Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More Whitetail Rut Images

Whitetail Buck Chasing Doe: Canon 7D-70-200mm f2.8 L IS II @70mm- ISO 400-1/640 Sec. f 5.0
I  spent most of November photographing the whitetail deer rut in Pennsylvania and Maryland. While I like to photograph deer at any time of year, the rut is an especially favorite time as the bucks are more easily visible and excitement can run high when they are chasing  the does--especially if a dominance fight occurs.  I did not get to either photograph or see a fight this year, but I did photograph several bucks with broken antlers, which were likely a result of fighting,  including the eight-point shown  below.

Eight-point With Broken Antler:  Canon 7D-70-200mm f2.8 L IS II @142mm- ISO 640-1/200 Sec. f 4.0

Buck Charges From Woods After Doe: Canon 7D-600mm f4.0 L IS - ISO 400-1/640 Sec. f  4.5

I couldn't be more pleased with the 600mm f4.0 that I started using this fall.  About the only downside to it is the weight and mass.  It comes in especially handy when photographing deer that are not as acclimated as park deer.  The lens especially paid off on the lip-curl photo below.  The buck was fairly close for a Pennsylvania whitetail, but the image is still heavily cropped to get the dramatic close-up composition.

Lip-curl: Canon 7D-600mm f 4.0 L IS- ISO 200-1/600 Sec. f 5.0
While I do prefer the 70D to the 7D in most cases, I have been using the 7D quite a bit for long range shots with the 600mm as the 70D is usually reserved for video use.  If possible I like to set up with the 600mm on a Gitzo tripod with Wimberley head and the 70D on a Manfrotto video tripod with fluid head. If the light level is low or the subjects are close enough I use the 5D MK III  with the 600mm to take advantage of its' superior image quality, but if the range is long and there is enough light I use the 7D body.

Mature Buck At Long Range: Canon 7D-600mm f 4.0 L IS- ISO 200-1/600 Sec. f 5.0
Pennsylvania rifle deer season came in on December 2nd this year and will go out at the close of shooting hours on the 14th.  Most of the bucks I photographed this fall are likely dead now as the rifles really hammered on the first day.  I began hunting as a teenager and was an avid hunter for most of my adult life with a special emphasis on deer. I quit hunting for any species at the end of the 1998 season and in fact all but quit at the end of the 1997 season, but that is a story for another day.  As it is I spend far more time afield than most hunters and have been out most of the daylight hours during deer season keeping close tabs on the local deer herd with my cameras close at hand.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.