Friday, December 07, 2012

Pan for Running Shots

 1/20th sec.

While many do it, it is inadvisable for the deer hunter to take running shots. Running shots often result in an injured deer escaping to suffer either a long painful recovery or a slow death and should be reserved for follow-up attempts to stop an injured animal from escaping. 

However for the photographer running deer offer an opportunity to capture a different kind of image with no harm to the subject. To successfully shoot running deer one must pan with the subject.  For shooting long telephoto lenses a good gimbal head is virtually a necessity.  The images in this post were made with the Canon 600mm lens mounted on a Kirk King Cobra head using panning and image stabilization.

1/40th sec.
While it is imperative to pan with the running deer, panning is no guarantee of success for not only does a deer move horizontally while running but it moves vertically as well.  If you try panning with deer you will find that most images will be ruined by the vertical movement however with a little luck an image or two just may make the grade.

1/160th sec.
As light levels increase so can shutter speeds.  In this image you see that the buck is nearly frozen by the combination of panning and the 1/160th shutter speed.
So to recap, if you encounter a running deer and your weapon is a rifle, hold your fire: the ratio of risk to reward it just too great.  However if your weapon is a Canon (or a Nikon for my friends on the dark side) pan and shoot rapid fire.  You may make your best shot of the season!


Arija said...

It is always not only visually beautiful, but very educational as well, to read your blog. Thanks.

Montanagirl said...

LOVE that last shot. You sure got a good one there.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots!

TYNI said...

Some great shots of some awesome yearling bucks that hopefully in a couple years you'll capture in their prime running!!! Nice pics as always!

Willard said...

In reference to TYNI's comment about nice yearlings I must clarify that the smallest of these bucks is at least 2 1/2 years old as I posted photos of this buck on my blog today, both as a spike in 2011 and with the rack shown in this post in 2012. I first photographed the largest buck in 2010 as a small rack buck. He was much larger in 2011, and of course is larger still in 2012. None of our local bucks compete in size with the game farm raised monsters, or bucks from the prime agricultural country in the mid-west.

Only an extreme few of the very best do compare with the largest in the National Parks such as Cades Cove in The Smokies and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

I will not contest that bucks may grow larger sooner in your area, but this is what one can expect for our area of Pennsylvania, and I strongly suspect for most mountainous areas of the state as well.

I have seen many yearlings with only small nubs for antlers (not button bucks), while the average yearling is a spike or a four point--only rarely does one find a six or eight point at that stage. It usually takes at least 2 1/2 -3 1/2 years for a buck to develop an 8 point + rack of 12" spread or more. I know this because I am afield with these deer most days of the year and have followed some of these bucks closely and documented them with film and video. I am absolutely certain that I am looking at the same deer.

Brian King said...

Very nice! The second one is my favorite!