Rebecca Clark takes a walk on the wild side around Gloucestershire, UK, to photograph the local wildlife
We give our opinion on a reader’s shots of all creatures great and small taken on a country stroll
My first camera was a present for my 10th birthday, so I’ve been shooting from a young age, but I started taking it more seriously in my 20s when I bought a bridge camera, before upgrading to a Nikon D80. After shooting two weddings I upgraded to the D800, but after shooting my 10th wedding, I realized that this wasn’t the avenue of photography I wanted to go down, so I switched to nature photography. I sell greetings cards of my prints through local shops, but I also have photographs on display at a nearby gallery. My hope is to be a full-time professional photographer one day.
I struggle with capturing movement in my images, but love the challenge of capturing butterflies in flight, and it took me many hours before actually achieving a shot of them flying I was happy with . Achieving accurate focus, increasing the shutter speed to freeze the action and anticipating their movements were all areas that I found were challenging to get right.
I also feel I need more help with photographing in low-light conditions. I often struggle, but one evening I was heading home from a sunset walk in
Gloucestershire when I saw some rabbits at the top of the field, with the bright evening sky above them. I couldn’t expose for them without blowing out the sky, so Ithought if I shot from low down and exposed for the sky instead, it would make a good silhouette .
Often of the most challenging thing about wildlife photography is capturing an image before the animal disappears. It’s a lot different to weddings! For my final image
, of a roe buck munching on cow parsley, I didn’t rush over because I didn’t want to scare it off, and I managed to get a few shots before it wandered away.
Rebecca, your images are delightful and have a cheery, fun quality that transcends the quick snapshot many of us have tried when out on evening walks. Your butterfly shot  is by far our favourite image of the three you sent in. To the untrained eye it might seem like any other butterfly shot, but the technical expertise required to pull off this sort of image is considerable. Firstly, shooting up into the sky brings with it a whole host of exposure problems; you need to underexpose the clouds enough to not clip the highlights, but then you run the risk of underexposing your subject in the foreground. You’ve managed to overcome that here by shooting brightly coloured butterflies. Also, getting them in focus while in flight is an art form in itself. It seems you’ve pre-focused on the stationary butterfly and waited for another to fly in, which is the best way of achieving this kind of shot: no more chasing them around the field follow-focusing – you can just sit and wait for the shot to come to you.
Your decision to stay low and shoot the rabbits against the sky  was a great choice. You really worked with what you had and the colours in the
The most challenging thing about wildlife photography is capturing an image before the animal disappears. It’s a lot different to weddings!
sky are fantastic. The posing of the bunnies is also impeccably timed: if they were lying flat on the ground it would’ve been harder to discern their shapes against the grass. Finally, your shot of a roe buck
 is nicely timed; it feels like you’ve caught it mid-chew, with the grass sticking out of its mouth. You’ve managed to fill the frame with the animal using your 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens, and considering you shot it at a shutter speed of just 1/50 sec, it’s remarkably sharp! Normally we suggest using the law of reciprocals, so setting a minimum shutter speed of 1/600 sec for the 600mm focal length. Your ISO was set at 320, but on the D800 you could easily have pushed it to ISO1600 before noise became an issue. You must have very steady hands! Considering you shot it at a shutter speed of 1/50 sec, your image of a roe buck is remarkably sharp