Updated: Feb 27
I photographed this reindeer in the snow-covered landscape of Lapland, Finland. I'm really pleased with the result. It's another high-key portrait, and part of my "On White" project.
What I like most about this shot is the feeling of movement. When I photograph deer, I tend to prefer them stood still, but this photo captures the essence of reindeer and their instinct to stay on the move all the time. I love the tension created by the back leg being clipped from the frame as the subject walks into the scene, acknowledging the viewer, whilst ever on the move. And the icing on the cake is the eye contact. It shows an awareness of me and the camera, and complicity for this portrait, which he appears happy to star in.
I took this photo on a frozen winter morning, with the temperature around -12°C. Reindeer are an incredible species, that can tolerate much colder temperatures without the layers of fleece, wool, and down feathers I was wrapped in. Their large hooves spread their weight, to prevent them from sinking into the snow with each step. Tendons in their ankles click as they walk, to help the herd stay together during the long hours of darkness in the northern wilderness. Also known as 'caribou' in North America, reindeer migrate in herds of tens or hundreds of thousands, between remote mountains in the summer, and lowland forests in the winter, creating one of the most incredible spectacles in nature. Here in Europe, reindeer are central to the culture of the Sámi people of Lapland, who have relied on them for thousands of years.