I can’t believe it’s a year since the last time I visited Richmond Park in London to photograph the annual Red Deer rut.
It’s quite an experience wandering through parks such as Richmond during the rutting season and before the sun comes up. Spookily quiet with only the distant roars of stags (Jurassic Park springs to mind!). Sticking to the main road arteries while it’s dark would always be my advice for obvious reasons and you’re also quite often reassuringly, passed by park warden vehicles.
And when you do start to see deer they’re often just dark outlines against a cold colourless backdrop . . .
I usually prefer to wait for a certain set of natural conditions before making my way up from Kent. In order to attempt to create images of Red Deer with a certain amount of atmospheric presence. I like it when the early morning temperatures start to fall below 4 degrees Celsius (lower would be even better) and for a cloudless sky at sunrise lasting for at least an hour afterwards.
I didn’t witness as much aggressiveness this year (maybe I’m too late – harems already seem to be in place), just a lot of roaring and strutting. So, no fighting shots.
With it being such a nice morning it wasn’t long before I was joined by likeminded photographers, at least 25 in my immediate vicinity . . .
I’m just waiting for the ideal conditions once more, hopefully before the rut ends, to make the trip again . . .