Wednesday May 8th – Friday 10th 2013
Group size: 6
Those of you that are on my mailing list will, already, know of this workshop. I decided not to waste any time in preparing it for the website as I had interested parties priorr to me making it official. Well, I have just 1 place remaining! So, if you are interested in joining me on this short break to The Golden City then contact me on 07939 117570 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full details can be found here at Prague Photo Break
An extract from the itinerary.
I would hazard a guess that there are few photographers, residing in the UK, more acquainted with Prague and Czech traditions than myself. Over a period of 5 years, I visited Prague on no fewer than 50 occasions photographing for my agents and my own library, as well as providing articles for magazines, one of which was featured in Outdoor Photography. Oh yes, and visiting my girlfriend, Martina, of 8 years who now lives here!
Although Prague is not a big city, it is incredibly easy to get lost due to the myriad of cobbled, medieval lanes and alleyways. Why struggle to get your bearings and seek out that perfect vantage point at sunset when you can have someone take you straight there!
To have any picture published is a great honour for any photographer, particularly these days when there are so many wonderful images available. So, you can imaging how happy I was to see this image of a buck fallow deer greeting a doe appear as a half-page in this month’s BBC Wildlife magazine illustrating the fallow deer rut.
It was taken some years ago, on film, using a Nikon F5 and 500mm f4P Nikkor lens. I remember the situation well and proves a fundamental point about wildlife photography that knowing the habits of your subject is equally, if not more important, that knowing your equipment.
Occasionally, during the rut, doe harems fracture and the odd once goes astray. I noticed this lone doe on the horizon against a sunset sky and knowing (hoping!) that the buck would gently “round her up” with a touching-of-noses greeting, I focused on her, exposed for a silhouette and left sufficient room to allow the buck to enter the frame which, thank goodness, he did!
It has been an incredibly busy last few weeks. I feel as though my feet have hardly touched the ground! This has been down to me doing a number of workshops (group and one-to-one), finalising the exhibition (which is now on view) and preparing for 4 days camping in the Brecon Beacons, one day of which will be spent holding a workshop. Today was the opening day of the exhibition and with that led 3 2 hour photography walks. The weather kept at bay for the first 2 but sadly on the 3rd we had to conclude for the last 30 minutes in the centre. It was a very nice indeed. I met some old friends and some very enthusiastic and fun photographers.
In between doing all this I did manage to get to a local deer park to shoot the fallow deer rut. On both days the weather was very inclement but as can be the case, these marginal conditions often provide the most dramatic imagery.
The forecast for the region was for a clear morning and the good old British forecast didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t! Blanket cloud and mist hung low but I gathered my gear and set off anyhow. You just never know. In these conditions I look for silhouettes so headed to the lower parts of the park. 3 does appeared on the horizon just as the sun began to burn through the mist.
This individual was scraping the ground, presumably to move the sweet chestnut so as to get a more comfortable bed.
At sunset, as the temperature began to drop, the bucks became more active and awoke from their slumber (they conserve as much energy as they can at this time) and began chasing the does and making their presence known by grunting and bellowing. No fights took place but a really moody sky presented itself.
Yesterday evening was my first attempt at photographing rabbits in silhouette. I was quite happy with my images from past sessions where they were lit from the front but this time I wanted to try something a little different.
The trickiest part is finding a location where the rabbits are likely to come out of their burrows and feed on a rise against the setting sun. Fortunately, this particular location, on the marshes, has a very high rabbit population with a number of holes in such a position. But, you can never be certain where they, like any other animal, will turn up and pose in just the right position. It was very much a trial run then as I lay flat on the ground, once again donned head to toe in camo with the camera on a bean-bag.
I could see movement all around and as luck would have it, several did appear in almost the right position. I would have liked more colour in the sky and this is certainly a project I’ll be returning to over the coming weeks and months. As the evening drew on, the mosquitoes became more active and attempted to search for any uncovered skin, which was just my eyelids. Funny, how you find yourself blinking like crazy trying to get them off not daring to swish them away!
I went back to a favourite spot of mine on the marshes to photograph rabbits. It was a beautiful evening, the wind was blowing in my favour and so, adorned in head to toe camo, around an hour and a half before sunset, I laid down adjacent to some nettles and waited. Within 20 minutes, a rabbit appeared 2m or so away, completely oblivious of my presence, or so I thought. Within seconds, I could feel, through the ground, the thump of it’s hind feet alerting others that ‘something’ was up. It obviously couldn’t be 100% sure that I was human, given that other than my eyes, nothing pale was showing. So, it ambled on and nibbled some grass a little way behind me.
Eventually, the whole clan came out of their burrows and bounded onto the grass infront of me. I resisted taking pictures for the first 5 minutes, allowing them to become accustomed to my presence. I started taking pictures and then, from the corner of my right eye, there was a hare! It had snuck up beside me and was now less than a metre away! I have watched and photographed hares more times than I can remember but never appreciated just how big they are. It too, took no notice of me and moved beyond me.
The next hour or so was spent shooting various images and was jolly fortunate that more often than not, they would pick the area bathed in sunlight, or maybe they just enjoyed the warmth of the setting sun.
About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
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