Alan Heeley lives and works in North East Derbyshire. For the past 20 years he has photographed a wide range of wildlife, with his favourite subjects being mammals, birds and reptiles. Just over 6 years ago Alan embraced the digital age. Since then his photography has gone from strength to strength. He puts a lot of time into getting his images – studying his subject’s behaviour, creating the ideal set-up and patiently waiting for the right opportunities. The images shown here are the result of his high level of dedication to photography, with an insight into how he got the image.
I had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get this image. I had been watching foxes at this location for 4 years, waiting to get the right fox to photograph. It took a long time for it to accept my presence, with me moving closer and closer, each time I made a visit. It was worth the wait. As its cubs came within range of my telephoto lens, I was able to take some memorable shots.
Brown Hares leaping
I had always fancied the idea of capturing Brown Hares in silhouette, leaping in the air as part of their spring courtship behaviour. Knowing they start early in the year, I begin my project in February. To get this shot I had to crawl on my belly over 100 metres across a field, armed with my telephoto lens to get within range.
Little Owls are my favourite amongst the owl family. I knew of a location where they were breeding and decided to try my luck at a staged shot. So I put up an old sign post I had found, close to where I had seen them perching and erected a temporary hide. Eventually ‘one took the bait’ and sat on my post allowing me to get the picture I wanted.
Another image from my trips to Scotland. Using local contacts I found a location the Pine Martins visited. I put a mixture of honey and peanuts on a branch, knowing that Pine Martins find it irresistible. After 3 days a Pine Martin showed and a little later, to my great delight, returned with its young.
Alan’s Top Tips
Although there is no substitute for experience and field-craft, Alan’s Top Tips for aspiring wildlife photographers are:
Use a sturdy tripod when using a long lens.
Avoid disturbance to wildlife. Wherever possible use a hide and withdraw if your subject appears to be stressed.
Do your homework – spend time watching and studying your subject’s behaviour. It will enable you to anticipate good shots.
More of Alan’s great wildlife pictures can be viewed at www.flickr.com/photos/alanheeleyphotography
Other images by Alan Heeley
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Tel: +44 1246 556500
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