When I worked on a small deer series in 2018, I was fascinated by these beautiful animals with their filigree nature. My "success rate" was absolutely lousy, I often came home without a picture.
At that time I had planned to photograph mammals more often in the future. This did not really work out last year, but I was able to realize some special bird projects then.
This year, however, I am quite satisfied with this project so far: already the series about squirrels in spring worked out well and between mid-May and the end of June I was able to realize another deer series.
For this I did 2 things above all: researched a good "route" and also acquired some theory about the behaviour of the animals. I would like to explain what I mean by "route" - a little "deep dive" for photographers 😉.
Two years ago I tried a lot of things regarding a good camouflage (camouflage scarves, capes etc.) and came to the conclusion that only the photography from the car and from the camouflage tent works really well. Of course you can always be lucky when "stalking" 😉 or hiking, but in my opinion you have a really good image yield in the long run and a natural behaviour of the animals only from a "Hide".
Finally, I tried to find potential places in the Siegerland and Bergisches Land - with a beautiful natural meadow where deer are used to cars and where you can stand at the edge of a forest or meadow. The face still had to be camouflaged or at least hidden.
The first two times I drove to the far Siegerland at places I know, but last time I found some suitable places within a 10-30km radius of my new home and drove them in the morning. Don't get it wrong: I don't have to drive 10km for the next deer, I even saw one here in Ennepetal from my living room couch on our meadow 😉. But for a good picture several factors are decisive than just the presence of the animal - the habitat, the background, disturbing elements, possible shooting angles etc.
Sitting in the car I only stayed longer at one place if a deer showed up within 10 minutes at all in the distance. I have made good experiences, if one drives off the same places otherwise rather 30 minutes later again instead of waiting too long at one place. A procedure, which is of course not possible with many animal species. But this worked out well with deer, as you hopefully can see in the series and in the last 4 tours I had a good photo opportunity every time.
What I already noticed in 2018: in the evening I am rarely lucky. On an overcast morning, for example, they stayed in the meadows up to four hours after sunrise. In the evening I usually did not see them until one hour before sunset at the earliest. Not very good, because early in the morning in summer of course meant that the alarm clock rang at 4.00 am at the latest.
Since I also get questions about technology via social media again and again, I'll anticipate that: all pictures were taken with 840mm focal length at open aperture on my Nikon d850 (Nikon 600 fl plus 1.4 tele converter). Iso was mostly set to 1.250. Most of the pictures are still cropped, from about 45 to 33-40 mp each. A simple bean bag with SP plastic granulate served as a support. So much for the technique.
So here is the first part of my series, on the second one I'm working until about mid-August, until I'm starting again with landscape photography (in the heather blossom).
And now I hope you like the series and have a lot of fun with it!