Quod oculus meus videt

By GrahamColling

Do you like my Headgear?

Well, that was a surprise.  I went out first thing to capture sunrise at Pelsall North Common and came back without a single sunrise photo!  I was walking towards a location I'd planned when I noticed a young red deer stag staring at me on the path ahead.  It was still quite dark and my initial thought was not to bother trying to capture an image; after all experience told me it would soon show its rear end to me and disappear.

But he didn't!  In fact he quite brazenly stared me down to the point where I did stop and change lenses.  I still wasn't very hopeful.  I had to crank the ISO up to 3200 initially, then changed to the 40-150mm f2.8 to try and collect as much light as possible.  It became apparent he had a partner with him, another young stag.  I moved off to the side and waited.  It was evident they weren't going anywhere.  I watched and waited, seeing what they would do.  

It was then this deer started thrashing in the undergrowth, coming up with this oak branch on his head.  It was a comical site, particularly when he tried to shake it off.  Unfortunately that was just a blur, just check the shutter speed!  I'd realised by then that this was behaviour associated with the rut.  I was mindful I was close and in the open.  For deer that are usually very wary of humans their behaviour suggested they were emboldened by the hormones coursing through their veins.  

I spent about 40 minutes watching and photographing them.  They had two mock fights in that time.  I'm sure they were just practising as there were no hinds around.  I was able to dial down the ISO later in the time I was there.  It was really quite enthralling to watch.  We aren't as fortunate as some who present deer photographs on here.  These have not got used to human presence and normally I can only take reasonable photographs with my longest lens.

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