The Forest of Dean

The Forest

The forest of Dean has some beautiful secluded spots where you can disconnect and really enjoy nature.

The sounds of birds singing completed the scene.

The sounds of birds singing completed the scene.

There are several lakes, streams and the terrain can be quite hilly, but the forest in the early hours is stunning and peaceful.

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Patiently waiting in a likely spot.

Patiently waiting in a likely spot.

Some beautiful and shy doe before the sun rose.

Some beautiful and shy doe before the sun rose.

Wild Boar

It is one of the few places in the UK where one can view wild boar in their natural habitat. After they were hunted to extinction hundreds of years ago, a new population has emerged in recent years after individuals were reintroduced either by design or by accident. Now there is now a large population of nearly 1.5k in the area. Some individuals in the area are far from shy and approach dog walkers, and raid bins in local villages!

The pro’s and cons of their reintroduction, detailed biology and and behaviour can be read about here.

Tracking

Tracking the boar can be done by looking for any soft ground and spotting foot prints, and listening for their distinct grunts.

Day old prints, but I knew I was in the right area.

Day old prints, but I knew I was in the right area.

Its also worth looking out for ground that has been freshly dug up by their foraging behaviours.

Its also worth looking out for ground that has been freshly dug up by their foraging behaviours.

With patience, and a little luck you may be rewarded with a sighting.

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Some typical foraging behaviour.

Some typical foraging behaviour.

Coarse fur of a young female.

Coarse fur of a young female.

The snouts seem soft, but they can move a lot of earth with ease using them.

The snouts seem soft, but they can move a lot of earth with ease using them.

Wild boar have much stringer senses than us.

Wild boar have much stringer senses than us.

My favourite type of portrait, simple.

My favourite type of portrait, simple.

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The little light that broke through the canopy allowed me to capture this portrait,

The little light that broke through the canopy allowed me to capture this portrait,

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A tiring day, but worth the effort.

A royal bath

A beautiful, bright eyed male tiger rests during a warm evening at Tadoba tiger reserve, India. Tigers love water unlike most cats. and can often be found resting in small lakes and waterholes, especially April onwards. The temperature during this time can reach 45 degrees Celsius and is very challenging to shoot in, so its vital we have enough fluid and protect our skin.

I am always looking for the perfect reflection, so when the water is moving, sometimes it is best to take a burst of images in order to have the key elements in the reflection as clear and as distortion free as possible. Also, when the subject is stationary, I try to extract as much detail from the scene by shooting at the lowest iso, exposing to the right and keeping the camera and lens as stable as possible. This gives me a great foundation for processing and scope to enlarge images for prints and exhibitions.

77d, 800mm f8, 1/125th sec, iso 100.

77d, 800mm f8, 1/125th sec, iso 100.

People often ask me why I don’t sometimes include the tigers ears. The reasons are simple, it is an artistic choice as I am drawn to the beauty of markings, and the eyes of the species. I hope you are too…

Toned processing

I am really getting a feel for toned and fine art style processing on my images. The approach mostly seems to work when the image is relatively simple with few elements, and the subject is distinct. I’ve used a variety of methods to get the look am after utilising both lightroom, and especially photoshop to get the tonality I think suits the image. Here are some cheetah from yesterday, taken with the usual canon 400mm f2.8 and 1DX setup at a local wildlife park.

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Rules

I dislike rules in art, one such ‘rule’ is that the subject must be looking into the frame. Perhaps we risk creating formulaic compositions with such mindsets and philosophies…

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Canon 1DX, 400mm f2.8, iso 100, 1/350th sec.