All Geared Up For The Autumn Rut

Red Deer Stag – ISO 1000; 50-140mm + 1.4x TC; f/4; 1/280 sec (click image to view larger size)

It’s that time of year again when the male deer are looking magnificent ahead of the autumn rut (breeding season).

As usual, I’ve been out in Richmond Park a few times over the last couple of weeks, getting “in the zone” so to speak, with my photography. I always like to get in some practise before the main event, making sure my equipment is functioning and my technique is on the ball (steadiness, focusing, that sort of thing).

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Funzing Photo Walk

I was very lucky yesterday to have an enthusiastic young lady attend one of the photo walks I’ve recently been advertising on the Funzing website. This one was held in Richmond Park.

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Snow!

This stag has recently lost one of his antlers, the other will also drop off soon. With red deer, this happens naturally around the end of winter and they take until July to regrow.

Snow is scarce in southern Britain. Checking through my archives, it’s been around eight years since I captured images in a decent snowfall. So I was excited when the “Beast from the East” (a Siberian weather system heading our way) was forecast to bring us unusually heavy snow.

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The Rut

This fight was over in about 5 seconds!

This is a short post purely to share some images.

I’ve spent several mornings in Richmond Park over the last six weeks or so, mainly to photograph the deer during the autumn rut – the time of year when red deer stags and fallow deer bucks fight for dominance and the right to mate with the female hinds and does respectively.

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Back off!

Back Off! – ISO 200; 196mm; f/4; 1/800 sec (click image to view larger size)

A couple of us were enjoying photographing some red deer towards the end of a photo walk in Richmond Park when I took the image above.

We’d had dull conditions to start, no sign of the sun at sunrise, quite windy and a heavy downpour during which we had to shelter under the trees, but the sun appeared eventually giving us some better light. There had been a lot of deer activity with this being the Autumn rut – plenty of bellowing and running back and to, with the larger stags fending off the younger males who were trying marauding tactics, running into the group of hinds to try and split them up and take a few away, some with success but mostly not. The odd hind slipped away by themselves, tempted by the bellowing and strutting of another male nearby, who would quickly run over to round her up.

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Deer Photography – Part 1: Stealth

Red deer stag with spring antler growth – 140mm with 1.4x extender (196mm equivalent); ISO 400; 1/950 sec; f/4 (click image to view larger size)

Over the past few years, I’ve photographed the deer in Richmond Park on many occasions, so I thought I’d write some articles that may provide useful information to other photographers who might be interested.

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Butterflies at RHS Wisley

 

Giant Owl (Caligo telamonius memnon) – ISO 1600; 60mm macro; f/2.8; 1/160 sec (click image to view larger size)

This week I paid a visit to the RHS gardens at Wisley in Surrey, where up to 6000 butterflies will be flying around inside the glasshouse. Officially opening on Saturday 14th January, I went a few days early after a tip from a fellow camera club member that they would be in place before the opening and hopefully not so busy. It certainly was fairly quiet and they may not have had all 6000 in flight, as I imagine most are still to be released into the glasshouse, but there were enough to provide a challenge at photographing them!

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In search of deer … and light!

Stag or Stick?

Stag or Stick? – 135mm; ISO 400; 1/25 sec; f/5.6 (click image to view larger size)

One evening last week I took a stroll with my camera in Richmond Park, hoping to find deer in a pleasing woodland setting with some nice late sunlight. It was a venture destined with failure!

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