Stags and silhouettes
I was sat at home on Saturday not feeling 100% and looked at the weather forecast for Sunday, a clear cold night with a sunny day was forecast over London, these are the conditions I was hoping for last year when I went to photograph Red deer at Richmond park but unfortunately it never quite worked out like that.
I spoke to Rob Cross and we decided to make the trip in the early hours and see if we could get some silhouette shots of the deer at the sunrise. Rob spoke to Neil Neville and as he was also going the following day with a friend of his Dean Mason, we arranged to meet at his Buckinghamshire home and travel in together.
At 6.45am we were in the car park of Richmond Park and were introduced to Dean, there was a thick mist and a frost on the ground, perfect conditions for what we were after. Within a few minutes we could see our first stag protecting his Hinds from any other males that may have felt brave enough to take over his harem. The sun was not quite up and focusing through the thick mist had to be done manually as we took our first shots of the day. We could see a faint orange glow on the horizon as the sun was rising and it would only be a matter of minutes before we could shoot towards the sun and get the Stag in silhouette, the light was almost perfect and the ISO was dropping quickly as I focused on the animal in front of us. Suddenly he was bellowing and started to move towards another stag which he felt threatened by. At this stage we could not see the the other stag but could clearly hear him, soon our Stag was out of sight as it disappeared deeper into the thick mist to chase off this intruder, we waited for his return but once his hinds started to follow him we quickly realised this was not going to be the opportunity we had hoped for.
We listened out for more vocal stags and could see the silhouettes of a few other photographers in the distance so we rapidly made our way towards them hoping that they had one in view. As we got nearer we could see our quarry so we quickly got into a position where we could get the stag clear of the trees that were in the background and use the orangey glow from the rapidly rising sun together with the mist to our advantage. This glorious light did not last too long but long enough for us all to manage some nice shots.
Another really enjoyable day in the company of three great photographers and friends, we even saw a bit of rutting which was a first for me which rounded the day off nicely.
Sounds like a superb morning Steve........if you fancy stopping off briefly on the way next time, give me a shout ;-D
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