THIS week’s spotlight falls on Lesley Tilson, another regular contributor to our series highlighting the Chilterns landscape through the changing seasons.
Working on the frontline for the NHS as a midwife and nurse during the pandemic, photography became her passion, providing a welcome escape from the stresses and strains of working life.
“Pacing the Chiltern hills with my furry friends offered me opportunities for reflection and peace,” she says. “The countryside provides so much natural beauty and thinking space and supported me with my coping strategies at such a difficult time.”
It wasn’t long before she discovered how to take a ‘not bad’ mobile photograph using her iPhone, and winning a competition which attracted more than 200 entries was a welcome confidence boost too.
Her shot of a stag drinking scooped the mobile category prize in the contest, organised by the Chesham Wildlife facebook group.
Since then her photos have been regularly selected for the local newspaper, with family and friends saying how much they enjoy seeing them.
“I love landscape and wildlife, in particular the wonderful deer,” says Lesley. “I regularly visit nature reserves and National Trust properties in the Chilterns, many advertised in The Beyonder.
“Some of my favourite walking spots are in Great Missenden, Coombe Hill and Grangelands. More local walks are down Shardeloes and the River Misbourne. “
When a close work colleague was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of the pandemic, she found therapy and recovery in painting Lesley’s photos.
“I was very humbled when she told me my photography offered her healing opportunities through painting,” says Lesley. “She is now in remission. We have since completed a 2022 charity calendar and we are raising money for Breast Cancer Now and Thames Valley Air Ambulance. We’ve sold 60 so far, so I’m really delighted.”
So what plans does she have for the future?
“I was recently gifted a Nikon Z7 and very much look forward to learning how to use it properly, taking my passion to another level,” she says.
“The pandemic does have some positive outcomes and with retirement planned for 2022, I am planning to explore our beautiful countryside in much more detail.”
Lesley’s charity calendar is available to buy via PayPal and costs £9.95 + £1.50 postage and packaging.