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The red deer rut in Derbyshire.

Over the years I have photographed red deer in many places from the well known deer parks such as Bradgate to the mountains of Scotland. Oddly though, I have a burgeoning population on my doorstep yet have never given them much attention with my camera until this year.

Red deer in Derbyshire have been around for hundreds of years but in the last couple of decades they have started to gain a firm hoof hold on some of my local moors close to Sheffield. These deer are, as far as I can gather, not culled so proportions of stags to hinds are as they should be.

They are also true wild reds, and whilst they do see walkers regularly, they are nothing like as approachable as those I have worked in deer parks. 

I decided to devote a couple of weeks visiting the moors every morning earlier this month. Here the rut was well underway by the beginning of October. I could stalk them and I did manage to get close to quite a few with my 500 lens but because I loved the light and environment these deer live in I made a conscious effort to try to produce a different set of images to any I had done before.

The habitat, size of the deer in my view finder and light all seemed to suggest that a letterbox approach would work well. As with many projects repeated visits often mean that the odd day can produce something a little different and on one such day the full moon hanging over the horizon before sunrise screamed out for a stag bellowing below it. When I processed these images I was amazed at how large the moon seemed in scale to the deer, yet both are photographed with the same lens from the same place.