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by Tesni Ward

Winter can be a challenge for any wildlife photographer; many species leave the country seeking warmer climates or otherwise become far less active. This, coupled with a significantly shorter day, means it can be difficult to remain motivated when you’re failing to find or photograph anything. I’ve learnt the hard way how to deal with some of these challenges – so here are my five top tips for making the most of this festive season.

Research is key

There’s nothing worse than spending your time searching for an animal that isn’t around during the winter. Many reptiles go into hibernation, summer visitors such as Ospreys leave the country, and the activity level of many animals decreases dramatically. Ensure you’re familiar with which animals are more likely to be found during winter, such as seasonal winter visitors, and spend your time working with them.

Project, project, project!

During spring and summer it can become more challenging to prioritise which subjects to work with due to the sheer abundance of options available. During the winter, there is a much smaller selection of animals to work with – which means it’s the perfect opportunity to work on a project with a specific animal and develop a deeper appreciation of that subject.

Use the shorter days to your advantage

With the sun lower in the sky during the winter season, you can find that the light is ideal for a much longer time than in summer, when the light can be harsh and wash out any colour or contrast. This gives you a great opportunity to spend a full day out with the camera.

Go out in bad conditions

Fog, rain, wind and snow can all be used to add an additional element to your images. Ensure your camera is capable of coping with the harsh conditions – or get a suitable camera and lens cover – and get out shooting.

Get creative

As any wildlife photographer will know, things don’t always go your way – you’ll sometimes find yourself failing to even see any wildlife on a particular day. Use those opportunities to get creative and perhaps branch out into photographing other things around you, whether it’s other forms of nature or even people. You might surprise yourself!

Hopefully, using some of these tips means you will have a successful winter with some of our most charismatic species in the UK. What would you say are your top tips for winter wildlife photography?