An uninvited guest in the backyard

Many wildlife photographers love to travel to far-off places to capture animals the rest of us rarely see. But as Richard Peters proves, you don't even have to leave home to create amazing photographs and win big prize.


A photo of Richard Peters

Well, it is by no means easier to capture wildlife at home than in the wild. Some careful planning, creativity and the cooperation of the local wildlife are indispensable. Actually Peters has done great planning on focusing his attention on how light and composition can make any animal subject stand out as art. For the last year, he turned his attention to his own backyard and began experimenting with creative lighting and compositions that, when the animals finally decided to play along, were absolutely worth the nightly wait.

The hard work paid off with this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, in which one of his photos of a fox—or rather a fox's shadow—won the Urban category.


This award-winning photo was taken by pure accident but with an interesting lighting idea in mind. He had some lighting work done which is to place a torch in the kitchen, pointing out the window, so that he could see when the fox would visit at night.

One evening, it walked through the torch light and its shadow was cast on the side of the shed. As soon as he saw it, he captured the unique photo. He tried a couple of times over the months to capture the shadow on camera, without the fox in the frame. But it wasn't until six months after that initial idea that he finally captured the image.


A lot had to come together for the image to work! The sky needed to be clear, but with little to no moon (otherwise the moonlight would reduce the light of the stars during the long exposure), the exposure had to be set just right that it would record the sky and distant houses, but not let in too much light as then the shadow would fade away during the long exposure. Then, the fox had to walk past the camera at the right distance. Too near the camera and its shadow would be too big on the wall, too near the wall and the fox would be visible in the image. On top of that, the fox also had to be in a good pose, which was basically down to luck. The neighboring house light was an added bonus that really adds to the image.

As you can see, it required a lot of planning to capture the uniqueness of it.

Peters' portraits are also obsessed with natural light to create a deep sense of mood, of a portrait that is visually simple yet full of emotion. Silhouettes and rim lighting are featured often in his portfolio. He always had a few preconceived ideas in his head for certain lighting situations so that when he was out shooting, be it local or overseas, he could always be in the right place.

Enjoy more of his works below.

(All photographs by Richard Peters.)