Fallow Deer, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

Due to a rather busy diary, I haven’t found much time to go out wildlife shooting this year. I managed a short trip to the Hoge Veluwe in September to catch the rut, but that was about it. So I was happy to have some free time to pop off to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen this past weekend.

Around this time of the year the fallow deer at AWD are ready to start their rutting activities (Bronsttijd in dutch), and when you walk through the park you will hear the distinctive sound of their burling. Unfortunately it is often only the noise that you hear, and a lot of the deer remain out of sight in the dense woodland.

So I set out on Sunday, a little later than I had hoped, to try and find some deer willing to be photographed. The weather was clear and not cold, completely opposite to the weather forecast that had suggested the day would be a wash out, and I took a picnic along with me which I was able to eat under the trees.

Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, October 24th 2010

As usual, walking along the concrete roads in the AWD gives very few results, save for the occasional deer running in front of you, but if you take some of the pathways through the wood, your chances of meeting a herd of deer greatly improve. The deer I ‘met’ seemed to be making a lot of noise, but didn’t seem quite ready to rut just yet. Maybe if I plan another trip over there this weekend I will be luckier. I did come away with the picture in this blog post, of a young fallow deer, which I was happy with.

When I make these trips, I prefer to be mobile on foot, so the really big lenses stay at home. This time I took my D3, the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G VR, and mounted a tc-14e teleconverter to give me 420mm of focal length. Normally I will shoot from hand, but this time I used a monopod as the light was a bit lower. The shot posted here was shot at 1/320s @ f/4, iso1400. Just as a side note, although the deer in nature reserves are often more used to people, they are still easily startled. I always try to dress in a subdued manner (normally wearing camouflage) and stay down wind of the animals. That way I am able to sit and observe them for quite some time.

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