Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Day of two Halves

For anyone who’s ever tried photographing Roe Deer they will know it can be difficult, not only because they are usually shy and nervous, but because they spend most of the daylight hours in the woods, cloaked by trees, underbrush and other vegetation.  As if the poor light giving slow exposures wasn’t bad enough then, when you do see and train your lens on them there’s a branch or a tree in the way of a decent shot.  Sometimes this can add to the atmosphere of the image but usually it will just ruin it.

Today was a good example.  I arrived quite early – around 7.00 am – and almost immediately spotted a single female Roe moving away whilst feeding.  I positioned myself and trained my lens at a relatively empty spot in which I thought she would walk into.  This time it worked.  Once she was in the right spot, I fired a shutter to get her attention and stop, then took two more shots whilst she viewed me with curiosity.  She slowly moved on and I wasn’t able to get another clear shot.


My next opportunity had the deer in a clearing but only one shot was any good, with the others either blurred or had the head obscured by out of focus branches.

The differences between the image right and the one below is just a bit of good luck.  On the right hand picture the deer is lifting its head higher as it’s more alert but has the head behind an out of focus branch.  I couldn’t move to a better location without being spotted.  In another photograph she is feeding at the bottom of the tree but the head is again covered by a blurred branch.

I later waited in another location for this and another deer it was with at another clear spot I hoped they would cross but with no luck.


I came across a further four deer sightings, each time obscured by the woods and each time a pointed my lens at an opening I hoped they would cross they would change direction.  The three images below are of one of these deer  who, had they moved a few metres closer my way, I would have got a good clear shot, as it turned out, the third one is the best I managed from the sequence.


TBP_0615Finally, just as I thought that was probably it for the day, I came across a single female Roe, slowly feeding and moving my way.  I draped over a camouflaged netting I use to hide my shape and once again waited until it hopefully walked into the open spot I had hoped for.  I was much closer than any of the previous occasions so was reluctant to make any noise.

When she stopped at the base of this tree she kept her head down whilst feeding and new she would soon move on out of the clearing, so took the gamble of shooting of a single frame (left) to get her to lift her head, which she did (below). After this, it was a case of waiting as she stared at what seemed an age, in my direction before eventually getting back to feeding and then moving on. 

Whenever I photograph wild animals, especially deer, I like to leave them in the same way I found them – relaxed and going about their routine.


By midday it was getting reasonably warm, which means much of the wildlife is taking it easy.  Out on the nearby lake was little activity apart from a few pruning and feeding Coots, the diet which included some insects which strayed too close.  It would have been great if I had managed to get shot of the Coots with its mouth open but had my camera set to a low sequence of 5 frames per second and so missed it.


Out in the middle of the lake I noticed some splashing and through my lens could see that a Cormorant had caught what looked like a Perch and was struggling to devour  it.  The shots were taken with a 500mm lens plus converter but even so it was still some way off and I’ve only included some of the frames, but they give an idea of the on-going struggle.  No prizes for guessing who won!

TBP_0685 TBP_0702 TBP_0703
TBP_0704 TBP_0705 TBP_0706
TBP_0711 TBP_0715 TBP_0717
TBP_0718 TBP_0720 TBP_0723

Pick of the bunch


My last image was an attempt at macro photography.  Something I’ve never really tried but want too, through it’s a whole new way of thinking and learning.  Maybe as it gets warmer and there are some more insects about, I might give it a more serious go.



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