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Artists of APN: Alannah-Hawker

Journal Entry: Fri Apr 13, 2018, 6:00 AM
AnimalsPlantsNature
Your Home for APN Photography


Hello and welcome to an interview series that will introduce you to the artists of Animals, Plants and Nature Photography - with a touch of Macro-Nature - here, at AnimalsPlantsNature! We are excited to be bringing you an interview with a well-known Wildlife photographer, to get a closer look at her photography and the thoughts behind the amazing photos she shares with the DeviantArt community: Alannah-Hawker.

Enjoy the interview!

Home II by Alannah-Hawker

Before we get started, please take a moment to introduce yourself and talk a bit about how you got introduced to the world of photography.

:iconalannah-hawker:
Hi, I'm Alannah and I've been doing wildlife photography for about 10 years now. I started out as quite a newbie with it all, I had always loved to take photos of nature, but didn't really know what I was doing with a camera. I then took photography and art at college, the two went together quite well as I needed reference photos for my art project, so it encouraged the photography even more. For one project I was drawing lions so went to a local zoo to get some photos. From there my love of photographing animals started and hasn't stopped.


Monster by Alannah-HawkerDevoted II by Alannah-Hawker

In your decade as a member of DA, you have shared all kinds of photography - from seals to birds, and from frogs to what is probably one of your most popular subjects, foxes. Could you tell us how you became the family photographer for this band of foxes?

:iconalannah-hawker:
I'd always liked foxes, but they were usually just something I would see run across my path and then they'd be gone. The fox story started when I had decided I wanted to try and focus more on wild animals then zoo animals. The timing couldn't have been better, as that year we spotted fox cubs in my garden. Of course they were very shy and nervous, and I spent a lot of time waiting for just a glance of them. My patience paid off slowly when one cub decided he didn't mind me sat still with my camera. I followed him till he became an adult and left the same year. It was the following year that my story with the foxes really grew though. We had a new vixen who, luckily, didn't seem to mind me being in the garden with her cubs. I managed to ID and follow the cubs individually, but it was one cub that stood out who we named 'Jack' (though she turned out to be a girl!) As the cubs grew it was apparent that a couple of them were suffering badly with mange. It was at this point I had to step in and 'Jack' was taken to our local wildlife rescue to be treated. After a few weeks we released her back, and from then a bond seem to be formed. The next year 'Jack' kept the territory and had cubs of her own. I followed 'Jack' for the new few years, there was a mutual trust, and she was happy to sit with me in the garden while her cubs ran around. She would often leave me with the cubs, like I was babysitting them! This gave me a great chance to get intimate shots of the family and document their story. After a few years 'Jack' decided to move territory but I still see her occasionally, and the current vixen I follow is one of her cubs named 'Thea'. The generations of foxes have been made into a family tree so you can see how the story progresses. At times it feels more like photographing family then wild animals, I've been incredibly privileged to be let into their lives. ( I'll stop now or I'll talk about foxes forever! ;) (Wink) )


Morning Breath by Alannah-HawkerGolden Morning by Alannah-Hawker

Chikrata is your partner in real life, and together you follow the same family of foxes. How does being so close to a fellow photographer - who photographs the same subject you do - influence your own photography?

:iconalannah-hawker:
I actually find that it helps my photography a lot. Often we can be sat together taking a picture of the same thing, but when we look at the images later we have both come away with something completely different. It helps seeing how we each look at a scene as we can then learn from each other. I also find it helps when we look back through photos, as we are both quite honest with each other about what works and doesn't work in certain photos. Doing this really helps me to see where I can improve with my work. I personally find it works really well when you're out photographing with someone else, you can bounce ideas off each other and come up with some different photos. It's also more fun than sitting in the cold waiting on your own!


In the Shadows by Alannah-Hawker

The photo above shows an amazing creative eye; could you tell us just how you managed to take this photo?

:iconalannah-hawker:
Thank you! There are so many people taking wildlife images now, so I like to try and do something a little different that stands out. The effect is something I've tried a lot, it can be very hit and miss.. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it just doesn't. All of my images like this are done with natural lighting, and aren't edited, so what you see is what I took. It's just making use of lighting that's available, you can try it any time that you have patches of strong light against dark shadows. You need your subject to be in a bright patch of light with dark shadows behind them, then you simply underexpose your image (or expose for the brightest part of the image). You can do the effect so the whole animal is on a dark background, or you can play around with it and use the effect when the subject is backlit (like here, which just gives an outline).


Seal 4 by Alannah-HawkerHello! by Alannah-Hawker

You photograph foxes almost to practically in your back yard, but do  you use the same equipment then, as you use when for example, photographing puffins? Can you walk us through your standard backpack essentials while photographing wild animals?

:iconalannah-hawker:
I'm a bit boring here and tend to use the same lens for most of my photos, which is my 100-400mm. I find this gives me a really good range and I can photograph the subject with a lot more versatility then a fixed lens. Occasionally I will try and use a wider lens though, I find using the wide angle is a nice way to show the animal in its environment and gives a different type of photo. Obviously this depends on the subject, but I've managed to use my 18-55mm on the foxes, swans and puffins so far, so I will often carry it around with me just in case the opportunity arises.


Bright Eyes by Alannah-HawkerFroglet 2 by Alannah-Hawker

You photograph these animals in the wild; what kind of obstacles have you encountered while photographing them?

:iconalannah-hawker:
My main obstacle usually is actually finding a good location. You can often find places where you think would be great to take photos, but the animals just aren't there. Then you can have it the other way round when the location isn't nice but there is lots of wildlife. For example my local pond isn't great for photos as the pond doesn't look very natural but there are lots of birds there. So it takes a while to find a good location that's got the animal I'm looking for. Another obstacle is distance, obviously they're all wild animals so they can be quite nervous. I think this just depends on the animal though, sometimes build up a trust (like the foxes), but then there are other individuals they are just naturally shy.


Asleep by Alannah-Hawker

Looking at the photo above, could you tell us a little bit about how you managed to get such an amazing close-up of this young seal in the last of the evening light?

:iconalannah-hawker:
I think it was a bit of luck really. There was lots of seal pups on the beach, so there was lots of different opportunities for photos. Most people were looking/photographing the seals that were out in open that they could easily see. I was looking around trying to see the photo I wanted when I spotted this seal fairly hidden away. He was tucked into some long grass, but because he wasn't as easy to see most people ignored him. I decided to try and get something of him, and luckily the grass worked to my advantage, shading most of the seal but just letting a patch of the last of the evening light in.


Morning Deer by Alannah-HawkerContemplation by Alannah-Hawker

When you travel, how much does the possibility or opportunity to photograph a new or different kind of animal affect your choice in destination?

:iconalannah-hawker:
It's usually the animal that affects where I go to. I'll usually look at an area and find out what kind of wildlife is there and decide from that whether to go. Most of the time though I try and keep as local as possible, so most of the animals I take pictures of are within a 15minute drive from my house. This makes it easier to go and photograph the animal, which means I can try and build up a bond with the animal. I like to do this as then I can try and show the personality of the animals, as I know them. Also I feel like we should appreciate the animals that are right in front of us, so staying local does this.


First Looks by Alannah-HawkerPeek-A-Boo by Alannah-Hawker

In closing, do you have any tips for aspiring wildlife photographers you would like to share?

:iconalannah-hawker:
I think my main tip is probably what everyone says - Practice. It's the best way to try and improve you photos. Wildlife is so unpredictable too, so you need to try and be ready for anything. The more you know your camera and your subject the more ready you will be when something happens. I think getting to know your subject and working with them lots helps too. When your subject knows you are no threat they will be comfortable in your presence, so you will get more natural and intimate shots that others wont get. Hopefully these tips help a bit! :) (Smile)


Now for a feature of Alannah-Hawker's work!

Golden by Alannah-HawkerMorning Crow by Alannah-Hawker
Three's Trouble by Alannah-Hawker
In The Ferns by Alannah-HawkerLily Pads by Alannah-Hawker
Puffin 3 by Alannah-Hawker
Hiding by Alannah-HawkerClimber by Alannah-Hawker
Small details by Alannah-Hawker
Razorbill by Alannah-HawkerDelicacy by Alannah-Hawker


Journal skin by UszatyArbuz
Photo by The-Panic
I had the pleasure to talk to one of my favorite photographers whom I've followed and admired for a long-time: Alannah-Hawker.
Curious about what she had to say about her APN Photography? Do read on to learn more about her and her photos :la:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlucytherescuedcat:
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful Photography! Great interview! Simply adore her work! :love:
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
She is, without a doubt, the best :heart:
So amazing to learn more about her and her photography, AND those foxes I've really grown to love :love:
Reply
:iconlucytherescuedcat:
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes, indeed! The foxes are so adorable, we all love them! :love:
Reply
:iconalannah-hawker:
Alannah-Hawker Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2018   Photographer
Thanks for the lovely feature and interview, it was a lot of fun and I hope it might help a few people! :)
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
You are absolutely more than welcome - it was such a pleasure, and a real honor to interview you!
Even more fun to look for photos to accompany your words - I could look through your gallery all day, every day :heart:
I am sure it will help a lot of people who read it - it's already helped me ;)
Reply
:iconmypeanutgallery:
MYPeanutGallery Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018
Wonderful interview and photos!
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
It's so much fun browsing through her gallery, I had to stop myself from not including more :giggle:
Glad you enjoyed the interview Penny :hug:
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018   Writer
Great interview! It was a good read!
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Alannah-Hawker was just awesome to correspond with :la:
I've admired her for a long time, am a huge fan of her work (Fox emoji - hearts  foxes! Fox emoji - hearts ) so being able to do this interview was a real honor and I learned a lot :D
Reply
:iconyuukon:
Yuukon Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2018   Writer
Awesome! I have some fun ones coming up as well :la:
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
:la: :eager: :la:
Reply
:iconjenfruzz:
JenFruzz Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Wonderful interview! Tons of great advice in here. Thank you sharing your time with our group, Alannah-Hawker!
Reply
:iconalannah-hawker:
Alannah-Hawker Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2018   Photographer
Thanks for deciding to interview me, it was a lot of fun! :aww:
Reply
:iconmouselemur:
Mouselemur Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
It's become a very enjoyable interview I think - I learned a lot from it at least :)
Reply
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