30 April 2009

A little update before May

With a mixture of things including wind direction, I've yet to get in the new roe deer hide - and once into May I know things will get quieter as the females begin to give birth... Anyway, the last couple of weeks have been busy: a couple more butterfly shots (which I'm desperately short of), and two more articles commissioned for the summer.

My first craft fair at Ripley went well, and I met a number of people who were interested in my work (must take more business cards next time!). I was pleased with the number of visitors - a steady flow during the day, and a really nice bunch of people exhibiting too... Next fair is Sunday June 14th - same venue - www.yorkshirefairs.co.uk/dates.asp .

On another subect, I recently took some images at a train station; for a nature article believe it or not.. Although I wasn't stopped by anyone on this particular day, it reminded me of the problems that photographers can face. I remember one day a few years ago, photographing a building in the centre of Leeds and being asked to move on by a security guard. Things have gone a little too far I think, so just bear this in mind. If it's possible to work without a tripod it can make a big difference - that three legged companion seems to make people immediately suspicious. Of course if you were a terrorist, I doubt you'd be taking pictures in broad daylight with a tripod, but there you go...

22 April 2009

Frustrating Mammals

The last few weeks have been frustrating ones. Amongst other subjects I have been trying to capture decent images of an animal that I have never got close to. They are roe deer. Having seen them from a distance, and having erected a permanent hide at what I thought was the perfect spot, they still continue to elude, surprise, and just downright baffle me. Although frustrating, they are fascinating creatures. I have now been lucky enough to see them at much closer range, and watch a range of behaviour from 3 does and 2 bucks.

This image shows a somewhat lucky encounter with roe deer on a morning of thick fog.

This was a truly wild encounter and one that will stay in my mind for ever. At around 7am I entered this meadow, and through the fog, the unmistakable shapes of 3 roe deer suddenly appeared. With little option, I ducked down and stayed low whilst slipping on my camouflage hood and positioning my beanbag and rucksack. Slowly, one of the does got closer and closer, picking her way through the wild grasses, until eventually she reached a little clearing. Forced to to use manual, I focussed quickly and fired the shutter, managing just 2 shots. She looked in my direction - paused... then turned round and trotted off. The combination of the long grasses and thick fog make this quite a special image. It also makes me think how some of the best wildlife images are truly wild ones - uncontrived, completely natural... and a snapshot in time from a wild animal amidst its natural landscape.

As I write this, I am about to check the wind directions for the next couple of days. A westerly wind and I will be in my new hide - downwind of the deer, and in a spot that should see them walking straight towards me. Fingers crossed! If that doesn't work, then there's still the recent addition to the farm that may be 'photographable'. A beautiful short eared owl that seems to have taken to quartering the meadow - even in broad daylight...