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Behind the Lens - 4

A different spin on the photo series today. As we spend a lot of time in the outdoors, we naturally come across a lot of different wildlife, a lot of which can be quite difficult to shoot. This humble sheep falls into a category of simple but very enjoyable to capture, here's how I took this photo.

To find a location for this type of shot I simply looked for an area with Sheep (almost anywhere in the Peak District ticks this box), high winds and good cloud cover. The cloud cover, although unseen in this photo is a very important requirement. Cloud acts as a very large soft-box, effectively removing the harshness of the direct sunlight, which for an animal like a sheep with a particularly large contrast ratio, makes for a more pleasant capturing experience and a more natural end feel to the image.

When shooting outdoors, it is important to understand the different aspects of the environment you are attempting to capture surrounding your subject. To portray the strength of the wind in the photograph I needed to adjust the shutter speed to ensure it is slow enough to capture the movement of the surrounding grass, but quick enough to ensure the sheep is still sharp as the focal point of the image.

For this style of image with a single object as the point of focus for the image, depth of field can change how the image feels. In this case shooting wide open at f/2.8 ensured the sheep is the single point of interest of the image with a small area surrounding her adding some detail. By shooting her in this way the the background is very soft and blurred, typically shooting outdoors I would opt for a lower aperture between f/4 and f/11 which captures more of the area. An option that can be taken is to attempt to show the environment with this method, but in this case I found the background draws your eyes away from the sheep giving less of a personal feel with the sheep.

Nikon D800 with Sigma 70-200 f/2.8

1/640 ISO 100 f/2.8 200mm

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