Shetland Otter, Seabird and Landscape Photography

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Book launch: Otters in Shetland The tale of the draatsi

At last- after years of planning and the inevitable blood sweat and tears endured with such a huge project, it is finally here and the story of Shetlands otters is communicated through our book Otters in Shetland- The tale of the draatsi. Read all about the book Otters in Shetland here.


Shetland Photo Tours specialises in nature photography, providing unique and dedicated photography holidays for individuals and small groups.  Shetland Photo Tours  is run by Richard Shucksmith, a photographer and ecologists who’s images have won many awards. Richard’s ethos is about getting the photographer in the right place at the right time of day, to get the best from the subject and the light, to create beautiful inspiring images of art.

The Shetland Islands archipelago is the UK’s most northerly island group, made up of over 100 islands, of which only 15 are inhabited. Positioned on the same latitude as Greenland, Shetland is closer to the Arctic Circle than to Manchester. Although a large island group stretching 96 miles (155km), Shetland has an even larger coastline at 1,697 miles (2,702 km). This coastline encompasses a variety of wild coastal habitats, supporting a rich variety of life.

Being a Shetland Islands based ecological photographer I spend most of my time exploring Shetland’s wild coast.  I have an obsession with Shetland otters, spending hundreds of hours every year following and photographing this charismatic mammal.  Shetland boasts the highest density of otters in Europe, and the coastlines are some of the best shores I have ever worked on to photograph otters.  Otters in Shetland are well known for feeding during the day and with my intimate knowledge of Shetland otters and their habitat almost ensures encounters with this alluring animal every day.

Shetland seabirds are another favourite of mine.  Every summer over a million seabirds come to Shetland to breed on the rugged coastline, creating one of Shetland’s wildlife spectacles. Dramatic sea cliffs teeming with thousands of nesting gannets, charismatic puffins on the grassy sea cliff tops making for an unforgettable experience.  Shetland is a great place to explore wild places with an abundance of wildlife.

Short films

Otter photography and photo tours

Shetland Photo Tours

The Shetland Photo Tours aim to offer you an intimate experience with the breathtaking and spectacular wild wonders of Shetland. One to one, or very small groups, I will be your guide, ecologist, and tutor. My aim is to create and give you a unique experience of Shetland that you will cherish forever more.

Otter Photography Shetland

Shetland is one of the best places in the UK to watch and photograph otters. In Shetland otters forage during the day and Shetland has the highest density of otters in Europe and probably one of the best studied populations in the UK. This alone makes it one of the best places in Europe to see otters.

Underwater Gannet Photography

Capturing underwater gannets With a 6ft wingspan, pristine white plumage, black wingtips, yellow saturation to the head and an impressive dagger-shaped bill, the Northern Gannets is not only Europe’s largest but also one of it’s  most attractive bree
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Wild Shetland Seabird Photo Tour

Shetland has a high diversity of seabirds, with twenty one species breeding around the coast. In the height of the summer breeding season the colonies are a hive of activity, with a throng of birds coming and going as they rear their chicks.
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Shetland Otter Photography

In my opinion Shetland is the best place in the UK to photograph otters because of the density of otters living along the coastline, often multiple family groups. The coastlines are also excellent for photography.
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Otter Field Ecology Workshop

Otters lead fascinating lives, highly evolved to exploit both the underwater and terrestrial environments. Otters are shy, but with knowledge of how they live, what signs to look for and how to approach them, they can be observed in their natural environment.
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