About Rachel Sinclair - Part 1 of 2
I’m Rachel Sinclair and I live in the beautifully green city of Sheffield, in the UK, with my husband Keith and our two dogs, Rafiki and Nala. I love travelling to anywhere that has animals and I fell in love with Africa in 2015. Every time I leave, I can’t wait to go back!
I studied photography full-time in Sheffield for 4 years and I am trained in both black and white and colour darkroom printing which I believe really helps me now working in Photoshop and Lightroom. I worked in a high-street studio for 3 years before starting my own business in 2007. I photographed weddings, families and babies but I never really felt that was what I really wanted to do.
I have always loved animals and that is where my real passion lies. I’ve been photographing animals for over 10 years and also teaching people photography. I genuinely get joy from seeing a student’s face light up when they understand how to use their apertures and shutter speeds! I don’t think there is a greater hobby anyone can have, especially wildlife photography where you really get to slow down and see nature!
my early years
I vividly remember my parents taking me to the Granada Cinema on Hoe Street in Walthamstow, London, to see “The Lion King” movie when I was 8 years old! I had read and watched all there was to know about the film beforehand and so I was SUPER excited! I absolutely loved it and to this day, it is still my favourite movie of all time. My dad loved drawing and he painted the characters on my bedroom wall for me, including a few extras like Baloo from the Jungle Book.
Mum and dad loved travelling and we would often visit the Lake District. When we got near the mountains I used to ask them how the sheep get all the way up there. Mum would reply “The farmers catapult them up there!” (I used to actually believe her) I was very lucky to have such loving parents. Mum and dad would take me to Longleat and other zoos because they knew animals fascinated me from a very early age. I collected all of WWF’s Animal World – Mammals: their lives and their future. A friend even adopted an elephant at a zoo for me one year.
Whenever I was quick enough to get the TV remote (I have 2 older brothers) I would always put on a nature programme. One summer when I was 11 years old, dad cooked up a storm of a BBQ and I had a chicken leg in my hand whilst watching a lion tearing into a wildebeest. At that very moment, something just clicked in my head and I put down the chicken leg and announced I was never going to eat an animal again! Much to my parent’s dismay, they had no idea what to feed me. Growing up in a West-Indian environment, being a vegetarian was unheard of! But my loving mother patiently and kindly cooked me something meat-free every night until I moved out in 2007. Twenty years later and I am still a big-time animal loving vegan.
Growing up in London was great however now that I live in Sheffield I feel truly surrounded by nature. We visited South Africa mainly to see baby Elephants but we were also treated to seeing thousands of baby Impala. Both of us usually take books to read whilst on holiday but we didn’t read one when we were there. The animals were entertaining enough! When we were not in a safari jeep we would sit for hours by a watering hole and just watch the visitors. Since then we try and revolve our holidays around nature because for us there is nothing more satisfying and relaxing.
In 2017 my beautiful mum was diagnosed with an aggressive strain of Motor Neuron Disease. She sadly died 10 months later. It was truly devastating and life changing! One thing my mum was notorious for was smiling, even until the last few weeks of her life, she always smiled! That really had an impact on me. I know it’s been said many times before but, life really is too short to do things that you don’t enjoy! And that really does take on a whole new meaning when you lose someone you love so dearly.
As I mentioned earlier, family photography just wasn’t floating my boat! I enjoy working with people but my real passion has always been with animals and nature. I love animals, I love safari, I love photography and I love teaching people how to take amazing photos! So that was it, I just had to start Safari Sinclair.
When I am in Africa I truly feel at peace. We have so much we can learn from nature and other cultures. I feel we have a responsibility to help African’s with their tourism so they can help protect the wildlife. That is why we only use African suppliers for our photo safaris and where we can, we support social enterprises and locally run camps/lodges. It’s important that as tourists we contribute to the African economy, so the money stays in Africa, so it can grow therefore giving conservation a real chance.
I really hope you can join us one day on a photo safari in Africa or on a photography workshop in England. I look forward to meeting you soon!