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Wildlife photographer channels energy during coronavirus lockdown into capturing Sudbury's natural world




Determined to become more productive, Matt Byham decided to hone his skills as an amateur wildlife photographer.

“I got bored of sitting at home and I wanted to do something with my spare time,” said Mr Byham, who works at Byham’s Dairy, his family’s milk and food delivery business in Ballingdon Street, Sudbury.

Since taking up photography two years ago, the hobby has developed into an enduring pastime for the 24-year-old.

H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009980)
H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009980)

“I’m learning something new everyday,” he said.

Accompanied by his four-year-old labrador, Meg, Mr Byham embarks on early morning walks in the hope of capturing rare wildlife scenes at Sudbury’s water meadows.

The pair often go exploring after Mr Byham has completed an early morning shift and has, on occasions, been fortunate enough to spot kingfishers on the riverside.

H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009978)
H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009978)

“I haven’t managed to take a photo of one diving yet, because that’s quite difficult, but I have captured a few pictures of them catching fish,” said Mr Byham, adding that their distinctive sound makes them relatively easy to identify amongst the vegetation.

“It’s quite high-pitched, a bit like a whistling sound,” he said.

While exploring the green space, he has successfully captured an affectionate scene of a mother swan with her young.

H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009982)
H Byham & Son Ltd, 89 Ballingdon St, Sudbury.Matt Byham has developed a passion for wildlife photography since taking it as a hobby two years ago..He goes out on early morning walks to capture wildlife in their natural habitat before starting work at his family's business. Picture by Mark Westley. (38009982)

“I was lying down on the ground and the swan was right in front of me,” he said. “But I didn’t get too close to its cygnets because they can become quite vicious.”

Fellow photographer Ron Smith, also from Sudbury, has helped Mr Byham hone his skills while serving as his mentor.

The pair regularly go out together to explore Sudbury and the wider area in search of wildlife to photograph.

During the coronavirus lockdown, when people were instructed to limit their daily exercise outdoors to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease, Mr Byham conjured up an inventive creation, which enabled him to continue photographing wildlife – all without having to leave the comfort of his home.

Thanks to his father’s old shooting curtain – a camouflaged piece of material used to shoot game fowl, such as pheasants – Mr Byham created a bird hide out of the equipment to observe and photograph a range of species in his Ballingdon Street garden.

During his spare time, Mr Byham often spends up to seven hours a day photographing wildlife and landscapes, with the aim of taking around 300 different photographs each session.

After taking a series of pictures, he regularly uploads his work to an online group on Facebook.

“I like to share them with the community,” he added.


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