Dawn light can be incredibly, bathing a whole area in a golden colour, transforming an image while adding a beautiful atmosphere with lots of impact. The direction of light will dramatically affect the way shadows fall in a scene within nature or on a subject. Remembering these simple points, then twin them up with a bit of luck in one of your favorites places in the UK, add a relaxed, beautiful subject and the results can be magical.
The image above is a personal favorite from my time in the Peak District National Park After a very early start and a thirty minute walk up to the upper moors I was in place just before first light. I heard a call of a Golden Plover in the distance and closed into where it was coming from. Once we got nearer I could see the female and she was calling.
I then advanced forward towards the sunrise, keeping low, moving slowly and using natural cover. I positioned myself facing the light with the Golden Plover to my front, this image above was the result of that thinking and work.
I then visted another part of the Peak District National Park visiting one of my favourite Dipper sites. River levels are very low at the moment due to little of no rainfall but I managed to find them. I came across fledged young from this year with their trademark bid just starting to show and also we saw the adult birds.
I know well throughout the Peak District, and over those days I had amazing light once more and there were lots of subjects around throughout both days. From a bird called the Twite , seen below to Red Deer with young, Mountain Hares in summer coats, Red grouse, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel and many more.
The time I spent with the female Golden Plover at first light though was very special as the sun came up in front of me, warming your face as this gorgeous moorland bird just fed and moved around not far from where we were laying flat with the ground. A stunning bird with incredible feather markings, it was just magical. The following images from that morning I hope show you why.
Fieldcraft and respect have to be the first priories of any photographer when taking images of wildlife because if the subject has to move to avoid you and this carries on there’s no telling the animal will be able to recoup those spent calories and energy avoiding you. Which in turn means your actions may result in the premature death of your subject should it struggle to find enough food.
During that time in the Peak District I came across the head gamekeeper of the Moscar Estate, Stephen Lloyd out on his rounds at dawn. Emptying traps and all sorts as I took this image. I support a vast movement of people trying to expose cruelty in our countryside.We all should stand together to rid our communities of such cowards as cruelty underpins so much that is wrong in our society today. I love nature and we should all do more to help it I feel.