Deer Photography – Part 1: Stealth

Red deer stag with spring antler growth – 196mm; ISO 400; 1/950 sec; f/4 (click image to view larger size)

Over the past few years, I’ve photographed the deer in Richmond Park on many occasions, so I thought I’d write some articles that may provide useful information to other photographers who might be interested.

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Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

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Daffodil – ISO 400; 60mm macro; f/11; 1/125 sec (click image to view larger size)

In English, Happy St. David’s Day!

Being Welsh, I thought I would mark St. David’s Day with an image of a daffodil, the national flower of Wales. After all, I can still remember having a daffodil pinned to my jumper before heading off to school in the 1960s!

I didn’t want just any type of image though, I wanted to try a technique I’ve known about for a long time but never managed to get around to using before – creating a black background without actually using a physical background.

This technique uses nothing more than the absence of light. It’s quite simple really, once you understand the principle. You don’t need a studio or any fancy lighting gear (I certainly don’t have any), just a flash that you can fire off-camera.

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The Devil’s Punch Bowl

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Mist Over The Punch Bowl – ISO 800; 14mm; f/5.6; 1/60 sec (click image to view larger size)

I’ve paid two visits to The Devil’s Punch Bowl at Hindhead over the past two weeks, firstly on a scouting mission for walking routes and secondly to conduct a 1-2-1 workshop which was then followed by a 2-hour stroll to scout out some more trails.

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Butterflies at RHS Wisley

 

Giant Owl (Caligo telamonius memnon) – ISO 1600; 60mm macro; f/2.8; 1/160 sec (click image to view larger size)

This week I paid a visit to the RHS gardens at Wisley in Surrey, where up to 6000 butterflies will be flying around inside the glasshouse. Officially opening on Saturday 14th January, I went a few days early after a tip from a fellow camera club member that they would be in place before the opening and hopefully not so busy. It certainly was fairly quiet and they may not have had all 6000 in flight, as I imagine most are still to be released into the glasshouse, but there were enough to provide a challenge at photographing them!

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In search of deer … and light!

Stag or Stick?

Stag or Stick? – 135mm; ISO 400; 1/25 sec; f/5.6 (click image to view larger size)

One evening last week I took a stroll with my camera in Richmond Park, hoping to find deer in a pleasing woodland setting with some nice late sunlight. It was a venture destined with failure!

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The day I became a wildlife photographer **

Autumn in the woods

Autumn in the Woods – (ISO 400; 250mm; f/6.7; 1/350 sec)

The day was October 2nd 2011. I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Which is strange, as quite often I can’t remember what I was doing yesterday!

It started off just like any other photography outing. I was in Richmond Park before sunrise, a routine I had become well accustomed to.

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A Change of Perspective

Snake's Head Fritillary with Aphid

Snake’s Head Fritillary with Aphid

A change of perspective can often improve your results when out shooting, as discussed by Scott Bourne in his blog post I read recently, and most photographers are well aware of this. In my case, the change in perspective isn’t to do with moving my feet, or lying down or even selecting a different lens. It’s being unable to get out as much as I normally would due to a bad back. It’s not horrendous so I shouldn’t grumble, it’s just frustrating. When I think back to spring last year, I was out 2-3 times a week in search of bluebells.

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Only One Little Tree

Woodland light

Woodland Light – 50mm; ISO 100; 1/125 sec; f/1.8; -1 EV (click image to view larger size)

For the last couple of years I’ve been making a series of images of a single tree. It’s a rather photogenic little beech tree set in a small but thick pine wood, with a lovely curved shape to the branches and foliage. It was certain contrasts that struck me when I first saw it. Firstly in scale, with the tall pines towering above it helping to emphasise it’s small stature. Then secondly in colour, with the muted browns of the pine trunks and woodland floor being outshone by the vibrant orange beech leaves as they held on through autumn and winter. Also, from certain viewpoints, it appeared very isolated being surrounded on all sides by tall trunks, almost penned in. Continue reading