Stalk a stag

Pho­tograph­ing deer means long lenses and plenty of pa­tience. James Pater­son goes stalk­ing…

NPhoto - - Contents -

Dis­cover the tech­niques and kit you need to cap­ture pho­tos of elu­sive wild deer

the mis­sion

Pho­to­graph deer in a deer park, sanc­tu­ary or in the wild

time needed

Three hours

skill level

Any­one can do it Some tricky as­pects Ad­vanced tech­nique

Kit needed

A long lens (around 400mm is ideal) Nikon D-SLR Tri­pod Mono­pod

Cap­tur­ing wildlife is a chal­lenge on sev­eral lev­els. It’s a test of your pa­tience, ded­i­ca­tion and, if you have a big lens, even your arm mus­cles. But it’s a chance to ob­serve beau­ti­ful crea­tures be­hav­ing nat­u­rally, and per­se­ver­ance can be re­warded with pho­tos to be proud of.

There’s al­ways an el­e­ment of luck in­volved in wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy, as you can never be sure that the an­i­mals will play ball, but with per­se­ver­ance you can make your own luck. Wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers will visit the same lo­ca­tion time and time again, wait­ing for the right mo­ment when an­i­mal, light and com­po­si­tion all come to­gether to cre­ate the per­fect shot.

It pays to be up and in po­si­tion very early, as deer ac­tiv­ity is usu­ally most in­tense just after dawn. Of course, this is of­ten also one of the best times of the day for light, es­pe­cially if you’re lucky enough to get the magic com­bi­na­tion of morn­ing sun­light and low-ly­ing mist. Wild deer get spooked eas­ily, so stay down­wind, wear dark clothes and keep quiet. Al­ter­na­tively, head to a deer sanc­tu­ary or park where the an­i­mals are used to peo­ple. Here you can usu­ally get in closer or use ded­i­cated view­ing ar­eas.

There is al­ways an el­e­ment of luck in­volved in wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy, as you can never be sure that the an­i­mals will play ball, but with per­se­ver­ance you can make your own luck

Spot­ted! Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8G ED VR, 1/1000 sec, f/8, ISO1600

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