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Stags are magnificent creatures that make for equally magnificent photographic opportunities. Quite majestic, yeah!

The key to working with guys like these red deer is maintaining a safe distance which means using typically a super-tele-zoom lenses (you will be working with a minimum of 300mm in so called full frame 35mm format so a zoom that goes out beyond the 300mm minimum is optimal) allowing for quick working between both group shots and individual shots as well. The golden rule is always put the welfare of your subject first so you need to be at least 50 metres away from your subject at all times thus your lenses must be able to give you that "reach" and beyond. 

Red deer are the powerhouse big beasts of stag world and, during the rutting season, are dangerous so must be accorded the respect they deserve. Thus a safe distance is not only for their benefit!

Remember that deer are wild animals and easily spooked. By watching their behaviour, so as not to disturb them by trying to approach too close, this will allow you compose some interesting pictures without stressing them and allow them to remain within their comfort zone. Win-win.

Although the large Red deer, The "Monarchs of the Glen", are probably the most iconic of the British species and the most photographed, the most prolific English deer are the Fallow. These are an elegant, medium sized deer, with a typically spotted coat. Stags have broad, palmate antlers as seen above.


Though they are smaller than red deer and with their spots (not all have spots mind you as colouring varies) look cute, they are just as wild as their Red cousins and deserve the same respect. From a safety point of view, during the rut, combat between stags can be just as bellicose and aggressive as the Reds.


Thus photographing deer can be rewarding and at times frustrating in equal measure but always a great wildlife experience in its own right and teaches you much about the countryside and native fauna in general. To get the best out of it have a look at The British Deer Society site.

✧ Jokul Frosti ✧

A space containing the thoughts, experiences, photos and collected curiosities of a walkabout photographer with a snapshot style.