Fog can actually be a welcome weather condition, and since England this morning was almost as foggy as this article I decided to seek out some deer, knowing that the fog, haze and mist would add a little atmosphere to the images.
We may not have the elk or the moose of Colorado but one thing we have in abundance is deer, and red deer especially can be mighty and regal. The rutting season has started so the males are actively grunting and duelling to keep possession of their harems. Ah, what a life (bit like my life, really, but with less grunting).
Of course I won’t presume to try and educate anyone about wildlife photography, there are eminently more qualified guys on the PL team for that. I’m just a simpleton who likes taking pictures. I’m not a fan of early morning starts either but I dragged, nay hauled, myself out of bed, grumbling and cursing into my car in the dark of early morning and asking her to cut through the impossible fog.
With autumnal colour still piercing through I knew finding the deer in the fog wouldn’t be a problem; their loud grunts and calls made them easy to locate. And they were as majestic as ever. I had photographed deer, both red and fallow, during previous autumns and winters but these shots are all from this most recent endeavour.
Far from obscuring the shot, fog can lend mood and emotion to a scene. Sometimes there is as much revealed in what you don’t see. Having said that, on this occasion I used the fog more as a backdrop to the deer, conveniently obscuring their background to help isolate and emphasise them. Sadly, sunlight was sorely lacking so not much happened in the way of low, early morning backlighting. That was the one missing element.
All the images were taken with the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 with the MC-14 teleconverter attached, and mostly at the widest possible aperture of F/4.0 where the combination is still surprisingly sharp. I shot in aperture priority and let the camera pick the shutter speed which, tied to a maximum ISO of 1600, was always plenty fast. And that’s about as sophisticated as my set up and equipment get – just a guy in his boots with a camera and one lens. Sorry I can’t regale you with a ton of accessories. I had a couple of other lenses with me in a tiny backpack but frankly I just couldn’t be bothered to take this lens off, save for one brief interlude photographing some water droplets on a spider web. That shot was taken with the Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro lens.
The deer are probably used to people wandering around their territory but I still maintained a respectful distance, crouching in the freezing wet grass. Having the zoom allowed me to do that.
I also managed to shoot a few other wildlife species.
Well, anyway, I’m reasonably satisfied with how they turned out. Even if they don’t teach you anything I hope they’ll encourage you to go out shooting (deer or not), even in inclement weather. Cherish that fog!