23 December 2011

What Makes a Good Picture??

These days I find myself analysing more and more. There are so many excellent nature photos around these days - but why are some pictures more successful than others? There are many elements that make an image appealing: light, composition, colour; and then there's the subject itself. Established nature photographer Niall Benvie has an interesting take: he believes in 'the edge'. The concept is pretty simple really - the edge can represent the end of the season; the coast meeting the land; the edge of daylight, or perhaps the edge of life itself. I've always liked this idea, although for me I'd say that it is the 'transition' that can make the best images - as an example, imagine a plain green barley field in spring, or the same crop just before harvest; both are monotonous in tone and colour, but view the field during that brief period where 'the change' takes place and you'll see a wonderful tapestry of texture with colourful flicks of the new season creating more variety in the scene. That might work for fields of barley, but not for everything.
I've come to the conclusion that the best pictures are simply the ones that linger. Time and time again I find myself drawn to the same images (mine and others) and it's this lingering quality that keeps me coming back. Images where your eye continues to move around, and where you never seem to get bored - those are the most successful of all. So for next year I know what I will be trying to achieve: fresh wildlife images; and ones that truly - linger.

www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk   www.paulmiguel.co.uk

20 December 2011

Those crazy Grouse..!!

This morning I had one of the most fun experiences ever photographing wildlife. On Grinton Moor I came across what seemed a particularly obliging red grouse. After getting out of the car to check its reaction, I realised that this was a rogue bird - with no fear whatsoever..!  Not only did the bird come close enough for frame filling portraits... but it seemed intent on trying to see me off! It was rather comical to watch the grouse follow me around, but also quite frustrating photography wise. I would quickly run to put enough distance between us, then hit the deck with camera on beanbag, waiting for it to stop. The only problem was that it didn't. It didn't stop! The bird would simply carry on running until it reached me - well below the minimum focussing distance of my lens..! After a few attempts the bird seemed to settle down and I watched it pecking at the tops of the ling heather before having a brief preen. Finally I managed to get some cracking portraits and lovely backgrounds.

This was a somewhat strange experience to have a wild bird follow me around. It was literally like taking the grouse for a walk.. bizarre! I'm not entirely sure why some grouse behave in this way; I think it's purely territorial This male didn't take kindly to anything - from people, to bikes and cars.! It was clearly 'his patch'.

My technique was surely put to the test today. With such an active bird I was constantly having to re-compose whilst trying to keep everything as stable as possible in low light. Even using a beanbag I had to work hard to keep everything pin sharp working at shutter speeds of around 1/40 second. Many were unsharp, but my hit rate overall was good.

15 December 2011

Wildlife Extra Competition - Published Book

Following the Wildlife Extra Photography Competition, my commended image will be published with many other images in a book produced by Wildlife Extra. This has been produced through Bob's Book -  Click Here to browse the book online.
www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk     www.paulmiguel.co.uk

09 December 2011

Winter Photography Workshop, West Yorkshire

I will be leading a nature photography workshop at RSPB Fairburn Ings, Yorkshire on Saturday 14th January. We will be concentrating on capturing winter scenes - so hopefully plenty of frost, ice or even snow! We will look at close up photography, wider landscapes and birds too. These half day courses are ideal for beginners and also for photographers looking to improve technique.
The day runs from 11am til 3pm including lunch. Bookings are made through Fairburn Ings nature reserve .  These photography courses were very popular last year so I imagine it will book up fast! I will be running at least two more courses during 2012.

www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk   www.paulmiguel.co.uk

07 December 2011

01 December 2011

Perfect Light for Landscape Photography

When I first set up this photography blog, I did so with the aim of posting wildlife and landscape photos. As it happens I seem to end up almost always posting something wildlife related - perhaps there's just more to talk about! That said, I still spend a lot of time photographing landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales - for magazines, article and my picture library .

This image were taken at Gordale in Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales, just as the sun was rising above the horizon to illuminate the hill top.
It's a real cliche, but when it comes to landscape photography, light is key. In particular this is true of Gordale Scar. I had never had a proper go at photographing Gordale Scar - it's always difficult for the light. The sun only reaches the whole scene during midday - and too much contrast can be a major problem. However, on this cold winter morning the conditions were just about perfect. The hour or so I spent photographing in the valley bottom proved to be a masterclass in lighting - and a reminder of what landscape photography is all about.
With strong winds and moving clouds, the weak winter sun would momentarily cast soft light on the scene whilst still creating shadows in the background. With the sun behind me I had no need for a polariser - and the cloud filled sky was dark enough to maintain detail without using a graduated filter. An image photographed in natural light with no filters. This is quite rare in my landscapes - but when the conditions are right, the conditions are right...

29 November 2011

Photography Competition Finalist - Wildlife Extra

Once again I am a finalist in the Wildlife Extra Photography Competition - this time with a landscape shot of Fairburn Ings early one summer morning. Click Here to see the photo. The conditions were amazing leading to a moody image that depicted the urban surroundings of Fairburn in Yorkshire.

Winning shots from all categories will be announced this Friday!

www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk       www.paulmiguel.co.uk

20 November 2011

Wildlife PhotographyTalk at Selby Camera Club

Thanks to everyone at Selby Camera Club in Yorkshire for making me feel so welcome as their guest speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and was really pleased with the comments - particularly that the intimacy and connection of wildlife to its environment really came across in the pictures. That's what I strive to do, so it's great when this is recognised. It only makes me even more determined to get closer to wildlife and capture truly special moments in nature...

http://www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk     http://www.paulmiguel.co.uk

18 November 2011

Photographing a captive Goshawk...

Photographing a captive goshawk was a real challenge today. Even when working with captive birds of prey, achieving good images is anything but easy. Finding suitable perches and backgrounds whilst trying to cope with terrible light in a dark woodland are just some of the challenges. Add flight shots into the bargain and it becomes even harder..!  The image I had in mind was almost impossible to capture, due to such low light levels. In the end the best result was photographing side on whilst panning to capture a motion shot; even with this technique I found myself using ISO 1000  -  I think for the first time ever..!!
Towards the end of the day, the fleeting sun provided soft backlighting for a pleasing natural shot of a goshawk within its woodland habitat. Many thanks again to Ben...

http://www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk/     http://www.paulmiguel.co.uk/

13 November 2011

New Yorkshire Wildlife Photography Tour 2012!

I will be running a wildlife photography tour next April based at the Solberge Hall Hotel on the outskirts of the Yorkshire Dales. This is an all inclusive photography workshop of 2 nights and 3 days. We will be visiting some of the best locations in the U.K. to photograph upland birds including red grouse, lapwing and curlew. We will also photograph wild peregrines at Malham Cove, spend half a day photographing red deer, and capture natural images of captive birds of prey. This is a photography packed wildlife holiday in some of the best wildlife locations in England..

Bookings can be made online.

http://www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk http://www.paulmiguel.co.uk

16 October 2011

New Website: Nature Photography Courses

My new website is finally up and and running at http://www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk/ The website offers a range of wildlife and landscape photography courses for all levels - from birds in the wild to captive raptors. I've added a couple of new workshops for 2012 such as red deer and water voles. There is also a half day beginners landscape course. Using clients' feedback I have designed new courses and improved on existing ones.

I also have an all inclusive wildlife photography workshop in Yorkshire from 11th - 13th April 2012. This includes all accommodation, meals and transport.

09 October 2011

Autumn Roe Deer

A couple of weeks back I was out looking for roe deer again. It was during that ridiculously hot spell, and it seemed to bring a wave of wildlife activity. I don't think I have ever had so many quality views of wildlife in one day. From roe deer to foxes, red kites, hares and more.. It was wonderful.
This image shows one male roe deer chasing another male. Roe are funny animals; you never know what they are going to do next. At first they wandered casually into the field; then suddenly broke out into a frenzy of galloping. After a few seconds they were back to normality and carried on happily grazing together. I managed to stalk pretty close with a straight 300mm lens. Annoyingly the deer I was concentrating on didn't spot me at all; but the other one did..  One bark and they were both off, leaping away to safety and putting end to another morning's wildlife photography...

Autumn Bird of Prey Photography Workshop

Many thanks to Ben and his team for providing us with some excellent birds on yesterday's photography workshop. The male goshawk is a really special bird and a joy to photograph in the pine wood habitat; I particularly liked the autumn colours in the background. Everyone got really natural looking images and we had a free flying barn owl with no jesses for flight. Ben also went to huge efforts to create a very convincing habitat for the white tailed eagle - complete with a freshly caught cod!

Thanks to everyone who attended this autumn birds of prey workshop. It was a very enjoyable day - despite the rain..!
The next birds of prey day will be next year on March 30th at an old farm near Masham. View Ben Potter and Birds of Prey Displays in North Yorkshire for shows, demonstrations and pest control.

05 October 2011

Yorkshire Dales Calendar Image Front Cover

For the second year running, one of my images is appearing on the front cover of the Yorkshire Dales Calendar published by J Salmon. The image is a scene photographed just outside Hawes in Wensleydale. I almost didn't send this particular picture in - but that's sometimes the way it goes. The images you don't expect to sell do the best..!
J Salmon have been going for 100 years and still turn out a massive range of high quality calendars. They're also a really good bunch to deal with too.

Summer Returns!

With temperatures increasing to a completely unseasonal level, I managed a couple of productive days photographing agricultural landscape images. Many of the fields had been cut, providing lovely tramlines of fresh green grass running throughout the landscape. The lines were so powerful I decided to return early the next day to capture the scene at dawn. The forecast was accurate and the sky clear. Composition was the hardest part of this photography shoot; so many different angles. As often is the case - the simplest composition seemed to be the best..
Later in the day I was treated to a wonderful wildlife sight; an adult fox casually wandering between the tram lines, investigating the green mounds in search of food. I love to capture natural images like this one - something that says more about the animal, rather than a straight portrait... Funnily enough I had just been talking to a guy who had described badgers doing this very thing during the last hours of daylight.

19 September 2011

New Photography Workshops Website on the Way!

Finally I am getting close to finishing my new website for photography workshops. As I am running an increasing number of workshops I decided to design a brand new website dedicated purely to this part of my photography business. This will include similar landscape courses to those I have run in the past along with wildlife: upland birds, woodland birds and birds of prey. I've also added some new subjects including water voles and red deer, plus a very affordable half day landscape photography course which includes a twilight shoot. The website will also include a client gallery consisting of many images taken by participants on different workshops.

The new website should be up in the next couple of weeks and will be at www.naturephotographycourses.co.uk

My current website will still be online and will also have a bit of a facelift, with new pictures.

17 August 2011

Too close to a Roe Deer?

It's been a while since I've been out to photograph my roe deer, having other wildlife and landscape subjects to concentrate on. With a good forecast I decided to set out early in the hope of a successful stalk that would lead to good pictures. This particular morning I got lucky, spotting a lone buck resting in the long grass. I stalked nearer using the hedgerow, then carefully crawled between the barb wire of a fence. Finally I was at the edge of the meadow and could see that the buck was sleeping. I was already pretty close but needed to get a little nearer. A minute or so later, after dragging myself through the wet grass, I was ready. Now was the time to rise above the grasses. I rose up and made a noise. No reaction. I did it again. Nothing. Finally after getting louder and louder the deer opened its eyes and looked in my direction. By this point I was half stood, ready with camera. I fired the shutter as he looked my way, and then quickly he was up on all fours. I was in fact too close!! I fired just two frames before he fled, then watched him leap towards the wood, barking gruffly in annoyance. From the two clear shots I took, one had the antlers out of frame: the other was perfect. I had got lucky..

07 August 2011

Photographing Insects - Hand-held Photography

In terms of wildlife, insects are probably my least photographed subject, so this year I really wanted to try and get some decent images - namely butterlies, dragonflies and bees.A recent trip to a nature reserve proved to be a little quiet for butterflies and dragonflies, but there was a good number of buzzing bees and hoverflies to practice on.
There are different techniques when it comes to insect photography: some photographers prefer to search for their insects early in the morning and get up close whilst they are still resting. This approach is great - if you can find the insects roosting! The other method is once its warmed up - by waiting by a productive spot, then capturing the insect as it visits a flower head or returns to a favoured perch. Whichever method you choose, insect photography is a real challenge. Shoot at first light and you can find yourself with very low shutter speeds - and moving in a tripod can easily disturb the subject. Photograph later in the day and you almost certainly have increased breeze, along with much more active subjects making them difficult to track. Lighting is an issue too: once the sun is high in the sky, the light becomes too harsh for my liking. After a couple of days photograping the same patch - I think I've decided my prefered technique. The best conditions, I believe, are warm days with high cloud. This gives good quality of lighting whilst still giving you reasonably fast shutter speeds. In addition - the insects seem to slow down, as opposed to a day of bright sunshine. On one particular afternoon the light was rather overcast, but it was still very warm. The many bees, hoverflies and gatekeepers were still active, but they definitely seemed to show slower movements, making it much easier to get close.
 Hand-holding the camera is simply the best option in this kind of situation. Even if you are waiting by a favoured patch of flowers, you never quite know where the insect will land - and you may want to adjust your position for a better composition. Rating the ISO at about 400 can give you an aperture of around f8 with a shutter speed of around 1/250 if the light is right.
 These images were taken in more overcast conditions with shutter speeds down to 1/100 second in some cases. Even then - with little breeze, a lot of care and continuous firing, I was able to gain some pin sharp images which proves that it is possible to capture insects without extremely fast shutter speeds - and hand-held.

31 July 2011

Encounters with a Sparrowhawk

I've always had a particular love of sparrowhawks - and to this day a sighting of this raptor fills me with excitement. It was whilst waiting by a pond for water voles to appear that I had an amazing and quite unusual encounter with this sparrowhawk. At first it was a typical glimpse - the bird shooting low over the reeds and quickly changing direction. To my surprise though, this bird banked back round towards me and landed in a tall tree - just fifty yards or so away. I expected it to stop briefly and then move on - but it actually stayed a while. I was even able to change lenses and take my time to get a shot.

After 5 minutes or so it took flight, passing ridiculously close, before disappearing somewhere in the trees. My attention was drawn elsewhere and after a few more minutes I walked closer to the pond, only for the same sparrowhawk to suddenly shoot up from deep in the reeds and land in another tree at the edge of the water. Although the plumage was more like a male, the size suggested that it was a female - and clearly it was hunting something specific. No doubt it was one of the many coot or moorhen chicks in the reeds, and it seemed that this bird wasn't going to leave until it had got its kill.

I have heard stories of sparrowhawks finding a nesting site and returning repeatedly to raid the site, picking off one young bird at a time. This might seem evil, but quite simply it's smart. With its own chicks to feed a sparrowhawk must take every opportunity and easy pickings should be exploited. For me I was just lucky enough to watch an often secretive predator at incredibly close quarters.

Photography Workshop at Fairburn Ings

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's photography workshop at Fairburn Ings. I think everyone got some useful tips and thankfully the weather was great too. A bit quiet on the butterfly front, but pleny of plants and flowers to practice on. As for dragonflies - the darters were out in force but the bigger hawkers just didn't seem to want to come close enough.

Thanks to the group for making it such an enjoyable day - everyone was really enthusiastic and keen to have a go at new techniques. Examples of particpants' images can be seen in my Flickr group. I still have a few places on the 6th August photography workshop - contact RSPB Fairburn Ings for information.

23 July 2011

My first Water Vole Photos!!

This morning was incredibly exciting for me. It was my second visit to a water vole site, and one that is excellent for photography. I've wanted to photograph these little mammals for ages, so to find such a workable spot is a dream come true; and it's only 20 minutes drive away..  The voles seem fairly active, and although I've only seen one at a time, I definitley saw different individuals.

They are a delight to spend time with. I had some views so close I couldn't quite believe it - and I was lucky enough to watch some natural behaviour too. I love to watch them swim - it's funny watching them with their heads above the water - but boy can they shift..!  Hopefully back tomorrow morning and then I will see what I can get over the next couple of months. Can't wait for some good light and beautiful reflections - that will really make the shots work..

20 July 2011

Who says rain stops play..?

Heavy rain is usually my cue to get some more work done in the office - it's useless for pictures... right..? Well, not always. Wildlife photography is as much about capturing the surrounding atmosphere as it is about recording the actual subject. This afternoon was a perfect example - as I drove along the winding upland track near Grinton looking for red grouse. Some of the downpours were just torrential, and within minutues there were large puddles and temporary streams cascading across the road. No good for wildlife you might think. I've often thought just that - but today was different. I decided to photograph in the rain, to create more atmospheric shots... and to produce something different from the norm. Not only did the rain record beautifully, but the quality of the deeply subdued light gave wonderfully rich colours and superb detail. And on top of that - it was rather fun too...!

 I needed to be prepared to shoot in such soggy conditions and used my own waterproof cover for the camera and lens. This allowed me to shoot in extremely heavy rain from the car. At first I shot on ISO 250, then after securing some shots switched to ISO 100. Shutter speeds were ranging from 1/80 to 1/30 and in all cases the rain was recording as streaks... just the way I wanted. The majority of the grouse were young birds, and all were capable of fending for themselves. Pitty no other birds stuck around, but I just don't think they were able to tough it out like them grouse..!
Note that if you come on one of my Upland Birds Photography Courses and the weather looks atrocious - all is not lost..!!

19 July 2011

Short Eared Owl Photography

Every so often we find an opportunity that we just wished we had taken earlier: in this case it's short eared owls. I've watched them hunt the grassy meadows on my friend's farm, and although I was pretty sure, I could never say for certain that they were nesting - in fact it seemed unlikely given the setting - and so close to Leeds. But now I have confirmed it! One of the great things about young owls is that they are just so noisy..! It didn't take long after hearing one pipe up, to realise that there were at least two young owl fledglings sitting in the trees - and the adults were still bringing in food. If only I'd figured this a couple months earlier..!! The picture opportunities would have been amazing.. Still, it's good to know they are at home here and I'm already looking forward to next spring.

Shorties always fill me with excitment. There's something magical about this bird - almost in the literal sense. For such a big bird they are incredible at keeping themselves hidden here on the farm. For one to suddenly arrive in the middle of a field in broad daylight is rather a shock - especially given their size. To watch them hunt is a privilege. Graceful birds, and surprisingly agile as they follow the hedgerows and flap low over the meadows. One of the best things about these birds is that they are relatively easy  to photograph as they will hunt the same fields, and they seem to take little notice if you stay quietly at the field edge. These shots were taken just before 9 p.m. - beautifully backlit in golden light. I tried my vole impression but the owl didn't seem interested... must work on getting it right.. Simon King did a great job with barn owls.. I think I need a higher pitch...  Anyway, I'm hoping that the young birds hang around for a while and maybe I'll get to see them practising their own hunting skills... 

09 July 2011

Wildlife Photography Techniques: stalking mammals

I've recently spent a lot of time stalking a variety of wildlife including roe deer, brown hare and red fox - so here are a few tips that I've learnt that can make all the difference in getting closer:

1. Research your subject: not all animals have the same senses or see in the same way. Roe Deer for example see in monochrome - their sight is much more sensitive to movement and human outline.
2. Camouflage hoods are great, but it's still worth adding extra camouflage to break up the outline of your head. Stitch in green netting which can be stuffed with various grasses, bracken and even branches to make your head as un-human as possible.
3. Be aware of ground cover. Smaller mammals can be well concealed in summer - so you might need to keep a check with binoculars as you approach to be sure you're not being seen.
4. Stay low. It's hard work but keeping close to ground level is the best way to ensure you're not spotted.
5. Use AV mode so you don't have to worry about changing light as you get closer.
6. Try to use sunny days so you can use faster shutter speeds and hand-hold. Tripods/monopods can be very impractical in stalking situtations.

Hopefully off to try for my local short eared owl again this evening... fingers crossed!!

Photographing Red Squirrels

I actually photographed these red squirrels back in March, but it's taken me til now to process the images. At a private site I had the privilege of spending almost a whole day with a small group of reds, at the edge of a pine wood. These squirrels are so confiding that some would scamper right past my feet - I even had one that took an interest in my camera bag..! They really are one of the most beautiful of all our British wildlife - so dainty; so nimble, and a wonderful character.

Many thanks to the landowner for allowing me to spend time photographing these wonderful little mammals - it is much appreciated.

02 July 2011

To Photograph Wild or Captive..??

The subject has been written about many times - by many amateurs and professional photographers alike. Is it right to photograph captive species..? Personally I don't think the question should be: is it right; but rather - what's the reason for doing so.? Yes, I have spent a fair number of hours photographing captive species, including falcons, hawks, owls, hedgehogs and red squirrels. These subjects are constantly in demand, and as a professional wildlife photographer I need to have them on file. In fact, my reason for shooting these types of images is often not in the expectation that they will sell as invidual pictures, but rather in their use to illustrate my written articles on nature. In this way I guess it's more of a journalistic approach. I'm not naive in the reality of just how many of these pictures are available, so I know that it will take some luck for one to find its way onto a greetings card or calendar.

This brings me to my main point: just how sensible is it to shoot these images in the current climate.? Do a picture search with any photo libary and you'll find page after page of red squirrel, goshawk, red fox and the like.. So, yes these images are saleable - but where does it go from here..? As these types of images become increasingly common, they begin to lose impact; and there is a crucial part of the image missing - the story. For these images, there is no story - no background, no preparation, no tale of discovering a wild animal and working the site to finally achieve that special image. For me, it's not just about the ethics of shooting captive - it's simply about the surrounding story of how those images came to be. I make no apologies for photographing captive species and no doubt I will continue to do so on a relatively small scale. But I honestly believe that the future is in story-telling. Things often come full circle (look at some of the clothes out there these days) and photography is no different. Editors and readers are always looking for something new - and I think that the 'new' future will be once again in photographing completely wild animals in their natural habitat, and the stories of how photographers achieved the images.

This recent roe buck image illustrates my point pretty well. I could have photographed roe deer in captivity but would never have been able to capture the animal in this natural setting of a wild buttercup meadow. Shot in captivity - once asked how I got the shot, my answer would have been: "I turned up, used a telephoto lens, made the most of the light and composed the shot...oh, and I paid some money too.."
So how did I get this roe buck..? Answer -"I've been watching a group of roe deer for the last 3 months. I arrive at 5.00am and reach my usual check-point wearing camouflage. I spot a buck and hind towards the far end of the buttercup meadow and contemplate going for the stalk. The decision to stalk is made by weighing up the benefits of extra stability (stuck in one position) against potential camera shake (hand-held stalking). In this light I can use ISO 200 and get 1/1000 second - but I need to get damn close with a 300mm lens! I manage to get to the opposite side of the hedgerow in the adjacent field - there's plenty of cover, but it's a true crawl all the way. What the hell! In wet grass, I crawl around 50 yards trying to make zero noise all the time. I stop and look up. They're still there. Just get past these bushes and I'm close enough... My camouflage hood has netting with various grasses stuffed in to break up my outline, so I should be o.k.. The female has disappeared, but the male's still there making his way to the corner of the field. There's a barb wire fence in the way.. so I have to rise higher to get a clear shot. One click... the buck doesn''t even seem to notice! He moves forward and now the shot's there. I compose with the deer looking into space and have no option but to use the out of focus hedgerow as foreground. A couple more shots - perfect!!"

I'll continue to concentrate on wild subjects and have a story to tell. There are many pictures out there - but there are also many, many more that have never even been taken. It's only by putting in the time and gaining the knowledge that these will come about.

A great many thanks to Andrew and Fiona for allowing me the opportunity to watch and photograph these fascinating animals on your land.

12 June 2011

Photographing Upland Birds

I recently had an amazing few hours on the moors above Grinton, photographing four different species of bird - all within a couple of hours. Lapwings, red grouse, curlew - and my first ever Golden Plover (!) all came within yards of the car. A perfect morning of wildlife photogaphy.

This was my first photo shoot of the morning - a beautiful lapwing chick that ran around the grass, every now and then peeping out and posing beautifully for the camera.

Summer offers good opportunities for young birds, such as this grouse family that bumbled along the heather close to the roadside. I had about twenty minutes with these birds, watching the chicks clambering over the heather - overseen by the parents all the while. The lighting here was just fantastic: the sun was now stronger so I shot towards the light and used a diffused flash for fill-in. I'm a big fan of this kind of lighting - and it worked so well here.

Probably my favourite encounter was with this curlew - partly because a good image of this bird has eluded me until now. Usually curlews are flying away from the car: this one was running towards me..! I couldn't believe my luck when it stood on a mound and posed perfectly... pure magic! I had a number of chances as the birds did circuits around my car, running behind me then flying in front, scuttling around and calling constantly. The light was lovely too - soft backlighting which is fast becoming my favourite type of light for wildlife photography... it gives a wonderful quality that I think highlights the delicacy of so many birds and animals.

This day had to be one of the best wildlife photography sessions ever - I can't wait to return! Definitely worth the 4.00am start!! Evenings would be great here too I imagine, but nothing quite beats the stillness and serenity of early morning, punctuated by the evocative calls of the upland birds on this Yorkshire Dales moor.

As part of my wildlife photography workshop programme for next year, I'll certainly be including this location - and with further visits, I'll know the best spots too.