Roe deer photography workshop – Updated now SOLD OUT

 

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I am very pleased to announce I am running a series of Roe deer photography workshops in the late Spring and Summer this year.

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Roe are perhaps our prettiest species of native deer; as beautiful as they are beguiling. I have been photographing Roe deer in and around the southern counties of England for several years now and am very experienced in understanding and interpreting their behaviour  and the best places where to find them.

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Roe deer are notoriously hard to get close to (hence why there are so few decent images of them around) and so this represents an unprecedented opportunity to add Roe deer to your photographic portfolio.

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You will spend time in the field with myself, alongside one of the UK’s most renowned deer stalkers.  This gives us access to the best ground for stalking Roe deer in their traditional stronghold of Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset. All the ground is privately owned so the workshop is the only way of getting access to this prized ground which my deer stalker manages and where some of my images are taken.

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You will have a chance to capture a range of images of these charismatic animals. On a typical day you can expect close-up views of Roe Bucks, does and even their  fawns if you are lucky too.

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Late Spring/ Summer Winter is the best time of year to photograph Roe dee as  they are easier to get close to, particularly as the rut approaches. There is also the bonus that they look at their best at this time of year in their deep ruset summer coats.

Roe are perhaps our prettiest species of native deer; as beautiful as they are beguiling. I have been photographing Roe deer in and around the southern counties of England for several years now and am very experienced in understanding and interpreting my behaviour  and where to find them. Roe_7Dawn and dusk are the best time of day to find Roe deer so your day will be split into two separate sessions. You need to be prepared for a very early start and late finish given the time of year.

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Our deer stalker has recommended no more than two guests maximum given that Roe are very shy and therefore notoriously hard to stalk.

 

Group Size: 2 photographers maximum plus professional deer stalker guide. I will be on hand for photographic advice if required but will stay out of the way for on foot stalking which will be undertaken under the guidance of our deer stalker.

 

Availability:  June  to August 2015. To make a booking please email me at mail@julescoxphotography.co.uk

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Workshop cost: per person 1 day: £195 2 days: £370 3 days £530

Booking: Please e mail me at mail@julescoxphotography.co.uk

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Top tips for becoming a wildlife photographer

Roe doe in wheat

I know, I know, it’s been a while….(this now is my trade mark intro to all blog posts:))

I am currently taking some time out enjoying being a full time dad to a beautiful baby boy. Joshie is now 10 months old and we adore him. Don’t worry though, I am still keeping my hand in, continuing to work away quietly on a couple of projects in the background.

The reason for this blog post? I get contacted from time to time by aspiring photographers asking for advice on how to become a wildlife photographer. After a number of recent tweets from my followers on the subject, I thought I would gather my thoughts together and share them with you. Here goes:

  • The best advice I can give any aspiring photographer is to create images of subjects you love and inspire you. Success will follow. It’s true that the most successful people are those that love what they do.
  •  The starting point for any aspiring wildlife photographer of course is a passion for wildlife. Hopefully that’s a given right? It’s worth re stating though as sometimes in the competitive works of wildlife photography inevitably there’s a tendency to lose sight of that. Me, I’ve always loved animals. My dad is a bird watcher and former editor of the Hampshire bird report. Some of my earliest memories are of being taken by my dad to Norfolk’s east coast to see the spectacle of the waders coming in to roost. It’s been wonderful to continue to share with him that connection with nature through my work many years later.
  • Ask yourself what sort of wildlife you are passionate about? My passion is the wildlife and wildernesses of the British Isles and far North. For others it is the romance and wonder of the wildlife of the African planes.
  •  Once you’ve decided where your passion and focus lies then the fun really begins. Take the time to build up a body of work.
  •  Be prepared for a lot of hard work. The portfolio on my website represents over five years’ graft and a lot of sacrifice. I am very lucky to have the support of a loving family. Without them I couldn’t have done it.
  •  I would recommend working on a project basis. Try to focus on a particular species. Rushing around trying to photograph everything will just dilute your work. If you look at my British portfolio, the barn owls and grouse both done over a number of months. I am now working on a project on Roe deer for which I’m thinking years rather than months to properly tell the story of the natural history of this fascinating shy, magical native species.
  • Did I say stories? Telling stories is where wildlife photography is currently at. Over the last seven years that I’ve attended the wildlife photography symposium, Wild photos its a consistent thread that has run thorough the inspiring presentations given by successful wildlife photographers and magazine editors.
  • Its good to be inspired. It’s important to draw inspiration from other photographers. The work of the top European photographers such as Vincent Munier, Stefano Unterthiner and Jari Peltomaki I find hugely influential on my own meagre efforts.
  • Find a mentor if you can. I was very lucky to be mentored by leading British wildlife photographer and National Geographic contributor Danny Green, someone whose work I have always really admired. I am so grateful to Dan for his warmth and generosity in sharing his knowledge with me over the years. He remains the first person I go to when I have new work to show and whose opinion I value most.
  • Whilst looking to others for inspiration, search for your own voice. That takes time to develop. Be patient. For the last couple of years I’ve been pretty much working on stories of my own which has been a wonderful adventure and challenging myself to try new techniques to help tell that story. Earlier this year I started using camera trap techniques. It’s been a steep learning curve but finally I am starting to get some decent results.
  • Remain grounded at all times. Even with success, there’s always room for improvement. I am probably my own worst critic. It’s a healthy attitude I think, driving me on to make me a better photographer. Like any creative field, wildlife photography is an artistic journey. Which is what makes it so much fun.
  • To become a good wildlife photographer you should spend as much time with your subject in the field as possible. As the saying goes, the more time spent in the field the luckier you become. I’m always at my happiest when out with nature also, reconnecting with the natural world. It’s good for the soul.
  • Whilst it’s important to promote your work, try to resist the temptation to do so prematurely. Wait until you have something to really show for your efforts. Too many aspiring photographers make the mistake of going about things the wrong way. A whirlwind of activity on social media but very few decent images to speak of. Young RSPCA Photographer of the year, Owen Hearn is a great example of a young photographer getting it the right way round. He is already taking some stunning images that seasoned pros would be happy with and he is still only in his teens!
  • Learn to process your images properly. I can’t emphasise the importance of this enough. This is very much an art in its own right. It’s very easy to spoil a good image in the processing. I always try to make sure the image looks exactly like it did on the screen on the back of the camera when I took it. All my work is processed in Lightroom. I don’t like sitting in front of the computer. If it takes me more than a couple of minutes to process an image then something is not right with it.
  • Value your work. Never give it away. Ever. You’ll be approached by publications that tell you that regrettably they don’t have a budget, but it’ll be good for you profile, blah blah blah. It’s exploitative nonsense. The same publications are being sold commercially. Your work sells the publisher’s magazine. Make sure you are being treated fairly and receive a fair rate. That said there are a lot of decent magazines out there that respect their photographers and treat them properly.

So there we are,  just a few of my thoughts based on my experience. I hope they are helpful.

For anyone, interested I am thinking of running a limited number of one to one wildlife photography workshops aimed at both beginners and also anyone looking to take their photography to the next level. If you are interested then get in touch with me at mail@julescoxphotography.co.uk

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New website!

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I’m delighted to announce the launch of my new wildlife photography website! After months of hard work behind the scenes it finally went live this week.

As you can see I have a new logo. The sleeping Arctic fox is based on one of my images from my trip to Arctic Canada last November. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but it took the help of a very talented graphic designer to turn my vision into reality. We went through about forty re drafts in the end to get it just right. I hope you will agree it was worth it. I am really, really happy with the results.

A new logo deserves a new website, and I’ve opted for a clean minimalist approach. New content includes:

  • A new Home page featuring a collage of some of my favourite wildlife images I’ve shot over the last five years as an introduction to my work;
  • A new Image Licensing page. All of the wildlife images appearing in my Portfolio, are available to licence for print, media and commercial use. Please contact me for a quote.
  • The launch of my exclusive Fine Art Wildlife Print Collection. Working with the best master printers in the country, all of the images appearing in my Portfolio are now available to buy as signed limited edition fine art prints and canvases. Please contact me if you have a particular image in mind for a quote using the guidelines on my page.

I’m really pleased with the new look. It’s taken me five years, but I finally feel I have the right platform for showcasing my work.

With Autumn now here, I’m really looking forward to getting out there and taking some new images. As well as my continuing work on Roe deer, I am also covering some of autumn’s wildlife spectaculars such as the annual Red deer rut. I am aiming to blog a lot more regularly going forward, so please do check back here to my wildlife photography blog from time to time for my latest work.

Cheers

Jules

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The Snow Fox

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The beautiful Arctic fox, also known as the white, polar, or snow fox, is a small mammal, native to the Arctic regions of the North, inhabiting the Arctic tundra. It is an incredibly hardy animal, superbly adapted to living in this harsh, inhospitable, cold environment where temperatures can drop to -50°C and below.

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The Arctic fox has short ears, a short muzzle and short limbs together with a compact, generally rounded body shape, minimising the amount of body surface area exposed to the Arctic cold, preventing heat loss.

Those wide, front facing ears also afford the Arctic fox with an incredible sense of hearing, allowing them to locate the precise position of their prey under the snow. When they find their prey, they leap into the air and pounce , effectively punching through the snow to catch their unfortunate victim.

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The Arctic fox has deep layers of fur, its coat thickening and turning a beautiful white in winter, providing both superb insulation and highly effective camouflage against its snow environment.

Its paws are covered in thick fur also, effectively acting as snow shoes and also allowing them to walk on snow and ice in search of food whilst preventing the pads from sticking. That reddish discolouration of the paws in the image above, incidentally, is caused by staining from the Arctic vegetation of its environment.

The thick tail or brush provides the Arctic Fox with further protection and refuge against the cold when resting and curled up, as well as excellent balance for running.

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Arctic fox populations fluctuate depending on the lemming population which forms its staple prey item. We were extremely lucky that our visit to Churchill followed an explosion in the lemming population in the summer. This meant a very successful breeding season for the local population of Arctic foxes, taking advantage of the over-abundance of availability of this little rodent.

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Local people we spoke to said they had never seen so many foxes in fact. At one time I counted six or seven foxes running around us. Arctic foxes like most predators are territorial  leading to the odd conflict.

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For their relatively small size  (head and body, 18 to 26.75 in (46 to 68 cm); tail, up to 13.75 in (35 cm)), Arctic foxes are incredibly feisty and a couple of the foxes we saw proudly bore the scars of various squabbles.

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For me, so much about wildlife photography rests on opportunity and what an opportunity this was. It was important therefore to try to make the most of it. We had already seen a lot of Arctic foxes around whilst out on the Tundra buggies looking for bears so we knew the potential was there. For the final two days of our trip we concentrated most of our efforts on trying to get images of this stunning animal, using our hired 4 x 4 vehicles to try to find them.

Our last two days in and around Churchill also coincided with a dramatic improvement in the weather. This gave us a couple of cold, clear and crisp days. According to some of the local guides they pretty much hadn’t seen the sun at all for over a month so again we got very lucky.

The change in weather gave us some sublime light to work with complimenting such a beautiful subject perfectly. The next six images were taken at first light on the final day of our trip. As the sun rose over the ridge that the foxes used as a look out, it bathed them in the most amazing pastel, pink light. As a photographer you dream of an opportunity like this. It’s true what my friend and mentor Danny Green says, it really is all about the light.

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Later the same morning, driving around in our 4 x 4, Nigel spotted another fox. This was to be our last Arctic fox encounter of the trip before heading home.

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With temperatures down to -35 the surrounding willow vegetation was beautifully frosted making for a perfect winter wonderland backdrop against which to set him

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The Arctic and the Reds are not the only species of fox that call the wildlife management area of Churchill their home. They also share it with two other species the Cross Fox and Silver Fox.

The Cross fox is a partially melanistic colour variant of the red fox. It has a long dark stripe running down its back, intersecting another stripe to form a cross over the shoulders, hence its name. It tends to be more abundant in northern regions and is rarer than the common red form.

Meet Manky, the Cross fox. I’ve been debating with myself whether to include him in my blog or not…he is a bit, well, manky! We had a couple of sessions with him on the trip but I wasn’t sure about him myself and only took a couple of frames of him. I posted one of them on Facebook though and asked my followers whether I should include him. He got a great response so here he is. He is rather striking and I’m rather glad to include him.

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Photographing the Arctic foxes though was, for me, the absolute highlight of the trip, with them right at the top of my list of the Arctic species I was hoping to see. I’d go further in saying it was one of my most memorable wildlife encounters to date. My approach to wildlife photography is simple and unpretentious. Wildlife photography for me is all about getting the chance to see beautiful wildlife and challenging myself to try to capture that beauty and share it with a wider audience.

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This is my last blog for 2013, so I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to look at my work and comment on it this year both on my blog and social media. Your continuing support is hugely encouraging making it all worthwhile.

I look forward to sharing more wildlife encounters with you in 2014. It promises for me to be a very exciting year for quite a few reasons, which I look forward to sharing with you (can’t say anything just yet!).

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.

Shhh! He’s sleeping …..

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