Dane's blood
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine|June 2021
Hertfordshire: The county of opportunity. At least, that’s the tag line on the signs…
Tom Mason

Having grown up here, that slogan has always been a bit of a local in-joke, with the vastly overpriced housing market and a lack of, well, anything really. It’s not the most visually exciting location, especially in contrast to the battered coasts, rugged mountains, lonely moors, impressive wetlands, or diverse woodlands of other regions of the UK. Hertfordshire wouldn’t have been my first choice growing up as a wildlife photographer, but over the past few months, locked down where it all started for me, I’m growing fonder of my home county.

It’s 5 am and the alarm is ringing. My eyes flicker open as I scrabble around for the noise in the dark, then reaching across for my glasses on the side, before creeping downstairs. Bag and tripod packed ready, I knock back a quick cuppa and bowl of granola. It doesn’t matter how early it is, I can’t leave without eating! It’s cold out, and throwing on a thin jumper for the short few steps to the car, it’s surprisingly chilly. Perfect conditions, as I scrape off the ice from the windscreen under the stars. A short drive later, bag on my back, I’m racing the light to the side of a hill I’ve been planning to visit for a while, searching for the blood of Danes…

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