With the launch date of the new website been and gone, I was really pleased with the feedback given regarding the updated look and latest images in the galleries. Having such positive support is very motivating to keep producing new images. Whilst the Tom Way Photography website was under construction during May and June, I was extremely busy producing new images and exhibiting at shows around the UK. It is only in the past couple of weeks that I have taken the chance to have a breather and put together a blog showing the latest work.
For a few days in June I visited Simon Litten in Norfolk to photograph Brown Hare. Since I first started photography I have tried to photograph hares with little success. Not only are they one of the fastest mammals on the planet they can be very nervous too. Simon’s knowledge of the animal and field craft skills enabled me to get into the right places to give me the best chance of taking some frame filling images.
After waiting many hours in the field the thrill when one of the hares bounds your way is great. If no movement is made at all, it is surprising how close the hares come…sometimes a little too close!
After taking a few portraits it was a lovely moment when this particular Hare stood up in a small patch of mustard in front of me. In the warm morning light the Hare showed something of its inquisitive character. I will hopefully be heading back to the same site with Simon Litten next year. If anyone did want to take their own photos of Hare he is certainly the man to speak to about booking a Hare photography workshop!
Having been fortunate enough to spend the first part of the year out of the country with target species being either Golden Eagle, King Penguins or Leopards. It has been rewarding for these last two months to spend time around the UK and focus on some iconic British species. Straight after my time with the Hares I travelled to the other side of the country to an island that I have visited a few times before; Skomer off the coast of Wales. I was looking forward to improving on my images from 2 years ago as I have upgraded my camera equipment since then. Most of the photography that I undertake I normally travel on my own, but on this trip it was great to be part of a group all staying on the island. The weather was very kind one evening producing some fantastic light to work in which is almost impossible to achieve on day trips.
Being at home in the Summer gives me a chance to also photograph my favourite British mammal; the Red Fox, from the Tom Way Photography Fox Hide. The cubs are really active at the moment and towards the end of September I will put together a full blog report on my summers work on foxes. Other smaller trips have found me photographing Little Owls at Neil Neville’s Nature Photography Hides site and also Harvest Mice with Bob Brind-Surch.
At the end of June I then travelled to Finland to spend four nights photographing Brown Bears. This trip has actually been over a year in waiting as I had originally planned to go in the summer of 2013, but with the loss of my equipment I had no option but to reschedule for 2014. I had never seen a bear in the wild before, so when the first bear appeared out of the woods and onto the swampy area it was a fantastic sight.
With it being light for 24hours a day in the summer months, on a bright cloudless evening the sun is still streaming through the trees at 10pm at night. I was not blessed with stunning light on this trip, but the image below was my favourite from the trip as this large bear stepped into the shaft of light.
In a similar way to the Hares, I was aiming to capture something in the four evenings that resembled some behaviour aswell as aesthetic portraits. On my second night the younger males began to play fight on and off for most of the evening in the cotton grass.
Given enough time with wildlife photography you can portray the same animal in a variety of ways. With the Brown Bears if you catch them in the right stance and look, even the big menacing looking bears can look quite cute and cuddly. I did want to try, however, to show the more powerful side to these large predators, and to have a large bear walking straight towards me, filling the frame with one enormous paw just off the floor was almost the image I had in mind!
On overcast evenings when the light dipped for a couple of hours it gave me the chance to experiment. Previously I had never tried any panning shots, I have always been aiming for the subject to be as sharp in the frame as possible, but with the strong colours in the woodland and the reflection off the lake, it was too good of an opportunity not to try something new and very arty!
Finland is a very well trodden route for photographing Brown Bears, but it was still great to finally go and enjoying seeing them for myself. It is a location I can see myself visiting many times over the years and always coming away with different images capturing the Bears in different ways. Although there were plenty of cubs around this year I did not take that one stunning image that I was looking for, but that will be something to work on for next year. I am now looking forward to heading back out to Kenya in August to hopefully witness one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles-the migration.