Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Deer day…

As you’ll know the last few weeks have been a wee bit frustrating photographically as there has been so much office work to do.  Things are about to turn full circle now with lots of projects, workshops and trips over the coming weeks and I allowed myself a day joining my Natures Images colleague danny Green as he ran one of his many workshops in Bradgate Park earlier this week to photograph the deer.

Now Danny spends most of October there and has done for many years now and these images are just the output of one day that was at best so so in terms of light and conditions generally but they do just go to prove that if you don’t get out you won’t get any images and if you do well there’s always something to come back with.

Bradgate houses a reasonable number of Fallow Deer and like many park deer they are reasonably tame as you can see.

At this time of the year the Bucks are spending much of their time looking after their females and constantly assessing when they are coming into season.

 

As impressive as his antlers are though when compared with the main deer species that people come here to photograph the Red Deer he really is somewhat dwarfed.

 

He too was spending his time rounding up his females and generally chasing off any other stags that came within about 400m radius of his harem.

 

 

 

Between bellows (and while the hinds were resting to digest their food) he too would take a break and gave us the chance to really appreciate his impressive, and very dark, pair of antlers.

 

My abiding memories of him though will be his almost constant bellowings which a couple of local teenagers walking in the park who came to ask me what was going on, described as sounding like “someone giving a painful birth”!  Not quite what he had in mind as a warning call I suspect.

 

 

No prize winning images here I’m sure but a thoroughly enjoyable day nonetheless, good to catch up with and meet Jason, Sarah, Jill and Andrew who were with Danny for the day (along with Ed, Rene and Peter finishing off their Dutch excursions) and a reminder (if ever I needed it) that the saying on my office wall is oh so true – You Can’t Take Any Pictures If You’re Sat Here!  Bring on the coming weeks.

Indoor Delights

I think I can see the light at  the end of the tunnel of office based work that seems to have dominated the last few weeks. The sights, sounds and colours of autumn are shortly going to get me outdoors on a more regular basis again, but among the recent indoor activities was a day running another Studio Macro Workshop for Natures Images at the studios of The Flash Centre in Birmingham.

I have run 2 or 3 of these days every year for the last 4 or 5 years now and thanks to Stuart and his ever growing and changing menagerie we are getting more and more colourful and dramatic subjects to work with every time it seems: this Northern Spotted Grasshopper (a resident of Thailand) is a typical example.

One of the aspects of working in the studio environment is the opportunity to really consider the different elements that go into making an image work – changing the setting and changing the background are fully under your control and being able to see the subtle and at times quite dramatic impact this can have on the final image is a great reminder as to how important these elements are wherever you are photographing.  This high-key Fire-Bellied Toad, the head-on White’s Tree Frog and appropriately placed Gray’s Tree Frog show their subjects off in completely different ways.

The next consideration is how to use the lighting options we have at our disposal to add another element, and this pair of images of an Amazon Milk Frog are a perfect example of the opportunity to think creatively and use the lighting to your advantage – low and side-lit on a dark-ish background to best represent the rainforest or backlit through a leaf for something completely different.

The same applies to this pair of images of a Giant Asian Mantis – one in a classic studio setting and on exactly the same branch using coloured backlighting for a dramatic and impactful silhouette – it was good to see Neil Parker’s image taken on this workshop being used as a double-paged spread in Digital Camera Magazine last month too.

We’ve even created an area allowing us to work with water in the studio too now with eye-level images of Frogs in the weed an enjoyable highlight!

All in all it’s a great learning environment as as you can hopefully see a chance to really get in touch with the creative side of your photography which can only help when back in the great outdoors and working with nature’s changeable lighting, backgrounds and subjects too.