For years now, I’ve wanted to teach myself wildlife photography, and more specifically I’ve wanted to take some amazing photographs of wild deer. I mean, it’s great going to Longleat and feeding them from your car but those deer are very used to people and flock to you for food. What I wanted was deer in the wild, and that’s a much bigger challenge.
I often walk my dog in a lovely bit of woodland which is part of the Badminton Estate in South Gloucestershire, which has a fair few deer living in it and is a great spot for wildlife photography. The problem is, it’s rare to find one here and if you do, it’s usually hiding in some brambles and trying not to be seen by the dozens of people and dogs that walk here every day. No matter what I tried (early mornings, late evenings, sitting in wait where I normally see them roaming), I could get anywhere near close enough to get a decent shot. That all changed, however, when I found a new walking spot.
I found a new place to walk, just outside of Yate, near Bristol. To get to it, you had to walk through a couple of livestock fields which I thought would put off most dog walkers. Thankfully, my dog doesn’t quite know what to make of big animals and just kind of stands there staring at them in disbelief. So we headed through the livestock and ended up at some woodland. Through the woods, we came to a series of maybe 10 fields. And there, just over the fence to our right was this beautiful stag. It was early in the morning, at around 7am so I assume he was out looking for breakfast.
He noticed us almost straight away, and Luna (my dog) noticed him. They stared at each other for a few second before he went about his business and kept foraging for food. I was lucky enough to get about 10 minutes to shoot him before he headed off somewhere else. I’m hoping that this spot remains less travelled by people so I can head back with a longer lens (although these were taken with a 400mm lens, so I possibly need an extender) in order to get some beautiful close up portraits of him. We did try to get a bit closer, but I think he felt safer with the hedgerow separating us.
All of these images were shot on a Canon 5DIII with a Canon 100-400mm L lens. Various shutter speeds and apertures were used. All images are copyright of Lencraft Photography.