INVERNESS Camera Club president Owen Cochrane’s wife Evelyn took him on an African photo safari to celebrate a big birthday – and was bitten by the photography bug to the extent she is now also winning prizes for her pictures.
Owen has been club president for seven years, and ordinarily enjoys photographing nature, landscapes and rugby.
But for his landmark 60th birthday, Evelyn helped him celebrate with a Pangolin Photo Safari on ther River Chobe in Botswana.
As part of the trip, Evelyn received expert photographic tuition, and on her return joined Inverness Camera Club – winning first and second place prizes for her images.
She said: “I wouldn’t say I was a photographer just yet, but I enjoy the creative aspect of the camera.
“Two of my African images won prizes as well another on the theme of power where I took a shot of a battery made from two limes. It’s probably not that good technically, but it was a bit off the wall.
“I think we have been bitten by the safari bug as we are now planning a third African trip.”
Owen, a global IT leader for Johnson & Johnson, said: “My parents gave me a camera for my 21st birthday, but it was only when we came to live in Inverness 10 years ago that I really took up photography seriously.
“Evelyn has always referred to herself as a ‘photography widow’ and has been known to sit in the car with a book while I go out taking pictures. But thanks to this trip she now loves it, and is taking some amazing photographs.”
In Botswana the Cochranes were able to get close to animals such as baboons and giraffes on the Chobe River including one encounter that was just a bit too close for comfort.
Owen said: “An elephant decided to wander in our direction. The guide told everyone not to move, but I had my camera trained on the elephant in silent mode.
“The elephant came closer and closer to the Jeep, to the point where it was so close that my camera could no longer focus about a metre away.
“The elephant nudged the vehicle a little bit, enough to make it move, flapped its ears and wandered off. We could all breathe again!”
Following the couple’s first trip in June, they again travelled to Botswana to attend the Chobe Birding Festival.
Owen added: “Since the first trip I have done lots of presentations at different camera clubs, and have recommended this experience. We were treated so well and the tuition was exceptional.”