Setting out in the footsteps of Thomas Heaton, we headed to the Peak District last week. Driving through the Devil’s Arse on Winnats Pass it was clear that the sunset was going to be fantastic, but we just needed to find a spot to photograph it. Winnats Pass didn’t seem the right place. It was my first time in the Peak District and Winnats Pass is a beautiful scene, but a sunrise scene. The sun rising and flooding the Pass with light would make a wonderful photograph.

We continued up to Mam Tor, and were gifted with a snow scattered landscape. However, we had a problem with the wind! It was far too windy for the tripod, which meant long exposures were out of the question. I decided to use the 85mm lens and look for subjects within the landscape. Having achieved to get very cold in the wind and snow we were still 40 minutes away from sunset and so set out again in search of the best/highest spot we could. Our biggest problem with where we were was the fact we were on the wrong side of the peaks for sunset; basically we were in shadow! So we headed out to get on the other side so we could see the sun!

We ended up at Hathersage and the aptly named Surprise View Car Park. I’d arrived to photograph a sunset and I ended up doing wildlife photography! Don’t get me wrong, the sunset was beautiful – hampered slightly by the wind – but walking up to the rock formations I noticed 3 deers. Having never been that close to such beautiful animals I completely focused on photographing them. I’m very glad that I did. As I said, I was using an 85mm lens so I had to get very close to get the images I wanted. And so I proceeded to get as close as I dared whilst attempting to capture the silhouettes in the fading light. I’m not sure, but if I’d wanted to I could have gotten a lot closer – the deer were clearly very used to being around humans. But I kept a respectful distance.

I’m very pleased with the silhouettes that I got. Unfortunately the deer didn’t blow out any breath, as that would have made a fantastic photograph. I can fully recommend taking a trip to Surprise View Car Park and having a wander. Just keep an eye out for antlers in the heather.