Interview by Steve Roe
In a small corner of Great Britain is a surviving ancient woodland spanning over more than 110 square kilometres. Local wildlife photographer Forest Blood (@ForestBlood) has been documenting the abundance of wildlife through both high quality photography and seasonal films. His films have received incredibly high praise, this is due to being able to capture the animals in such close proximity, giving sights that many have not seen before.
First of all, let's talk equipment, what do you take out on a shoot with you?
I take a Canon 1DX Mark ii, a Canon 100-400mm LIS mk ii, Canon 24-105mm L IS and a Canon 100mm Macro IS L.
How did you get in to wildlife photography?
I'd always enjoyed being out in the Forest, it wasn't until I bought a camera (originally intended to make skate films) and took that out with me that I realised I was able to get some shots that most others weren't getting. I'd started posting a few images when I was told my great uncle was also a wildlife photographer, we proceeded to spend the next couple of years going and and shooting together.
What range of wildlife does the Forest of Dean have? What animals are the most abundant?
The Forest of Dean has a wide variety of animals, the most notable and arguably famous are the Wild Boar, Deer, Adders and birds of prey. We have a good population of deer including three species; Roe, Fallow and Muntjac.
How do you approach wildlife photography, how do you get such incredible close-up shots?
The key to achieving the shots I get is absolutely about having respect for the animals and the environment. I use a zoom lens for most shots, but of course I am able to get closer for others. It's taken years to gain the field knowledge I have for the animals of the Forest of Dean and even though i'm confident with my approaches I still maintain a level of respect that creates non stressful situations for myself and the animals.
Any favourite moments in the Forest?
My absolute favourite moment is when I told my father i'd take him out to see if we could see some Wild Boar, he was very sceptical of the area we were in and didn't think we'd see any. About half an hour goes by as I stuck to my guns of said area being perfect, we heard a slight rustling and within 30 seconds were surrounded by Wild Boar. There were around 15 piglets maybe just a couple of weeks old and a few sows who knew we were there but accepted our respectful position of calmness.
Where is somewhere that you'd love to do wildlife photography and film making?
I'd love to travel to Australia to find and photograph/film the creepy crawlies and reptiles.
Any advice to budding wildlife photographers?
The best advice I can give for any budding wildlife photographers is to research the habitat and know your subject. Before entering an area you must know what species you may find and what the effects are of you being there. Always keep your legs covered in grassy areas and don't forget water. Use maps and plan your route if you don't know the area.
Below is 'Spring 2017 in the Forest of Dean', you can find more films and photography over on Forest Blood's Facebook page here.