Friday, November 15, 2013

Whitetail Rut Explodes

Mature 8 Point Lip-Curls: Canon 7D-Canon 600mm f4-ISO 400-1/400 Sec. f 5.0
The rut of the Whitetail Deer is now going full steam and I am seeing quite a few bucks while photographing in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Unfortunately one of my favorite whitetail photography spots, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia,  has been ruined temporarily by the CWD study, which resulted in most of the mature bucks being fitted with collars.  The loss may be permanent with the specter of herd reduction looming on the horizon.  As a result most of the bucks I am photographing are smaller than the better ones that could be found at SNP in the past.

Photographing and filming the bucks as they check the scrape lines, and chase the does has been one of my favorite outdoor activities for many years.

Mature 8 Point At Scrape: Canon 7D-Canon 600mm f4-ISO 400-1/1250 Sec. f  4.5
I have been using the 7D a lot lately after a long period of letting it gather dust..  I now use the noise reduction tools in Photoshop CS6 Camera Raw  and Adobe CC rather than noise ninja and I have found that the 7D's low light performance is not as bad as I had thought, although it is not as good as the 5D MK III in that respect.  I now feel comfortable using it at ISO 800 and 1000 and will use 1600 in a pinch.  Some will want to know why I am using the 7D instead of my 70D.  The long and short is that I am using the 70D primarily for video as its' auto focus system works very good for video, while the 7Ds' does not.  I usually shoot with both cameras set up on their respective tripods and the 7D is used on the 600mm to take advantage of long range shots.  I do often use the 5D MK III in poor light or when the animals get closer and it is not hard to shift between the 7D and 5D MK III on the 600mm F4, but it is a hassle to tear the video rig down to use the 70D on the 600mm.  When the 7D is on the 600mm F4, I usually keep the 5D MK III handy with a smaller lens such as the 70-200mm IS II  mounted to handle the closer shots and at times I even use the 300mm f2.8.  This rig is used hand held unless conditions are such that I decide to dismount the 600mm and go with a smaller lens for my shooting and want the added stability of the tripod.

The next two shots were taken hand hand held with the MK III and the 70-200mm.  I still like to use a tripod when possible, but lenses such as the 70-200mm f2.8 L do work well hand held when one uses good shooting technique. I find that I get a high percentage of sharp shots while doing so, especially when using the 5D MK III.

 8 Point Chasing Doe: Canon 5D MK III-Canon  70-200mm f2.8  IS II@200mm-ISO 400-1/1600 Sec. f  5.0
 8 Point Chasing Doe: Canon 5D MK III-Canon  70-200mm f2.8  IS II@200mm-ISO 200-1/640 Sec. f  5.0
The rut should continue for at least two more weeks with some periods being more active than others, but the activity will crash with the opening of rifle deer season on the Monday after Thanksgiving if it does not wind down on its' own accord before.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Haddock said...

What a way to scratch the chin.

Unknown said...

Nice shots Willard. I need to set aside some time and go out to some known deer traffic areas. It looks like I'm missing out on some awesome events.

Dan Gomola

Ruth Hiebert said...

Great action shots.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Very nice!
I have the same lens 70-200 . I am very satisfied with it. I have a 60D and still Learning. Great again that you write out the settings you use. I learn a lot from that and also your explanations

Linda G. said...

Your first picture of the buck with the lip curl looks as though he is smiling at you. The second picture of the buck scraping appears as though he is really enjoying the scraping under its chin! Great action shots of the bucks chasing the does.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...
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