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Low-Key Nature Photography: Fluffy Creatures

Ah, the Fluffy Boys edition of my low-light animal portrait series. I don't think I need to say too much here - I'm sure you get it. I'm into low-key portraits of animals against black backgrounds and I have a long-running "On Black" project featuring all kinds of animals in this style. Over the years I've photographed everything from elephants to cockroaches. Today it's the turn of the cute and the fluffy.

Anyone who knows me would agree I'm not normally into 'cute' animals. But I like these because the images present a series of contradictions; an aesthetic that's serious but light-hearted, and a style that's a combination of classic and contemporary portraiture. I quite like exploring where two opposing notions meet.


Fluffy white rabbit, side on, against a black background
Fluffy White Bunny (Side)

Rabbits are another species new to my portfolio, and presented an enjoyable challenge. Above, he almost looks like some made up creature, such are the adorable proportions of the features.

Below, looking more serious but with that fluff it's hard to really be imposing!

a fluffy white rabbit against a black background
Fluffy White Bunny (front)

I like to think he's channelling his inner-lion. Or maybe the rabbit from Monty Python.

Next, this grey rabbit poses very nicely. He's all business...

Grey rabbit, sitting up for a head shot in the classic low-key portrait style
Grey Rabbit

Nope, he's cute too:

Grey Rabbit (Standing) against a black background
Grey Rabbit (Standing)

Guinea Pig

Wow, what a gift! - A black animal on a black background. My absolute favourite combo.

A very thoughtful-looking black guinea pig on a black background.
Black Guinea Pig
A black guinea pig, photographed in low-key lighting, for this atmospheric portrait.
Black Guinea Pig (Side)

Another slightly comical portrait, as this black guinea pig emerges from the darkness, eating green leaf
Black Guinea Pig (Eating)

Harvest Mouse

It's hard to communicate the size of a harvest mouse if you haven't seen one before. They're so tiny. But they're good fun too, and always inquisitive, which makes for a good photo.

Square crop of a harvest mouse, photographed in low-key portrait style.
Harvest Mouse

Here he uses that tail to balance as he adjusts his footing.

A harvest mouse climbing a thin tree branch, photographed in low-key portrait style.
Harvest Mouse

So nimble, they can clamber around on the end of plants and flowers with relative ease. Here he's at home on the end of a wooden twig.

A harvest mouse balances on top of a thin tree branch, photographed in low-key portrait style
Harvest Mouse

I'm really pleased with these photos. I'm not sure the rabbits could have gone much better. The guinea pig and harvest mouse were tougher, requiring closer lenses, and presenting more of a lighting-challenge, working at this small scale. So that's something for me to practice and improve on in future. For now, the rabbits have made it into my gallery, and sit well alongside my more exotic species.

Thanks to Teaching Talons for the access to these animals, which I photographed as part of an on-going project to photograph the full range of their species. There's more to come too.




Red Deer Roaring, photographed in black and white


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