The annual deer rut in Richmond Park this year was superb! Probably my most enjoyable ever.
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).
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.
I’ve not posted on here for quite some time (four months apparently, having checked my last post) and there’s a reason for that – a new venture that’s occupied a lot of my time over the past two or three months.
No, I didn’t manage to get one of my images as a magazine cover photo, it’s just that I instantly recognised the location where this image was taken:
After visiting an exhibition of images by talented Surrey based photographer Rachael Talibart, I was inspired to visit the Wey Navigation for a sunrise shoot. Visions of mist rolling over the water bathed in soft dawn light filled my head as I headed out early one morning a few days later. Turning off the A3 took me past Wisley Common where I noticed low lying mist through the trees, so it looked promising.
However, at the river the mist was hardly present, just a few thin swirls in small patches. So I headed back to Wisley Common, the draw of the mist being too great for a simple photographer to ignore.
This weekend, my wife and I traveled up to the Lake District for a family birthday party.
On the Saturday morning, I headed out before sunrise in the hope of catching some mist on Coniston. And boy, was it misty! Really foggy in fact, and I had to drive carefully.
It was so foggy, I missed the car park I was heading for (without realising at first) and ended up parked about 100 metres further along the road, and this put me away from the easy path to the lake. Because I headed off hurriedly in the general direction of Coniston, I became soaked from walking through waist high ferns!
I’ve recently returned from a trip to the Lake District. I spent a week in the Northern Lakes area, staying about a 15 minute drive north of Ullswater.
As I approached the lakes driving up the M6, I could see snow-capped mountains in the distance, and I could hardly contain myself with the anticipation of the week ahead.
Quickly checking in to my accommodation, I dumped my bags and headed straight out to Ullswater as there was only about 30 minutes until sunset. I wanted to grab a few shots and check out the location for sunrise the following morning.
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!
The story behind the shot:
For some time now I’ve enjoyed photographing at Pen Ponds in Richmond Park (see location map at the end of this post). It’s usually quiet around sunrise and weather conditions can be great in September.
The overnight weather forecast predicted clear skies and I knew from experience that this location might have some mist, so I decided to head out early the following morning.