Michael Rammell

An Audience With The Deer At Richmond Park

Nature, WildlifeMichael RammellComment

I've been working extremely hard on the Ready, Steady Podcast recently meaning the blog has been somewhat neglected. I've got 6 posts almost-finished, just needing some last minute attention so that they can be published. So, keep an eye out for some exciting upcoming projects and photowalk photographs here on the blog.

I've got a review of the Drobo 5D coming up, i share my thoughts on the cliche that is 'That's a wonderful camera, it must take great photographs' comment,  I talk about why photographers won't (and shouldn't) give clients ALL of the photographs they take. I'm just putting the finishing touches to my FREE eBook, entitled 'The Wedding Day Planning Guide' - 3 tips to help your big day run smooth. I've also got a series of photographs to share from Donna Nook, where Neil Graham and I went to photograph the grey seals. On top of that I've got a whole batch of photographs from the Guild of Photographers London Street Walk / Photography Meetup.

That all is of course, in addition to the podcast that I record and produce on a weekly basis for public consumption AND weddings that I'm shooting. So, as you can imagine, I'm busy at the moment.

Oh, and I have an exciting project coming in the new-year that I'm calling 'The Art of Expression'. But for now that's top secret and I don't want to reveal too much.

So, Onto This Weeks Post

Back in September (Yes, that's how far behind I am with blogging) Neil Graham from NeilGrahamPhotography.com and I took a trip to one of our favourite places for a walk, some banter and a bit of photography: Richmond Park.

We always seem to strike it luck there, either finding large herds that don't run off, or being able to get very close to Stags to get some beautifully detailed photographs.

Well this trip was no exception and it seems that Neil and I just have way with the Animals.

I'll keep the writing for this blog post short and just talk about each photograph just a little bit:

Not long after parking up and walking into the ferns, where we usually find the stags grazing in the morning light with their herds we stumbled across one heard all relaxing and grazing in a small clearing amongst the ferns. As soon as the heard spotted Neil and I all but one of them darted off into the bush to never ben seen again. Not this Stag though. He decided to stay and stand his ground. Not that Neil or I were being confrontational or aggressive at all though. We sat back for a long time, always keeping something between the stag and ourselves, whether it was a tree or a fern or something else.

A few times this Stag decided to give off a shout, just to remind us who was the Alpha male and who's patch we were on.

Neil and I remained passive for a long time. I'd actually sat down at this point and was just watching the Stag graze and enjoy a leisurely Sunday Morning. After a short while though the Crows that were at first on the ground, picking up scraps and anything else they could find, found the confidence to jump onto the Stag's back and hitch a ride. The Stag himself didn't seem to mind them being there either. Someone suggested over on the Martin Bailey Photography Community on Google+ that there could be a mutual relationship between the two species and that the crows could in fact be picking things off of the Stags back or something?

Although the Stag didn't seem to mind the Crows being there, there was a feeling that the Crows were a little nervous and twitchy about standing on the Deer's back. Each time he'd move or turn the crows would jump down or fly off for a minute before coming back. That is of course except one Crow who was clearly far more brave that the others. The Crow you see here (above), seemed very confident and remained perched on the Deer's back for quite a long time. Again, Neil and I were still sitting back at this point, just watching the Deer do his thing and the Crow go about his business. 

One of the disadvantages of being a photographer, I will admit, is you're nearly always the one making the photographs and never really tend to appear in many. It's for that reason that when I go out on a walk with another photography I do quite like to capture some of them in action too. It's something I do very often. Here, in this little slideshow above you can See that Neil was trying, ever-so carefully to edge closer to the Stag without disturbing it. I decided to catch the moment. You can see in the last few frames that as Neil got as close as he dare and posed for a few photographs the Stag once again set about reminding us (well, Neil) who the boss was and let off a rather loud shout. Needless to say Neil jumped...a little but...as you can see in the final shot of this above gallery :). 

So we got to a point where we thought it was only fair to leave that Stag well alone now. He was kind enough, and confident enough to allow us nice and close and stuck around for some photographs, rather than heading into the bush with the rest of his herd. On the way back however we stumbled across a smaller herd containing some beautiful albino fawns. They were very skittish though and ran away any time we got to within a distance to make a decent photograph. Whilst squatting down, trying to remain relatively incognito I spotted this huge Mushroom! Having my 70-200 L IS USM f/2.8 MKII on with Extender meant that I'd have to swap lenses, which is something I wasn't keen on doing in such long and wet grass. So, I made the best of the situation and gear configuration I had and snapped this shot of the mushroom. Good fun!

Having failed to stalk the Albino fawns in the smaller herd we've come across, and having had so much luck already with the Stag you've already seen, we decided to head back to the car and call it a day. On the way back though there were more confident Stags hanging around, playing the Alpha  Male.

We stopped again for some photographs. This time there were two Stags. I got low down to the ground for this one and shot upward to give a regal and more majestic feel to the stags.Of the two stags that we'd come across on the way back to the car, only one was brave enough (or, stupid enough) to stick around for some photographs. I had to time this one well as there were runners in the background, constantly going. The Deer wasn't patient, but we really needed him to be do we could make some photographs.

I sat on the ground and watched this one graze for a while.

Whether or not he's poking out his tongue, or, just licking his lips I don't know. But i got the moment on camera anyway.

Of the two stags that we'd come across on the way back to the car, only one was brave enough (or, stupid enough) to stick around for some photographs. I had to time this one well as there were runners in the background, constantly going. The Deer wasn't patient, but we really needed him to be do we could make some photographs.

I sat on the ground and watched this one graze for a while.

Whether or not he's poking out his tongue, or, just licking his lips I don't know. But i got the moment on camera anyway.



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