Year Two (119) – A Highland Cow

One walk in the New Forest on an autumn morning, and a variety of lighting opportunities and a variety of backgrounds as I captured the free roaming highland cattle. I have my 28-300mm lens, an off camera flash which I use for the first time with wildlife and my 5D mark iii.

These are the highlights….

Highland cows in the distance … using the zoom lens to focus in on the cow walking across the New Forest in the early morning sunshine.

A Cow in the distance - ISO800, F5.6, 1/1600sec - 300mm focal length.
A Cow in the distance – ISO800, F5.6, 1/1600sec – 300mm focal length.

I was stood in the shade, the cow was in the shade too – so it was important to expose for the cow and over expose the background… you can see how the sun is blowing out the highlights on the cow  in the background… the only other way to capture the detail in the foreground would have been to add flash. I have not tried it with wild animals!

In the shade - ISO800, F7.1, 1/60sec - 130mm focal length
In the shade – ISO800, F7.1, 1/60sec – 130mm focal length

A side view … the cow stayed roughly in the same position and I moved my feet, his eyes are following me as I have the photobuddy, I am still shooting in the shade and with such a long focal length it is important that the shutter speed is not too slow.

Side view - ISO800, 1/40sec, F7.1, 80mm focal length
Side view – ISO800, 1/40sec, F7.1, 80mm focal length

Moving in on the details … what a lovely shaggy hair do .. and a challenge to get both eyes in the shot… he is a lovely cow.. but those horns could certainly do some damage.

Another close up - ISO800, F7.1, 1/30 sec - 210mm focal length
Another close up – ISO800, F7.1, 1/30 sec – 210mm focal length

Further on on my walk, it was about 4 km later on a circular walk I came across the cows again, this time beside a forest stream, the light is a little brighter but still low in the sky so capturing the detail on their faces is a challenge and I am desperate to add light, but dare I?

Having a paddle - ISO800, F14, 1/500 sec - 300 mm focal length
Having a paddle – ISO800, F14, 1/500 sec – 300 mm focal length

Moving around the cows, my favorite has to be the one paddling … we were then joined by a New Forest pony – both these are animals are free roaming in the New Forest! I still want to add more light to the cow .. it calls for off camera flash…

Joined by a New Forest Pony - ISO 800, F14, 1/320 sec - 70mm
Joined by a New Forest Pony – ISO 800, F14, 1/320 sec – 70mm

My first attempt, I am not sure the cows was too comfortable with the idea as he created a wave … did I mention those horns look scary!! I love the pony in the background framed by his horns.

More flash - ISO400, F8, 1/1250 sec - 65mm7
More flash – ISO400, F8, 1/1250 sec – 65mm

Another attempt – the sun is lighting the cow on the left hand side on the image and then I am lighting the right with my flash off camera resting on the gravel path, it is not quite in the right position and I wish I had someone to move it, but it is the best I have…

photochallenge-20161011-october-0298-1
A highland Cow in the New Forest

Changing angles and getting remarkably close to the water and I love this shot the edge of the path creates a great leading line and the cow is still putting up with me!

Getting lower and almost wet! ISO400, F8, 1/2500
Getting lower and almost wet! ISO400, F8, 1/2500

My final shot … curiosity got the cow and he decided to have a closer look at my flash just as it went off…  so this is a behind the scenes glimpse ….

Off camera flash curiousity!
Off camera flash curiosity!

More Highland Cow images are available in my galleries with a commercial license so suitable to be used in your New Forest marketing.

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