#WexMondays - Roe Deer

30 July 2015

Each Monday Wex Photographic run a competition via Twitter, whereby you tweet one of your images from the past week using the #WexMondays hash tag. I try and enter one of my images each week, with last weeks image being that of the roe deer buck below.

Summer roe deer buck

Although I did not place in the top three images chosen by Wex, my image did receive a fair amount of favourites and comments by my peers on Twitter; and I was contacted by Sophie at Wex, asking if I would be interested in writing a blog post about my entry.

Why I Chose This Image

Although I had a mixture of seascape and wildlife images taken in the past week, I decided to enter this roe deer image, due to the work that goes into taking such a photograph, and it was taken in very nice late evening light.

Where The Shot Was Taken

The shot was taken just outside of the RSPB Bempton reserve in East Yorkshire. I first started photographing the roe deer here toward the end of spring, when I first noticed them grazing in the field of red campion, and have been returning here on various mornings and evenings since.

How I Got The Shot

It was a lovely evening as I headed over to Bempton in search of the roe deer. Since I first photographed them at the end of May among the red campion, they have moved on to another location as the area has become overgrown in long grasses. I have therefore had to try and find where they spend their mornings and evenings, so have gone on a couple of scouting sessions beforehand.

As I made my way down the side of the field where the red campion had been previously, I could see some movement at the edge of a distant field; so stopped walking and crouched down. At this point I could have done with some binoculars, however had to use the camera, and lo and behold there was a female (doe) roe deer.

I decided not to move at this point, as although I was some distance away, there was a good chance she would be off if I started moving again.

Watching through the camera, a male (buck) appeared next to her, and at that point my heart started pounding even faster with excitement.

Moments later I decided to start moving again, whilst stopping every now and again to check them through the camera, and to also stop myself being spotted. All was good so I continued on.

As I got to the field I spotted them in I couldn't see them, however was on the opposite side of the field at this point. I thought that either they had spotted me at some point and had run away, or were unaware of my presence and simply going about their business on the other side of the field.

I therefore decided to move round to the edge of the field where I initially spotted them. As I got round I spotted the doe, so quickly crouched down again; and watching through the camera it appeared that she had not spotted me.

As I continued down the edge of the field stopping occasionally again, I could see the buck moving further away from me. At this point there was a slight bend to the edge of the field, so I lost sight of them.

Now, I really must have been so quiet, as shortly after going round the bend, I was almost on top of them as they were simply lying on the ground at the edge of the field. Understandably we were all startled, and they quickly got up and headed into the field. As happens a lot they stopped in the field and looked at me, and I managed to get a couple of shots before they ran off and disappeared into the distance.

Equipment/Settings Used

My setup for wildlife photography starts off with the Canon EOS 1DX, which allows me to fire up to 12 frames per second when shooting in RAW. A possible downside is that the shutter on this camera is not the quietest, and can spook the animals. On the flipside it can also make the subject look straight at you (and even come towards you), as has happened with barn owls on several occasions. For this particular shot I used the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II lens, with a Canon EF 1.4x III extender, giving me a focal length of 700mm.

With the lovely warm summer evening light, I was able to use a reasonably low ISO of 400, which gave me a shutter speed of 1/800 sec at f/5.6. I could have gone for a lower ISO of 200 or even 100, which would have given me a shutter speed of 1/200 sec; however there is always a chance of getting some action shots for which a higher shutter speed would have been required.

Difficulty Rating

I would say that the difficulty of getting this shot, as can be with a lot of wildlife is 8/10, if not higher. There have been many times when I have gone out to photograph the roe deer and not come away with a single image, as they have not been in that location; so getting just one image from a session makes the time and effort all the worthwhile.

When I started photographing the roe deer at the end of last year, it was the first time I had attempted this, so I am still learning about their behaviour, movement patterns, and how to stalk them. As I continue to do this the difficulty rating will no doubt come down, and I will hopefully come away with even more images to add to my portfolio.

Keywords: roe, deer, buck, mammal, nature, wildlife, summer

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