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The rut in Sheffield

When I look back at this years photography I seem to have been really busy, yet I guess I think that every year. During the summer I have spent a lot of time working with the badgers that visit my garden (and wreak havoc!), a couple of weeks as a volunteer with the Derbyshire badger vaccination programme and more recently with  the South West Peak Partnerships ‘Crayfish in Crisis’ project. Blogs of all these will follow shortly.

I have also just received my latest book, ‘The Art of Fungi Photography’ from the printers and which is now on sale via this website.

However, the purpose of this blog is to share my few mornings with the red deer during the rut on the moors close to where I live. Clear mornings seemed at a bit of a premium this year but when they were promised I headed out before dawn each day.

Unlike park deer, you can’t simply walk up to them, and I guess their behaviour is far more natural. The number of stags is far higher than in a park and many never seem able to acquire a harem. Many females almost seem unaffected by the bellows and antics of the males and simply wander across the moor where their fancy takes them.

Over the years I have produced many images of red deer and each year I tend to review these and try to decide what type of images I now want to work on. Generally this has dictated dawn light and often silhouettes against moody skies or mist filled valleys. However, if a deer walks near enough in decent light I will still take the image, I can always delete it later.

Another aspect of my work is now dictated by the end use of my images. Once, when the agency route was lucrative, this dominated the end use. Now that things have changed dramatically images end use is a far vaguer concept. Some will go into talks and others into magazine articles but generally the vast majority of my work sits vacantly in the hard drive gathering computer dust! This is one of the deciding factors that has seen a change this year in my approach to wildlife photography. I will go into more detail in my next blog.