It would be easy to be put off by the idea of nature photography. What is it they say, ‘never work with animals and children’? No surprise then that it can be one of the toughest forms of photography for a variety of different reasons. One of the most common reasons that might put people off, can be a perceived lack of interesting animals to photograph close by. Nature photographers travel all around the world to get the perfect picture, and it can be quite the grind finding the perfect spot for the perfect photo. But we don’t have to travel too far to find a whole host of interesting wildlife and nature.
When you’re first getting started or if you have a lack of budget, there are plenty of places to photograph wonderful wildlife in the UK and some could be right on your doorstep. Below, we’ve made a list of some of the interesting animals to shoot, and where you can find them.
Image: Tom Mason
Foxes are very common, whether living rurally or in the suburbs. Mostly found at dawn or dusk, the fox can be a hard animal to find without planning ahead. They’re known to be cunning and sly, but they’re also very smart. A good way to track foxes is searching for droppings or tracks. In a city, you might find torn bin bags that foxes claw open to find food.
If you wait long enough and stay quiet, you might be lucky enough to see one of these beautiful creatures, and they make for a great photo.
Another common animal in the UK, rabbits can be found in a variety of places. From woodlands to road verges, rabbits are most likely found out and about early in the morning or at twilight rather than in daylight hours. It’s very unlikely to see a lone rabbit, which is why they’re brilliant creatures to shoot. November through to February is the best time to see a high amount of rabbits, however they’ll pop out of their rabbit holes all year round, making it an easy animal to photograph, if a little quick when seen!
Image: Derek Door
Not as common as other animals, the Puffin mostly resides in Scotland but can be found in a variety of different places around the UK coastline. These animals spend the winter at sea, so it’s best to try and find them in the spring/summer to get some fantastic shots. When they come in-land they mate and create a rookery for their offspring. In the summer, the parents fly out to sea to collect food for the newborns, which can make for some interesting shots. This rare and beautiful animal is a real treat to photograph, and though you might have to make a bit of a journey to get the shots, it will be a rewarding one.
Squirrels tend to be quid timid creatures but if you keep your distance, you might be able to get a good picture of them. Found all over the UK all year round in parks, forests and even gardens, squirrels are very common; but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. Squirrels move quite fast, jumping from branch to branch and running up and down trees, which can make for a great photo.
Due to an increase of grey squirrels, it’s harder to find native red squirrels today, with numbers decreasing year on year. This means that photographing a red squirrel is quite a rarity, and a fine photo to add to your collection.
Image: Matt Hardy
Believe it or not, the UK has six different breeds of deer in the wild, coming in different styles and sizes. There’s the Chinese Water Deer, the Fallow Deer, the Muntjac Deer, the Red Deer, the Roe Deer and the Sika Deer. These deer can be found all over the country in wooded areas, but your best chance to find one is visiting a national park.
You’ll have to be very cautious when shooting these majestic creatures as if you startle them, they’ll tend to run away. A good time to shoot deer is in October when the rutting season starts, though do use appropriate levels of caution and don’t get too close. The right lenses will help you get the perfect shot from a distance. You might even be lucky enough to find two stags fighting over a doe or find a stag herding up a group of doe.
Image: Daniel Hannabaus
Birds of Prey can make for an excellent photograph, especially if you’re lucky enough to find one on a hunt. The UK has 15 types of birds of prey, split up into three groups; Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons. The most common of these birds in the UK is the Buzzard, which can be found all over the country, soaring over wooded hillsides.
We’d strongly recommend spring for photographing these types of birds. That way, you’re more likely to have better weather, making for a clearer photo. This time of year is also when these stunning birds tend to hunt. You may have to wait a while and have eyes like a hawk (pardon the pun), but when you see this beautiful flying creature, you’ll realise it was worth the wait.
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