One Photographer's Five-Day Mission for an Elusive Photo

One photographer has been chasing a particular shot for a number of years, and in this video, watch behind the scenes as he spends a week trying to get it just right in the United Kingdom's Peak District.

Have you got any shots that seem to elude you or that are on your bucket list? If we take the time to think about it, I imagine we all have some shots we would love to capture. Over the years, I have had many, some I have ticked off, some I haven't managed to. What the subject is, doesn't really matter. I know some will watch this video and wonder why Nigel Danson wants to capture heather, though personally, I can understand it. But, the subject of the images you are trying to capture isn't important. At times, you get a shot in your head that clings on for dear life and you just can't seem to capture it.

I have a few that come to mind when I ask myself this question. There is one, however, that I believe I have never managed to capture. Where I live isn't exactly prolific for landscape or wildlife, however, I have estates and woodlands near me that are known for their large deer populations. I have seen local photographer friends capture incredible pictures of these deer at sunrise, but I haven't managed it myself. I have pictures of deer at varying times, some of them are even reasonably interesting, but the epic, isolated, back-lit stag that lives in my mind, I cannot seem to get.

What shot has managed to elude you?

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Tom Reichner's picture

Robert Baggs asked,

"What shot has managed to elude you?"

There are many that have eluded me, but two immediately come to mind and stand out above the others ...

Ili Pika, and the Gunnison Sage Grouse breeding display.

Ili Pika:

I have tried to find out how to get to the place where Ili Pika live in the Tian Shan mountains in China. Despite extensive research and attempts to communicate with Chinese authorities and biologists, I have gotten nowhere in my pursuit. The understanding I have is that the Chinese government does not allow anyone - not even Chinese citizens - to travel into the areas where this Pika species lives.

Gunnison Sage Grouse:

Are quite endangered, and live in portions of western Colorado and extreme eastern Utah. The respective state Wildlife Departments have identified all areas where these grouse breed, and have closed all such areas to all public entry during the spring lekking seasons, when they can be photographed effectively.

On rare occasions, a special use permit is granted to someone for the purpose of photographing or filming the grouse on their breeding grounds, but I do not have any of the extensive qualifications that are necessary to be considered for such a permit.

And hence I have all of this passion for these species, and no way to act on it and pursue the dream photos that exist in my mind's eye. And that can be quite discouraging. I feel hopeless in these two endeavors.

Francis Drake's picture

Well that escalated quickly!

Matt Edwards's picture

According to many of the recent articles posted here, you can just photoshop the shot instead of putting all this work into it!

Jan Holler's picture

Well said. I like the guy's effort.

Aleenia N's picture

What shot eludes me? Astrophotography and capturing the Milky Way. I live where there‘s too much light pollution so I try to capture while on vacation in the mountains. For 3 years now either the weather (clouds,rain) or the moon (full and/or above the horizon have interfered. This year I had a window of opportunity in my 2 week vacation of exactly one hour on one night and even then there were some clouds.
I admit, I‘m not willing to hike in total darkness because I don’t know the terrain and since its so remote in case of injury I’d have a real problem, so Location is an issue.

Timothy Gasper's picture

I understand your frustration/fun through all this. (I say fun because, to me, it's fun to look around and see new things for future shots, etc). Can't tell you how long I had waited to hopefully get the conditions I was looking for just right. To the point of asking myself whether or not I should just shoot the damn thing. You guys over there in England are so blessed with the weather and beautiful sceneries. I live in Utah where it is sunny most all the time, but my assignments have taken me to Russia mostly, but other wonderful places in Europe as well. Being retired now, I am confined to my area not only by this Covid virus, but also because I am needed here at home by my wife. When all this virus stuff is over we will definitely go back to Russia as my wife still has her home there, but I am definitely making a trip to beautiful England and my mother's homeland...Scotland. Thank you for sharing the scenery. And don't wig out about your lighting conditions. Just find something new while waiting for your 'right' light. Be safe and happy shooting.