentina, Canada, Finland, Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
To outline all my tales & travels would require too much space & time so below I have picked out a few of my favourite moments.
Madagascar has to be on every nature lovers travel wish list, an island bursting at the seams with endemic wildlife and birds. I spent a month on the island & still feel like I barely scratched the surface. Night walks in the rainforest where an amazing experience but probably my favourite moment was coming across a group of Indri (the largest lemurs, who have a very distinctive call if you are ever lucky enough to hear it booming through the forests) feeding on the forest floor. We sat down in the damp leaf litter, about 10m away and watched quietly whilst they carried on as if we weren’t there; grooming, feeding and foraging before finally getting up & moving off, it was one of those heart stopping special moments you just know you will never experience again.
Zimbabwe is a favourite game viewing destination of mine having had some of my most memorable sightings here. Including trekking Rhino in the Matopas National Park, but a real highlight has to be walking and canoeing in Mana Pools on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. On our first afternoon we encountered a pack of 6 Wild Dog lazing in the heat of the day. We sat down with them & observed for several hours whilst they lay resting, occasionally getting up to move back into the shade as the sun progressed across the sky or lazily flicking a tail at an irritating fly, they knew we were there but remained utterly relaxed in our quiet un-invasive presence. We were rewarded the following morning when just before dawn the pack hurtled through our campsite on the river bank hunting. We grabbed our gear and followed as best we could on foot.
We caught up with a couple of the dogs grabbing a quick drink on the river bank as the sun came up,then a pack member hooting to reunite the group, one of the dogs had been successful and brought down an impala. We sat with them as they polished off breakfast one member constantly on patrol as hyenas were nearby. We sat about 15m away and the dogs patrolled around us as if we were part of the group. It was a while after the pack moved off that we moved on ourselves we were all slightly dazed by the intimacy of the preceding hours, that these critically endangered dogs had extended to us.
Mana Pools also offers the opportunity to game view whilst canoeing down the Zambezi, this provides a completely different perspective & relationship to the animals you are viewing as they come down to the banks to drink & feed. If you’re lucky the elephants will even swim a channel beside you out to one of the islands to feed or all the way across to Zambia on the northern bank. If you get the chance it is an incredible experience.
Botswana became like a second home to me when I discovered the Okavango Delta or more importantly for me, horse riding in the delta with PJ & Barney of Okavango Horse Safaris. I have spent a huge amount of time with them & in 2009 I joined PJ & a group of 9 others to hike from the pan handle of the delta down to the southern border near Maun, over 165Km. This is something that few people have the opportunity to do. We spent 10 days immersed in the wilderness, following the tongue of the flood as it meandered its way deeper into the delta & the desert, camping wild under the stars & experiencing a solitude that is rare in modern times. I also spent time in Moremi Game Reserve with a wildlife film crew who were tasked with transmitting daily footage from their remote camp. Based on the edge of a game rich island, near Xakanaxa, it was a challenging place in which to operate with only basic facilities. Having a shower in the open about 500 meters from a herd of several hundred grazing buffalo is an experience I will never forget.
Lastly on the animal side I have to mention the fulfilment of a lifelong dream, to see the endangered Mountain Gorillas. We trekked in both the Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda & also Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP in Uganda. Time with these amazing animals is strictly controlled, with just 8 people able to visit each group for a single hour each day. The first group we trekked to was the largest in Rwanda, the Susa with 40 individuals at the time of our trek. They made us work hard for our time with them, having ascended quite high up the volcano slopes. The hour with them was an utterly magical experience. There really aren’t words to describe the size & magnificence of the silverbacks, the cheeky childlike antics of the youngsters & the vast depth of feeling that you see in their eyes. I left the group completely awestruck, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, so intense had been the encounter. All our successive treks were equally as mind blowing & awe-inspiring, hence why I have chosen to support the Gorilla Doctors, through the sales of my work, in their quest to protect these amazing but highly endangered animals.
In the last few years I have been lucky enough to have met and spent time with Dr Julian Fennessey and the team at Giraffe Conservation Foundation. I have been hugely inspired by their amazing work throughout Africa to protect one of the world’s most iconic animals which is like so many others facing an uncertain future and a rapidly declining population. Time in the field with them documenting their work and assisting with the monitoring of a small population of endangered giraffe tucked away in a remote corner of north eastern Uganda, was a humbling privilege. Going on to assist Julian and African Parks in the remote Zakouma National Park in Chad to fit GPS collars to the critically endangered Kordofan Giraffe was an amazing experience. I don’t like all the doom and gloom that surrounds conservation, I believe that there is hope but that it relies on all of us to change and to be prepared to contribute to make a difference and protect our natural world. Julian says the words “Not on my watch” when asked about giraffe extinction. A simple but profound statement, this is our watch and we all need to stand up and make a difference.
Through all of this I have obviously experienced some amazing sights and landscapes too including the immense power of 3 famous waterfalls: The spectacular Iguazu Falls in Argentina, with its surrounding tropical forests. The mighty smoke that thunders, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, where I took the flight of angels. The Blue Nile Falls near Lake Tana & the source of the blue Nile in Ethiopia. I have stood on the top of the immense sand dunes in Namibia & trekked across the Andes in Patagonia on horseback stopping to swim in the bracing glacier lakes on route. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to reach the highest point in Africa and have run the Paris marathon in my efforts to raise money for charity, so I am no stranger to a bit of physical adversity.
My travel list continues to grow as I meet more & more interesting & inspiring people & hear tales of for me yet undiscovered lands and animals. What I love most about nature is that it is always there. I can happily head out into the woods and fields surrounding my home in the UK & spend hours marvelling at toadstools & fallen leaves in the autumn, the intricate patterns of jack frost on frozen puddles & grasses through the winter or the annual bluebells heralding the arrival of spring. Not forgetting of course the sun who twice a day provides the splendour in the skies of a sunrise or sunset. Once you open your eyes and slow down, nature is there waiting for you, rewarding you with grace & beauty to feed your soul & feast your eyes upon. So every now & then do take the chance to stop and smell the flowers & experience the magic that is all around.