I am very pleased that my image of a bluebell wood at sunrise was chosen for the current issue of Nikon’s N-Photo magazine. As well as this, it is also displayed (almost) double page in the same issue as well as featuring in Country Living and Wild Britain.
And, as Nikon N-Photo’s cover photo on their Facebook page.
Just thought I’d post a few images taken only 2 1/2 weeks ago, though for anyone who has, over the last few days, stepped into a woodland, you’d think they were done a month ago! It doesn’t feel like spring anymore. I just spent the afternoon in an almost impenetrable woodland where, 3 weeks ago, bluebells flourished and now, wild grasses a foot or more high are rapidly taking over. Puddles are still evident in the shaded parts after the rainfall 3 days ago and the wonderful lime-green vibrancy of a woodland in April and May is turning a deep, depressing green. The claustrophobia of a broadleaved woodland in summer is nearly here. It’ll be the marshes for me over the next few months!
There has been a lot of talk over the last few months regarding the use of remote cameras when photographing wildlife but there are times when it quite simply is the only way, especially if your intention is to create a very different perspective on a much photographed mammal. I was at least present when the image was taken, indeed, I did take it. There were no beams or pressure pads, just me, sitting 20m away in a tree hide firing the camera by radio remote.
It’s an image I have had in my mind’s eye for number of years but for one reason or another was unable to achieve it. Having secured a number of close-ups the previous few weeks, I waited till the bluebells were in bloom then over several nights, would arrive at the scene around 6.30pm (1 1/2 hrs before they usually emerge), climb an old hornbeam, clamp the camera and receiver to a branch, cover them in plastic bags, then retreat to my platform. Once a badger emerged, which it did at 8pm, it was simply a case of waiting until it was in the desired position and hoping above all else, that it would remain still long enough so as not to be just a blur. I set the D300 to iso 1600, aperture priority f4.9 with the resulting shutter speed being 3 seconds. Lens used was 12-24mm. So as to keep any disturbance to a minimum, I waited till it was completely dark, content the badgers had wandered off to forage, climbed down from my platform then went home, returning early the next morning to collect the camera. It was carried out in private woodland and with the camera being a good 15 feet up a tree, I was fairly confident it would still be there when I returned!
I headed out yesterday, pre dawn, to a favourite bluebell wood about 30 mins from where I live, in the hope of getting some panoramic images with the morning sunlight filtering through the trees. But, the weather forecast wasn’t quite as accurate as I had hoped and instead of clear(ish) skies, it was cloudy and rain threatened.
As I entered the Forestry Commission car park, I was greeted by the sight of a rather large herd of fallow deer, that are wild here and totally unlike the park deer of nearby Knole. I hoisted the pack on my pack and headed to the spot where I hoped to get the pictures. But, as you can see from the results, although it brightened a little, it remained heavily overcast turning to heavy rain. Thank goodness I brought my umbrella! In the first image it was so dark, I needed to use the AF on the 28-105 to focus!
Both images were taken in portrait mode, the first requiring 7 images and the second, 5 and were then stitched using PtGui.
Although I didn’t get the pictures I wanted, it is always good to be out early, especially at this time of the year. Seeing the deer in the woodland and listening to the dawn chorus made me forget, albeit only for a short while, just how wet I was!
About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
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