October Photography – Being Enchanted by Wonderful Wildlife Photography

2 November 2020Rebecca Bradley
‘October arrived, spreading a damp chill over the grounds and into the castle. Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was kept busy by a sudden spate of colds among the staff and students. Raindrops the size of bullets thundered on the castle windows for days on end; the lake rose, the flower beds turned into muddy streams, and Hagrid’s pumpkins swelled to the size of garden sheds.’ – J.K. Rowling 

October is my favourite month. But as 2020 keeps on delivering, my favourite month is very different this year. But we press on. I’ve lit my favourite Halloween-scented candle, Haunted Hollow. It’s burning away on the windowsill as I write. There are raindrops all over the window. Gusts of wind are blowing around the little skeleton figure I have tied onto the handle. Along with the wind and rain outside my window, I have Harry Potter ambience music on. I finished reading Interview with the Vampire and straight away picked up Wakenhyrst. These little things are keeping my spooky heart going at a time when the world sucks.

For a few weeks now, Scotland has been under further restrictions. There are travel restrictions across the central belt. I have not been able to travel anywhere outside of Glasgow. Because of the lack of travel, my interest in photography has taken a bit of a break for now. I take photos on my travels so the inspiration is low! And that is okay. It means I get to focus more on this blog and planning out the content I have been itching to write! I am going to try a new monthly recap post of my photography, this being the first of many to come. 

At the end of the summer, I started thinking about buying a new camera lens. Investing in an upgrade to my zoom kit lens has been on the cards for a while now. The Canon 15-55mm kit lens has saved me so many times. It’s always captured the best natural human-eye perspective photos for me. But I have been looking for an even bigger zoom lens so that I can delve a bit more into wildlife photography.

I treated myself to the Canon 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. Even though I have only had a short amount of time testing it out, I have seen a difference in my wildlife photos. A good difference! It is a very heavy lens! My little self struggles to hold it for a long time. Especially clomping about forests and trying to be quiet for the wildlife. But I am sure I will get used to it. Need to work on those biceps and I will be grand.

So far I have taken photos of robins, crows, butterflies, and red squirrels. Even some red deer, ducks and some insects here and there. Struggling at times with the right shutter speed and some blurry photos, but it’s a work in progress! And animals are so beautiful and so patient. I couldn’t believe it when I came across a herd of deer at Rannoch station and they let me take as many photos as I wanted. The silent focus on the lens helps not to scare them too. 

I am loving my little adventure into wildlife photography. Even though I’m restricted to Glasgow for now. I’m sure when I get my inspiration back I’ll be able to find lots of local wildlife to continue my adventure. 

I’ve also had my first experience of making my own Lightroom Preset at the start of the month. I’ve never been one to use the Presets available on Lightroom. I have always preferred to edit on my own, but I thought I would try something different and am glad that I did.

I wanted to make the photos I had taken in mid-September look more autumnal. I knew at the time the way the pandemic was going in Scotland; I wasn’t going to be able to travel in October. I wanted the photos to have high contrast, less green with more browns and reds. I wanted my photos to have a dark and gloomy autumnal look to them. It is the spooky season after all!

I’ve included a couple of the photos I’ve edited where you can see the use of my new zoom lens and my autumn Preset. My favourite picture I have taken in October is the one below. I was in Pentland Hills in Edinburgh at the time. And the ram was munching away on some grass. I like the way we can see the horns through the grass.

For this month’s inspiration, I’m a big World of Warcraft fan. Now that it is getting dark outside at about 5 pm, I have been playing for a few hours each night. I was levelling a mage in my favourite zone ever the other day. And I realised how much inspiration I get from Drustvar. The music. The witches. The autumnal colours. The magic. 

When I look at the zone now, I realise that my autumn editing on Lightroom is much like the place. Full of the little details and all the browns, oranges and reds. I also believe that Fort William and the Scottish Highlands in autumn is Drustvar. But that’s my wishing for it to be real!

It’s a shame that our months are not feeling different anymore and they’re all merging into one. But with photography, we’re able to see the beauty in our local walks and homes. And make sure the October charm is alive. 

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