About Sarah

Writer, editor, photographer

Sarah as a baby

Copyright Raymond Penn

This is me, just months old, in Hong Kong (apparently taking my first lessons on how to manipulate a lens?). My father was on National Service, which is how I came to be born out there.

We returned to the UK when I was a toddler, so I sadly I have no memories of Hong Kong – but I grew up surrounded by beautiful memorabilia and wonderful stories.Most of my childhood was spent in Pinner, in North London. I was one of those girls who loved animals, and I took a degree in Zoology at Liverpool University.

Sarah dressed as the Queen at a student parade

Copyright unknown

Liverpool was quite an experience – in parts there was considerable deprivation and hardship. I loved the place, but my BBC accent was not easy for some Liverpudlians to understand, and I learned some very useful lessons about one’s place in life. (The picture is of me on a Rag Week float – not my place in life though).

My first job was in a huge brewery in Luton, where I worked in the quality control laboratories. I’ll pause here to allow all the usual jokes about that…

After a couple of years I moved to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), where I spent a total of 27 years. In that time I worked in the membership team, the library (the second biggest ornithological library in the UK), answered general wildlife enquiries from the public, the film unit, a while developing habitat management advice, then the team that developed RSPB policy on a range of wildlife issues, before coming to rest in an internal conservation communication role.

Sarah and Derek with a bald eagle called LeucAnd at the RSPB I met the colleague who is now my husband – Derek. The picture shows us on a work trip to Minnesota in 1997. The eagle is called Leuc. He was calmer than us about the whole experience.

In 2012 I took the leap and went freelance. And very exciting it’s proving, too.

PS. I love taking pictures.

Some years ago my point-and-shoot camera was proving frustrating, because I just couldn’t capture the pictures that I could see with my eye. Then it broke. So I took the plunge, and started learning to use a ‘proper’ camera. And things snowballed…

Logo of a Licentiate member of the Royal Photographic SocietyI now have a City & Guilds Level 2 Progression Award in Photography (with distinction), and I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society, having reached their first level of distinction in 2011.

Most of the images on this website are mine, but you can see more of my pictures on Flickr. I often contribute a picture to Derek’s Guardian Country Diary (on-line only).