29 April 2011

How to Photograph Roe Deer

Although I've entitled this blog "how to photograph Roe Deer" I'm not sure I still really have the answer to that. Having said that, after many hours of watching these incredible animals and trying my hardest to get close to them, I've finally managed some close up shots of the deer in their natural habitat on the farm.

It's funny how some days, everythings seems to happen at once. This was the case on the morning I took these images. Hidden behind a straw bale, with my camouflage, I was treated to a beautiful buck wandering into the field at close range. the sun was just beginning to break as I watched him sniffing and snorting. I had to make a few clicking noises to get him to look up: he eventually decided not to trust the strange 'clicking' straw bale and slowly stepped through the hedgerow into the next field. About an hour later I spotted a female grazing at the edge of the field and was able to use one of the bales to quickly move about 50 yards or so to get withing shooting distance. I hit the ground with camera on beanbag and waited for her to step out. I didn't have to wait long before she was in full view, allowing for some lovely portraits..

I've learnt a lot about the deer - particularly in the last couple of months. Above all it's important to keep your head camouflaged, and I've found that with no movement they will largely ignore you - even at relatively close range (provided they don't catch your scent). But perhaps the biggest lesson has been in realising just how easily they move around the farm without being seen. I totally underestimated this - and now I know to keep a constant check with binoculars when approaching their feeding grounds. Many a time they stick to the hedgerows and are surprisingly well camouflaged. This probably explains how I have suddenly come upon a deer when turning a corner on so many occassions!

With the grass now getting longer I will go for pure hand-held stalking, using the long grasses as concealment. Watch this space as hopefully there will be more roe deer images to post.!

16 April 2011

Bird of Prey Photography Workshop - Farm buildings and barns

I still have places remaining on the 14th May Birds of Prey Photography Course. The workshop takes place on a rural Yorkshire farm; we will be using the buildings, barns and variety of farm machinery, along with other natural perches to photograph barn owl, little owl and kestrel. We will also be shooting a stunning male goshawk in the surrounding countryside. Click here to see previous images from these birds of prey workshops in north Yorkshire. These days are ideal for anyone with an interest in wildlife photography who wants to practice and develop their skills.

12 April 2011

Wildlife Photography on the Farm

Farmland wildlife is an ongoing passion of mine and I have spent many hours over the years learning about the habits of the animals that live on a local farm - in particular brown hare and roe deer. Taken this morning, these pictures show that I am finally getting close to capturing some intimate images:
A roe buck wanders past one of the straw bales - pefectly relaxed.

Hares have always been a real favourite of mine which made today's encounter even more special. Lying on the ground in camouflage I was suddenly joined by up to 6 hares as they chased each other in circles; running, jumping - and momentarily stopping, allowing me to get some low level portraits.

I think I may have actually cracked it! I know what works, so it's a case of trying it again and being ready. Let's just hope the hares are still bounding with energy..!

Yorkshire Red Grouse Photography

I recently spent an enjoyable day with a client on one of my Yorkshire Dales Birds Photography Courses As usual there was plenty around, with lapwing, curlew and oystercatcher shouting across the moors. The curlews are particularly difficult to photograph, and although we saw plenty - they were mostly in flight as they passed over the car.. As often is the case, the red grouse were out in force - mostly males who posed obligingly by the roadside for minutes at a time as we endulged in some perfect wildlife photography (congratulations Craig on your first grouse photo!) We were even treated to some classic calling, and a bit of interaction with the odd female. At the end of the day I was lucky enough to capture some cracking images - some of my best to date of red grouse. The low evening light created beautiful backlighting of the birds and the surrounding heather. I varied the shots: some with fill-flash and some without and managed to record some interesting poses.

I am planning more of theses nature photography workshops later this summer to capture the grouse when the heather is in bloom, along with other potential subjects and locations.

Landscape Photography in Malhamdale & Swaledale

I still have places on the Malham photography workshop and Swaledale meadows photography course. The Malham day is in just a few weeks, on Sunday 8th May. We will be photographing the dramatic scenes at Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, along with the tranquil spring woodland and waterfall at Janets Foss. These courses will start later in the day to maximise the light, with the opportunity of staying for sunset. All workshops include lunch and refreshments. Bookings can be made via email or phone, and payment via paypal. Mob: 07759 485791 Email: paul.miguel@ntlworld.com View all landscape photography courses in the Yorkshire Dales

Photography Contract with FLPA Picture Library

I have just finished getting together my first photography submission for FLPA which offered me a contract just a couple of weeks ago. FLPA are one of the top natural history picture libraries in the UK, reaching a wide range of clients in the editorial, commercial and advertising world. I am delighted to be one their nature photographers and will be submitting new material on an ongoing basis. It's been a long time since my last blog post, so new wildlife/landscape photography posts to follow very soon... I promise..!