Winter Wonderland Part #1 - Aaron Northcott

Winter Wonderland: Part #1

The past few weeks have been fantastic for all of the Winter Photographers in the UK. 

A perfect combination of bright, clear skies, icy temperatures overnight and localised mist have allowed for some incredible opportunities in the British countryside; ethereal sunrises over flowing hills as mist laps through the valleys and ghostly silhouettes of leafless trees in ancient Oak woodland.

Deer in the Mist

I took the opportunity to spend some time photographing the Red Deer and Fallow Deer to be found in Richmond Park, London.

I'd not visited before despite being so close to my home town - but when a photography commission brought me within just a couple of miles, I couldn't resist staying an extra night in the capital with my partner to take full advantage of an icy morning early in the park and the chances I might have to photograph some of the resident deer. 

I set out long before first light, and made our way through the sleeping city to Richmond Park. It is an enormous park with ancient woodland, sprawling meadows of grasses and wildflower (though fewer flowers in Winter of course!) and picturesque lakes.

Upon arrival I was delighted to find a beautiful hoar frost had developed overnight on the meadow grass and reeds, creating a blanket of delicate white that contrasted against the contorted shapes of the dark trees.

The first sighting of deer came just minutes after starting to make my way through the chest-deep grass (as silently as possible). It was a group of females accompanied by one young stag, steadily grazing their way through an area just 20m ahead of me.

Misty Morning
Red Deer Profile #3

Gradually I crept forward, trying to use the channels which presumably had been made by deer during the night. I came to within 10m and though they were aware of my presence, they allowed me to crouch low and begin capturing images of the meadow, the sunrise and most importantly, the deer grazing in the foreground. 

The warm sun was breaking the horizon now and its rays were softened by a light mist that hung over the meadow, and the tips of the long frost-covered grass were illuminated in golden oranges and amber - allowing for some truly breathtaking images, of the Deer and the Sunrise.

I decided not to follow this group of deer much further and allowed them to disappear into the mist. The male was last to wander into the distance; and as he did so, I captured this image (right).

There's much more to tell you about my time photographing the inhabitants of this woodland, but you'll have to wait for Part Two! In the meantime, be sure to check out some of the images I captured in the new collection.

Misty Meadows

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