WORCESTER — When professional nature and wildlife photographer Peter Tomlinson and his wife moved to the city at the beginning of this year, he knew he had made the right decision.
“When we arrived on Jan. 1, there was a bald eagle circling Indian Lake,” he said, “and we thought it was a great omen.”
Tomlinson was born in England and has lived in Belgium, Scotland, France and Monaco. He has to travel regularly for his work. But although he has been all over the world, the Worcester transplant has found that some of his most popular work has been from his own backyard.
“Local people like to buy pictures of the local surroundings,” Tomlinson said, “so one of the priorities I’ve had since moving to Worcester is to take pictures of Worcester.”
Tomlinson has spent much of this year exploring Worcester County through his camera lens. He just completed a series of photos of the Old Stone Church in West Boylston in all four seasons; he got his autumn shot a few weeks ago of the building surrounded in fall colors.
“Whenever I go somewhere for photographs, I do research,” he said, investigating the most interesting places to take pictures in a given area and what will make a compelling image. Often this means showcasing iconic landmarks in a way that properly captures their feel, such as Union Station at night, its bright lights contrasting against the night sky.
Despite meticulous planning and research, some of his best work comes from just being in the right place at the right time — with a camera.
“Sometimes, you see these amazing things by chance, like a hawk in your yard or on the street,” said Tomlinson. One evening after a storm provided a “spectacular sunset over Indian Lake,” he said. “I saw it through my window and just ran out with my camera.”
He frequently visits Institute Park early in the morning, photographing swans, great blue herons and ospreys. He’s hopeful to eventually snap a coveted photo of an osprey in the act of fishing, as it dives down to the water. While he has yet to see an eagle here again, he is holding out hope.
This isn’t to say Tomlinson’s collection is lacking for eagle images ‒ the key is Worcester eagles. Just as they would prefer local landscapes, customers want to see their own local animals too.
“I got three sets of cardinal photos,” he said by way of example, “in three different places, and by and large, Massachusetts residents want to buy the Massachusetts photos.”
As his first Worcester anniversary approaches, Tomlinson is excited to continue expanding his portfolio and bringing the same level of enthusiasm to exploring his new home as to his globe-trotting adventures.
“I’ve photographed chipmunks in Institute Park with as much pleasure as a lion in Africa,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Worcester wildlife photographer Peter Tomlinson's most popular work is in his backyard