As a heavy showered moved across the sky and the sun re-emerged from the veil of rain, I worked quickly to take advantage of the infrequent situation where the sky is darker than the land. With the low sun bathing the land in a warm, rich tone, I tried to make as many images from various positions as possible.
Read more about my recent foray into the purple peak on the blog.
In high summer, the heather in the moorlands across the Peak District puts on a glorious display of colour. At Stanton Moor, I wanted to show off the colour with the ancient stone circle that is one of the main focal points of the area.
Compositionally, this turned out to be quite tricky with the best of the heather situated quite a way off, therefore, I tried to use the light of the setting sun as it struck the trees in the background to draw attention towards the back of the image.
The habitat where these hares live is both a blessing and curse in equal measures.
The undulating terrain, pock-marked with spoil heaps from old lead mines, means there is a lot of cover to conceal my approach. It also makes for a variety of images even though they are only a few metres apart.
However, on the flip-side, depending on where the hare is, it can mean an uncomfortable crawl trying to avoid thistles and cow pats to get into position.
On this occasion, I began on a slope above the hare. Shooting from an elevated position can have its merits but most of the time it produces a very unflattering perspective. So, my preferred view point was going to be at eye level.
Over about 30 minutes, I crawled (read slid, ungracefully) down the slope until I was near enough level with the hare. After successfully negotiating the first challenge, the next presented itself in the vegetation that obscured the hare's face.
After another 30 minutes of sporadic shooting and the odd glance at the back of the camera to see if I'd got a clean shot I was happy I had what I came for and so began the reverse crawl back the way I came.
The buzzards at the hide are now quite used the clicking of a camera's shutter so I decided to use a wide-angle lens to try and get some more intimate shots. After some initial confusion over the nearby clicking sound, the buzzard carried on eating quite happily!
I had introduced an old, decomposing log for the buzzards to perch on at the hide. From my viewpoint in the hide, I could see that the trees in the background arched over the perch and focussed attention towards the middle of the frame. Had the buzzard decided to perch halfway along the log, the image might have felt too balanced so I was happy that it chose the far end. Getting comfortable and relaxing by resting one of its feet, I was able to take my time and wait for the buzzard to look in the right direction before making the photograph.
You need a different mentality when shooting landscapes. In contrast to wildlife, you can be pretty certain your subject will be in the same place you left it last time. Handy, but it means it's also there for the world to photograph so you've got to have something in your image to set it apart from the others and when it comes to landscape photography, the weather and the light are key ingredients.
I was treated to a short window of good (but not quite perfect) light on Curbar Edge. A few days before, the same scene was dominated by mist (not the good kind) and flat light with the sun being completely blocked by cloud as it set. Persistence pays off and you will always be rewarded by visiting locations again and again.
For a buzzard, a whole pheasant is quite a meal. Raptors are no different from most birds in that they will eat as much as possible while the going is good because there is no guarantee where the next meal is coming from.
It can take about 2 hours for them to devour the best bits of a pheasant so it's not unusual to have competition from other buzzards during that time.
It's that time again! Brown hares will soon be engaged in one if the busiest months of their year as they sort out mating rights through their infamous 'boxing' antics.
A nearby farms offer good views of these enigmatic creatures but I've yet to dedicate any time to the mad March behaviour. I hoping to sort that out over the next few weeks.
Here in Derbyshire, the coldest and most 'wintery' months are generally January and February. At the buzzard hide, things often get heated as the cold weather makes finding enough food to survive the priority before the breeding season begins.
Brawls like this are usually over within a matter or seconds with neither bird suffering any serious injuries but importantly, the winner gets a meal, and that can be worth a huge amount at this time of the year.