Matt Roseveare is a young and inspiring photographer based in the New Forest, UK. From an early age Matt has been capturing the beautiful landscape around his home and the wildlife that lives within it. Now as a student of Falmouth University, Matt continues to refine his skills as a photographer studying Marine and Natural History Photography. In this interview we learnt some of what goes into producing great images of wildlife living naturally in their habitats.
What got you into wildlife photography and how long have you been doing it for?
The Natural World has always captivated me. Ever since I was 10 years old, I have been trying to capture it, starting with my family’s point and shoot camera and then moving to a DSLR when I was 15. Living so close to the New Forest, a place so rich in natural treasures has kept me constantly inspired to get outside. Now, at age 20, I visit almost every day with my camera. What draws me most to nature photography is the fact that the natural world is unpredictable. It’s the anticipation that anything could happen which keeps it thrilling and gets me up in the very early hours of the morning to find beautiful scenes in nature.
How did you find such great locations for these images?
These images are taken in the New Forest in Hampshire, a place I have been visiting all my life. I have got to know the locations very well which puts me one step ahead of the wildlife. By visiting the same place so often I like to think that I begin to understand the habits of the animals and the places to stand for the right light and conditions. I do research on my subject beforehand, finding out what sort of habitats they prefer and when the best time to see them is to maximise my chances of photographing them.
What is your approach to taking images of deer in their wild habitat?
Like most British mammals, deer have very good senses. If they see or smell you on the wind they will most likely run away. You always have to be one step ahead of them, I try to learn their habits and anticipate where they will be when the light is at its best. For example, I once noticed that at sunrise herds of fallow deer would cross a particular heath in the same direction each morning to get to their grazing grounds, so I knew exactly where to wait.
I don’t use a hide for deer as they have a habit of coming out of anywhere so a 360 view of the area is useful, therefore camouflage gear is essential. If I see deer in the distance and I want a closer view, I make sure I’m down wind and try and see where they are walking and head round to where I think they will appear next. It is important to never approach a deer with a fawn or during the breeding season as this may disturb them and that is not worth a picture no matter how good you think it will be.
Can you recount any of the events that led up taking any of these photos?
It was the day after Boxing Day and I didn’t want to get out of bed. I finally forced myself to get up, as the conditions looked perfect for mist, a clear night and a low wind. I was walking in an area I knew well as the sun was piercing through the pines that filled this enclosure near Brockenhurst. I saw a scene of beautiful light and put my landscape 24-70 mm lens on.
As I began to capture the woodland scene I couldn’t believe my eyes when a roe deer walked into frame and stood in a great spot. It was a blessing that I had my wide-angle lens on as if I was using my zoom lens I wouldn’t have been able to capture the stunning light shining on the deer. He stared for a fraction of a second before trudging back into the woods… a moment of pure magic where everything seemed to come together. This is one of my favourite images I have been lucky enough to take.
What equipment do you typically carry with you? Are there any bits of kit that you rely on most?
I use a Sigma 150-600mm, which I find is great for the price and is sharp enough for the atmospheric early morning shots I like to take. I rely on this the most for wildlife as the 600mm range allows you to be far enough back without having to disturb the animal and zoom out and in without having to move and give away your position. For low light, the Nikon 70-200mm F 2.8 is great for subjects like badgers or foxes, at dusk.
In your opinion what makes a great wildlife photo?
I love shooting wide, to tell the story of the wildlife inside its habitat. When I first started wildlife photography it was all about trying to get a closer and closer head portrait of an animal but I soon realised that these images could easily be captured in a zoo or wildlife park. In most cases if you zoom out and capture the world around your subject the story in the image can be enhanced.
I hoped that these images would show the deer’s secretive side in their magical forest world. Likewise, a wider shot of a deer in a city environment would exaggerate their loss of habitat and show their transition to a human world. A wider photograph risks being messy with potentially distracting elements in the frame; I found it helps to shoot into the light as this can cause most of these elements to silhouette and become less defined.
Do you edit your photos much, if so what does this typically involve?
These pictures required hardly any post processing, I use Lightroom to adjust the contrast, highlights and shadows of my RAW images then will take to Photoshop to remove any dust specs. It is essential to shoot in RAW as this gives you the most information to play with, there has been countless times where I have managed to save an image from appearing over or underexposed by utilising the information stored in a RAW image.Find more about shooting RAW here.
Have any other photographers inspired you along the way to becoming a wildlife photographer?
My favourite photographer is Michio Hoshino and his book “Moose” (View on Amazon) where he so perfectly combines landscape and wildlife photography, capturing moose in extraordinarily beautiful Canadian landscapes. I can strongly recommend this book, which has inspired me so much to try and show wildlife in their natural habitat.
What advice would you give to people just starting out in wildlife photography?
Do your research and spend the hours in the wild to learn the field craft through your own mistakes. Expect the bad days as this will only make the good ones even sweeter. Wildlife photography is very frustrating and your success is often out of your control. Always put the animal’s welfare first and spend as much time as you can learning the subject and location and you will be rewarded with great images.
What does the future hold for you as a photographer?
I am currently studying Marine and Natural History photography in Falmouth University. I am about to embark on a 6-week expedition to the Madagascan rainforest to photograph and film students conducting biodiversity studies in an unsurveyed rainforest. I am very excited take on the challenge of photographing the unique wildlife of the island.
If people want to purchase prints of these photographs, where can they go?
If you want to enquire about a print please visit, http://www.mattrphotography.co.uk/
Visit Matt’s website: www.mattrphotography.co.uk
Make sure you give Matt a follow on Instagram!
If you are looking to get into wildlife photography then a great place to start is your back garden! Check out our article on photographing garden birds to learn how.