Image Backstories #5

A delve into James’ archive of images from his personal project: Richmond Park – The Characters and Charisma of a Royal Park 

In this series of backstories, James is going to explain just a little about how the images were created both technically and creatively.

#5 – Into The Shadows

Approximate settings – 1/1000s / f3.5 / ISO 400 / Lens 400mm

Why this image?

During the autumn, the park’s various copses of chestnut trees are the place to find the deer. They along with many bird species can be found foraging and feeding upon the carpet of fallen nuts, all in preparation for the winter ahead. Standing and looking into the trees, quietly observing, is a magical experience. The Jackdaws in this image are both feeding upon the chestnuts as well as the flies and ticks that surround this Fallow Buck. It was these shadowy goings on that I wanted to photograph.

Image thoughts:

The fact this image was taken on a telephoto lens means two principle things. Firstly it compacts all the elements within the image and it naturally creates a shallow depth of field. It also gives the image the slight feeling of voyeurism – a secret glimpse into the lives of the creatures.

Takeaway tip:

The challenge a scenario like this presents is one of exposure. For this image it’s all about exposing for the highlights. The sun was permanently out so the bright bits don’t change. I set the camera to manual mode, then forget all about exposure. It is the simplest method by far.

*All images in this series where taken whilst walking the dog and only ever carrying one lens at a time. Always simple.
( Canon 5 series bodies – Fixed lenses 400 / 85 / 35 / 14 mm lenses )