I was born in Scotland in the sixties and the points on my life’s compass were not so much chosen, as innate. To varying degrees, wildlife, photography, travel writing and art have always been my chosen destinations, my all-encompassing North, East, South and West.
It has been a mighty voyage and my boat is...well, let's just say far more the tall ship 'Endeavour' than the cruise liner 'Star Princess'.
Plying the oceans it has weighed anchor in paradise, survived financial doldrums and been cannonballed through some perfect publishing storms.
But regardless, with my eye firmly on those compass points, I have managed to keep her voyaging and for almost three decades have even made a living doing so - and for this creative, nature loving journeyman that is perhaps my greatest achievement.
After completing a four-year tertiary course in Wildlife Illustration and Photography in Wales in 1986, I took up the position of co-manager at a purpose-built SSPCA wildlife rehabilitation centre in Fife, Scotland. This unusual work provided numerous unique art and photographic opportunities and also took me to some far-flung places, including Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War Eco-disaster in 1991 and eventually to New Zealand, where I emigrated in 1992.
In New Zealand I served as an oiled wildlife response consultant to the government before altering course to pursue a long-held dream. That dream was realized in 1996 with the publication of my first book ‘Creatures’ –an account of my wildlife encounters, using the unusual combination of all three disciplines of writing, art and photography. It was published in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
I became a New Zealand citizen in 1997, but the nagging desire to experience Australia’s wonderful scenery and wildlife inevitably took me across the Tasman Sea and to Sydney in 1998.
Although forever maintaining my wildlife and conservation interests, since 2000 I have worked as a freelance communications professional - and predominantly as a freelance travel writer and photographer for Footprint Travel Guides which is one of the top five international travel guide publishers. This has resulted in a highly unconventional and peripatetic lifestyle. I completed a solo 1st Edition travel guide to New Zealand in 2001 (and up-dated for the 2nd Edition 2003 ;3rd edition 2005, 4th edition 2007 and 5th edition 2010). I also co-authored Footprint Australia (2002/up-dated 2nd Edition 2004) and authored the Footprint Pocket Guide to Sydney (2003) and East Coast Australia-Sydney to Cairns handbook (2003; 2nd edition 2005, 3rd edition 2007 and 4th edition 2010 and 5th edition 2012). I also served as principal contributor for the AA Key Guide New Zealand, 2005. In 2008 I wrote and illustrated the new Thomas Cook East Coast Australia and South East Australia including Tasmania. In 2010 the new format Footprint New Zealand Colour Guide (with Best Photo Locations) was launched, which showcases some of my New Zealand imagery and that of my partner Rebecca Robinson.
I have spent most of the last decade on the road and my 'off-road base' has been split between New Zealand, Australia (Melbourne) and Santa Barbara California. At the present time operations base is Daylesford in the heart of Victoria's Spa Country.
As the sole author of nine travel guides covering New Zealand and East Coast Australia (and although it may be a heady claim) I have probably covered the region more extensively and consistently than anyone else in the travel guide profession. This hugely challenging work has also armed me with a varied and unique communications skill set that I can now effectively bring to bear in the arena of wildlife and land conservation, wildlife rehabilitation and international animal welfare disaster response.
And I aim to make a difference!
As a semi-pro photographer I have amassed thousands of images predominantly of wildlife, landscapes and travel related subjects throughout Australasia. My work is available for licence through the international agency www.alamy.com (refer to NEWS AND LINKS).
Between May 2009 and January 2010 my partner Rebecca and I opened a temporary gallery showcasing our photographic and artwork in Williamstown, Melbourne. It proved a great success and confirmed to us we had a very powerful and effective vision. We would like to thank all that supported us, purchased and continue to collect our work.
Most of the photographs you see on this site and many more are available for single reproduction use, as photo blocks ('Blockart') or as framed or unframed open edition prints using archival inks and paper.
Artwork is also available either as originals, open edition prints or again as 'Blockart'.
In collaboration with my partner and renowned natural science illustrator Rebecca Robinson we have also created a product branded 'BLOCKART'. Blockart is an extensive range of photoblocks, with both photographic images and artwork prints mounted on powder-coated blocks. For detail and purchase refer to the BlockArt section on this website.
I have also ventured in to the rapidly developing medium of travel and photo related iPhone/Pad Applications (refer iPhone Apps - Home Page).
When asked where I live I can only offer a vague description of a thousand places, motor parks and campsites particularly in the wilderness regions of Australasia with a jalopy, plenty of porridge, a well-worn bag of well-worn camera gear and very little else.
Oh, and my advice for budding wildlifers, travel writers, photographers and artists?…
Dare to be different, but never just for the sake of it. If you are amongst sheep, paint yourself black and depart the flock, being sure-metaphorically speaking- to escape the knackers yard and retain your testicals! Vision, patience and passion; integrity, humour, good luck and determination are everything; the ‘system’, modern technology, greed, selfishness, bad luck and sales, are not. Also, before embarking on that journey, be aware (very aware), that a mortgage, the fast reliable car, the silk tie, prime sirloin steak, two kids and a dog named ‘Boon’ are probably not an option...
Above all, in the pursuit of dreams and if the fight is a just one, NEVER GIVE UP.
BOOKS LIST (sole author):
1. ‘Creatures-Encounters in Wildlife Rescue’ Hodder, Moa Beckett (NZ) Hodder and Stoughton (Australia), Hodder Headline (UK) 1996; ISBN: 186958315-9
FEATURES LIST I write regularly for a wide range of periodicals and can offer the rare combination of text, photographs and artwork in one package. Examples include Wanderlust Magazine UK and Real Traveller (UK)
Features about my lifestyle, book and work have appeared in: Amateur Photographer (UK) Sept 12 1992 (cover), October 17 1992 (feature), January 4 1997 (cover and feature);
BBC Wildlife Magazine (book review), May 1997; RSPCA Animal Life Magazine Spring 1997 (feature); Wilderness magazine (NZ) 1997; Lifestyle Magazine (NZ) Dec 1997; Pet NZ April 1998 (book chapter); Australian Magazine (feature article) November 19 1999.
EXHIBITIONS LIST 1986: (Joint) Torch Theatre Milford Haven, Wales, UK.
1988: (Joint) Kingfisher Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.
2003: (Joint) Karpeles Museum Santa Barbara California, USA (refer www.karpeles.com).
2009: (Joint) Melbourne Art Fair 09
PUBLICITY/MEDIA LIST UK: BBC, ITV, Radio Scotland, Radio Clyde, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Dundee Courier. NZ: TV1 (news), TV3 (feature), NZ Herald, Dominion, Otago Times Australia: ABC (Good Morning Show), various radio networks nationwide. The Australian (Weekend colour supplement) Full feature November 1999.
PHOTO AGENTS Photo New Zealand: www.photonewzealand.com
NOTE: This website only presents a small proportion of the photographic images available for single reproduction use. By all means contact us for specific search requests or enquiries.
Many other images are available for licensed use through www.alamy.com (search 'Darroch Donald') and Photo New Zealand/Centrestock, refer: http://www.photonewzealand.com/Main/darrochdonald/ http://www.centrestock.com...Search Darroch Donald and be sure to click on worldwide.
Cover - 'Creatures-Encounters in Wildlife Rescue' (1996)