A gorgeous morning at Bradgate Park

Misty Morning

I’ve wanted to head to Bradgate Park recently in order to try out my new Canon 7D and 100-400L lens there, capturing some of the deer that freely roam the park, so for some completely unknown reason I decided to set my alarm for 6am on the day that the clocks went forward for British Summer Time with the sole intention of heading out for some early morning nature photography!

As the alarm went off, and as my brain slowly remembered that this wasn’t a ‘real’ 6am start (one day earlier and it would have been 5am) I hauled myself out of bed to see what the weather was looking like. It didn’t look promising. It was still dark, the sky was flat, and it didn’t look very impressive. I hit the off button on the alarm and went back to bed. 10 minutes later I was woken by the alarm again, and I realised that due to my bleary state I’d accidentally hit ‘snooze’. Not making the same mistake again I ensured the alarm was off and rolled back over to enjoy the warmth of my duvet.

But my cats had another idea. Incessant meows and repeated paws in the face ensured that I was now getting up, whether or not I liked it!

Knowing that sunrise was only half an hour away, and knowing that my destination was a good 20 minutes drive from my house I quickly got ready, grabbed my 7D and 100-400 and headed off. Within a couple of minutes of leaving home, as I entered the Leicestershire countryside I knew I’d made the right decision. The sun was now peeking over the horizon and ground mist had started to rise. I was now in a race against time.

I passed many photogenic sites along the way – misty fields, the rising sun shining against the train tracks at a level crossing – all designed to distract me from reaching my goal at Bradgate Park. But they, and not even a road closure a mile or so from my destination causing me a 5 mile detour could stop me.

As I arrived at Bradgate Park and parked my car the sun was already well on the rise. Fortunately I had chosen well, and as I entered the country park from the main car park I was presented with a whole herd of young deer just opposite me. I fired off a few shots, but the light at that particular point was quite flat and the shots didn’t work for me.

Walking further down the park I was struck with the sight of some fantastic mist rising from the river flowing through the park. I instantly rued my decision to leave my 5D Mark 2, 17-40 and Lee filters at home. I wasn’t going to be beaten though, and decided to do some impromptu landscape photography at 240mm! The results you can see at the top of the page – one of my most atmospheric shots!

As I continued my walk I encountered another herd of deer across the bank from me – this lot however had placed themselves photogenically in some gorgeous sidelight. Again, I was fully equipped to make the most of it, and moving to my right slightly (to enhance the rim lighting from the sun) and zooming out a bit to include more of the deer and surroundings made sure I got a photograph to be proud of.

I moved on, in the hope of finding some more shots, but after only half an hour in the park, the golden glow of the rising sun had gone, leaving a much blander overall scene.

But I didn’t mind. I’d got what I came for.