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Fox In Rainfall

My Local Wildlife

by Kevin Pigney ARPS DPAGB ASINWP

 

I have been interested in photography for around four and a half years now and, although I have recently ventured into other genres, my main focus has been on photographing UK wildlife.

 

1 Seal Pup
Kingfisher

I live on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border and here I have put together a collection of local nature images I have taken throughout East Anglia.

Fortunately, I have permission from a number of local landowners to use my camera on their properties and there are also a number of managed nature reserves within easy reach.

 

 

Little Owl
Barn Owl

Working locally has the huge advantage in that it allows me to make many return visits to a location, thus enabling me to learn my subjects’ habits and behaviour patterns.

It also allows me to work out the best time of day in relation to direction of light and best positioning to facilitate a nice clear, uncluttered background.

 

 

Short Eared Owl Eye Contact
Dartford Warbler

For me, the key to getting good quality images is good fieldcraft and a lot of patience.

In my experience the biggest mistake I see people make is simply firing off their shutter when the subject is just too far away.

This often necessitates a large crop, which degrades the image quality so much.

 

I think it is fair to say my photography has developed organically giving me a style of image which I love.

Where possible I like to have good eye contact with my subject.  I think the eyes bare the very soul of the creatures I photograph.

I like to achieve clean, out of focus backgrounds which show an essence of the environment without distracting from my subject.

 

Brown Hare With Wils Flowers
Young Brown Hare

 

I often like to make use of negative space, leaving space for the subject to run or fly into. Often the rule of thirds works well.

Finally, I find an image more pleasing when it has a fairly limited colour palette.

I am by no means suggesting this is the correct, or only way, but it works for me and produces images I find very pleasing to the eye.

 

Young Roe Deer
Brown Hare Head On

 

Subject-wise my first love in nature are without doubt brown hares and I have spent countless hours in the company of these magical creatures.

I find the most effective technique is to lay in wait as trying to stalk them, in my experience, is rarely productive.

The advantage of laying down is two-fold, firstly by keeping perfectly still and quiet they will often run to within a few feet and, secondly, being on their eye level produces a more effective, intimate image.

Local reserves can be a great source and have provided me with countless opportunities to observe and photograph both resident and visiting wildlife.

 

Leveret
Fox

 

 

 

Equipment-wise, I shoot with Canon 1dx mkII bodies and a Canon 500mm f4 mkII prime lens, often with the addition of an X1.4 extender.

I almost always use a tripod with a Gimbal head, although occasionally I support my lens using a bean bag.

 

 

Grass Snake Drinking
Great Crested Grebe With Fish

 

People have often said to me, “you are lucky” to get these photographs, which of course I am.  But I do find the more time I spend out in the field, the “luckier” I get!

Little Owl Copy

 

 

 

 

Image Titles

Main image: Fox in Rainfall

Left from top: Seal Pup, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl Eye Contact, Brown Hare with Wild Flowers, Young Roe Deer, Leveret, Grass Snake Drinking

Right from top: Kingfisher, Barn Owl, Dartford Warbler, Young Brown Hare, Brown Hare Head-on, Fox, Great Crested Grebe with Fish, Little Owl