06:30am: It was time to drive from Oxford to Ross-on-Wye to photograph a driven pheasant shoot

It was a beautiful drive in the early morning light, passing the Malvern Hills, eventually arriving in Ross-on-Wye, secretly hoping to see Richard Hammond on his commute. Soon I arrived at Bishopswood House which sits virtually on the welsh border. It’s 1000 acre estate was just stunning. It covered all the types of drives you’d expect to have in the valleys. The first drive was open and steep. These sort of drives are the best for game-shooting photography as I can shoot right down the line of guns as they shoot the high birds from the bottom of the valley.

Spinger Spaniel retrieving a cock bird pheasant on a driven shoot

It was 2 degrees and I was lying on the frosty ground to get the best perspective, but I managed to get some great shots of the guns and the small army of Springer Spaniels that were doing an excellent job picking up behind the scenes.

Happy Springer Spaniel gun dog amongst the ferns

The next few drives were in amongst the trees, making life a little more tricky to photograph as it becomes more cluttered with all the branches around, however from a non-photography point of view, these drives are exciting as the birds come from all over the place and very very quickly.

After lunch, the scenery just got better and better as the low winter light peaked through the last remaining autumnal colours on the trees. It just made for an amazing landscape to shoot and photograph in.

guns picking pegs on a Driven pheasant shoot in Ross-on-Wye
Guns shooting a high bird
The orange plumage of the Cock pheasant in the early morning light
John Alexander
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