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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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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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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The day I became a wildlife photographer **

Autumn in the woods

Autumn in the Woods – (ISO 400; 250mm; f/6.7; 1/350 sec)

The day was October 2nd 2011. I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Which is strange, as quite often I can’t remember what I was doing yesterday!

It started off just like any other photography outing. I was in Richmond Park before sunrise, a routine I had become well accustomed to.

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Bellow in the mist

Bellow in the mist

Bellow in the mist – 300mm; ISO 100; 1/90 sec; f/11 (click image to view larger size)

Richmond Park is a wonderful location, especially in the autumn when the Red Deer rut is on. I’m sure most wildlife photographers would admit that the combination of rutting deer, mist and soft dawn light is definitely a winner!

On the morning I captured this image, the mist was so thick you could not see the deer. Luckily there was plenty of bellowing, so following the sound I knew I would find them easily enough. The hard part was avoiding walking into them!

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