Thursday, March 06, 2014

O'er t'Moors

I am not sure if it a reflection of my advancing age, but I find myself increasingly drawn to remote places. I love the solitude of just being out alone with the wildlife. If you were to ask me what would be my worst photographic nightmare then it would be being forced to attend a  site where a very rare bird has appeared and large crowds of often bickering photographers and bird watchers have descended. This is why I rarely go to photograph rare bird species unless it has been resident a long time and the interest has really died down.
Looking for solitude increasingly finds me heading to upland areas where escape can be sought from the 'maddening crowds'. I particularly enjoy driving around moorland roads looking to see what  birds can be found to photograph. IT is always a pleasure as you never know what may be waiting around the corner. Sometimes the photographs are taken from the car, using it as a mobile hide (blind for any readers from the USA), and on other occasions I will park the car and head out across the moorland on foot. A personal favourite species for this type of photography, at certain times of year, is the Red Grouse.
I will often take a detoured route home, if I am in the right part of the country, to try and take in a bit of moorland road. It is a very good way to break up a long drive and recharge the batteries for the remainder of the journey.  Such was the case recently as I found myself coming through Yorkshire, and instead of speeding down trunk roads and motorways to get home as quickly as possible, I took a gently arcing extended route to take in some upland moors. A much more relaxing drive which gives much better views than that of rapidly passing motorway embankments and the constant flashing of red brake-lights.

My only recommendation for when photographing on these uplands roads is to just be careful. Traffic will usually be light but you don't want to stop the car where it will obstruct other vehicles. Often the roads are narrow and you also need to take care with pulling on to verges as they may be softer than you think and getting stuck on a remote upland road is not likely to be much fun.

A male bird standing sentry over its territory.
Photographing the birds from the car is relatively straight forward and they main consideration is about positioning of you car to get the best angle and corresponding setting and background. To pursue the birds on foot takes quite a stealthy approach as generally when grouse see people they are pointing guns at them. However, being on foot allows much more variety in angles and some soft blurred vegetation can be created around the birds.

Up very close to a bird feeding on the heather shoots

The quantity of light on my journey through Yorkshire was not great with dull overcast skies above with only  occasion shafts of sunlight illuminating opposite hillsides or distant valleys However, the Red Grouse in the spring are magnificent looking birds in top condition with the male birds sporting very prominent red eye combs. This particular bird was beautifully patterned in the subtle arrangement of rust, black and white.
As I was coming down off the moor, I came across one bird standing on a dry stone wall, gently calling. A memorable scene from another productive and happy detour o'er t'moors (as they say in Yorkshire)

5 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

Great shots of a bird I remember so well from a visit to the Derbyshire Dales.

The happy wanderer. said...

I don't know if it's just age or if the world is just becoming more crowded but solitude, especially when you can see the birds (animals) and achieve these sort of results make sense to many of us.

Jonny Langmyren said...

A really nice series of good shots.

Jonny Langmyren said...

A really nice series of good shots.

RH said...

Really nice series of images. I particularly like the soft color scheme.

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