Many of you will have no idea what I mean by “Deer Hunter.” Let me explain. I regularly venture out into my local park (Richmond Park in London) and photograph the Deer. It was, in many ways, how I got into photography and will always hold a special significance to me.
Years ago, I took a photo which, while I love, had some glaring mistakes with focus and exposure (You can see it below). As I regularly go to the park, I decided to make it my mission to re-capture that image. Now, whether I get it or not is beside the point; it’s just nice to have a goal while I’m there.
In recent months, I’ve found it very difficult to find the time to get out and appease this photographic itch. The sad reality of being a professional photographer is that you’re not always doing what you want. Most likely, in fact, you’ll be doing a lot more things you don’t want. It’s all too often been those things which have kept me away.
Importance Of Doing What You Love
Normal 9-5 type work is often not fun. Maybe that’s why you opted to pursue a career in the fast-paced, glamourous world of photography. I bet it didn’t take you too long to realize that EVERY job has parts which are less than enjoyable. Yes, even photography; accounting, social media, taxes, website building, marketing, etc. to name a few.
As these tasks pile up, you may find that the passion you hold for photography, the passion which drove you to strike out on your own, begins to wane. That can be a dangerous thing for your health and your business. Getting out and shooting for yourself, not for money, not for a client, just for you, can re-ignite that passion.
Passion is a powerful thing and nurturing yours should not be seen as a luxury. It’s a necessity. Remember when you first started? I bet you threw all of yourself into every mundane task. I bet every one of those tasks was accomplished quickly and to a high standard because you had genuine enthusiasm, driven by passion. Any job can suck that out of you, but it’s so important to keep that passion alive. Clearly it can not only help you but your business as well.
Hunting Those Pesky Deer
Part of why I love nature photography is not knowing what you’re going to get. You have zero control over your subjects and the weather. To some degree, the weather can be predicted, but even that can be wrong sometimes. It’s this element of luck which makes the special days that much more special.
The photos throughout this article were taken on the only two days I was able to get out over the last six months. September to January are my favorite months, and I would usually be there once a week; One of the mornings I went was very typical; huge potential but those pesky deer just wouldn’t co-operate. It’s so common for scenes like the image below to be occurring and all the Stags to be marching in the opposite direction. Best I could get here was one lone fawn bounding through the forest. It’s out of focus, but I wanted to demonstrate a very common occurrence.
If nature photography is your thing, don’t get disheartened. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to get an amazing wildlife photograph. I have been out many mornings and returned with nothing. Thankfully, for me, this pursuit is about far more than capturing the right photo. It unwinds me and recharges my batteries. Whether it be nature photography or any other pursuit, I encourage you to do the same as often as possible.
The second morning I managed to get out turned out to be one of the best I have ever had. Usually, I’ll walk away with one, maybe two, photos I’m happy with out of hundreds. Sometimes none. That particular morning everything fell into place. It felt like I could have closed my eyes and still created some beautiful shots.
What Gear Do You Really Need?
Harking back somewhat to the first ever Deer Hunter article, I use a full frame camera and 70-200mm lens. Not your ideal nature photography companions. In that original article, I proclaimed that you didn’t necessarily need a ridiculously long, pocket-burning, lens to get the job done. Some disagreed, some didn’t. I do hope that from reading the older articles and from seeing some of the shots here, you too will concede that it is certainly possible. Don’t let your gear stop you.
It’s very important to have a strong grasp of the operation of your equipment, editing in general, and, of course, the subjects you are aiming for. If, like me, you’re using a 200mm lens, make sure your subject is big enough. Bird photography will not work. I cannot stress enough, however, how important it is to have a decent grasp of basic photographic skills. If you feel you could be lacking in any area, make sure you check out everything in the SLR Lounge Store here.
Here are a couple more from those two trips. Check out the last one. Who knew that Deer started Vaping, too! (Vaping refers to electronic cigarettes, for those that don’t know).
I encourage you to get out there and photograph what you love!