Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts on Photographing Whitetails

Photographing whitetails well is never easy and most of the time it’s downright difficult. Whitetails like any wildlife are uncooperative at best and in hunting country they are downright elusive. It’s no secret that most great deer photographs are taken either in parks where the deer are not hunted or are of domestically reared animals in fenced enclosures.

For those who do not have access or the desire to photograph penned deer (myself included) the national parks offer a great option. With the protection the parks afford, animals can grow to reach their full potential. The deer become accustomed to non-threatening human encounters and become so acclimated that they will act naturally while in close proximity to the photographer. These deer will frequently allow the photographer to move about to obtain the best lighting and background angles.

With all of the advantages these deer offer, getting the great shot is seldom easy. Great poses often last for only a moment so it pays to keep alert with the camera solidly anchored on the tripod and the exposure & ISO set when in close proximity to your subject. What was just a so so scene a moment ago can change in a heartbeat, and only for a heartbeat. Miss that shot and you will have a memory, a memory of the shot that could have been.

I carry some of my very best shots around in my mind, the shots I missed!



11 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I guess with missed shots it's just like with the big fish that got away.:)The challenge of getting a better shot is also the motivation I need to try again.I might add looking at your pictures is also a motivator.
Blessings,Ruth

Elaine said...

You are so right that you have to be ready for those perfect shots and the best ones are in the wild where the animals are in their natural habitat. I've also got some wonderful shots in my head, ones that passed so quickly that they were gone before I could even move. Two memorable ones happened on our recent roadtrip. One was of a Red Tailed Hawk as he flew up in front of the truck, a top view with wings spread, the lovely color of his tail showing just where his name came from. The other was looking back and seeing an eagle as he was dropping down onto a pond with talons outstretched to grasp his prey. As you say, over in a heartbeat, and shots I wish I could have actually taken. I wish I could share these scenes, but I feel fortunate that I was able to see such beauty.

Sue said...

While it would be nice if they did pose, we wouldn't appreciate the shots as much. It's hard to miss a great shot-but wow, when you get it
(which you did!)

imac said...

The end product is the reward Coy, brill shot.

Corker2 said...

You have a great capture there, Coy. Wish that I could get one like that, but just don't have the time to go to the National Parks like you. I, myself, have had some experience's where a Camera would have been nice to have, but just didn't at the time. I have to learn that if I go somewhere where that their might be the possibility of a Wildlife Image taken, I should take my Pentax.

Les

bobshank said...

Your provided some great photo tips here, Coy. I am more accustomed to photographing the elk in Elk County, but do have a few whitetail photos. Some were taken on the elk range and probably more were taken here near my home in the Poconos. I am hoping to travel to Yellowstone next year and am eagerly looking forward to that trip!

Brad Myers said...

The first part I could not agree with more. I will not photograph caged or fenced in animals. I do not even want to visit a zoo, I will not put people down for photographing these animals but I would hope they would not portray them as wild. Sometimes the elk and deer seem so tame it almost feels like being at a zoo.

I have missed more photos than I got over the years because I was not ready or the action went down to fast for me. Like the piebald and other small buck with their antlers locked up playing our first morning in SNP. I never got another shot and didn't witness anything else close the rest of the trip.

I used to get upset that I missed those shots until I realized that I just really enjoy watching the wildlife and that is what makes me happy. Since that time there have been times that I did not take photos because I was just to busy watching the beauty and enjoying myself.

That is why I quit hunting some 20 years ago, if I fired a shot what I was watching was gone and my day ended. This is so much more fun for me.

Montanagirl said...

You sure are right about that! This shot is stunning. I never can get very close to a Whitetail.

Juan C. Aguero said...

Very good!!

Kerri said...

Another wonderful catch!

Chad Oneil Myers said...

Great image, Dad. This is one of my favorite Buck images you've taken. I love the sharpness and the unique angle.