Fog rolled in from the sea and shrouded the hills along the South Downs over three consecutive days this week. This bought a certain eery drama to the woodland and surrounding area that compelled me to go out with my camera as dusk was approaching.
I had a privileged nocturnal encounter with this handsome chap when he flew out of the darkness to settle on my brother-in-law’s shirt! Despite the dramatic entrance it proved to be a great opportunity to handle this magnificent creature and he seemed very amenable to a quick torchlit photoshoot; I then placed him safely on one of our apple trees to continue his quest for a mate.
Fujifilm XT-2 | Pentacon auto 1,8/50 | helicoid adaptor
Having stumbled upon a large enclosure of deer at Woodmancote (West Sussex) while walking last year I thought it would be an ideal place to play with a recent acquisition (a 50 year old Meyer Optik Görlitz 1Q Orestor 4/300 lens) and spend some quiet time honing my stalking skills.
During a brief visit last week a cross wind helped mask my scent and sound while I got myself into a hollow by the pond the deer drink from. Three curious (and possibly thirsty) females came up through the woods in my direction… (click on the images for a larger version)
…making my way through the deer trails inside a hedge with the wind blowing my scent and sound towards them I was spotted by this stag wile I looked trough the cleft of a hawthorn trunk.
I had some time to go back yesterday and managed to get much closer to a group of them despite the wind not being in my favour. Being quiet and crawling my way up behind clumps of common rushes peeked their interest and bought them towards me, one curious young doe got around five feet from me while I was taking pictures of this stag with it’s newly forming antlers; The inquisitive doe was too close to focus on so I looked in silent awe as it sniffed the air before me, a wonderful encounter.
This particular group seem much more approachable than the other two on site, hopefully I will enjoy more time among them soon.
‘Mother of the woods’ Dead Beech tree near Chanctonbury Ring West Sussex UK . . As I walked up through the woods on the North side of the ridge following a line of ancient Beech trees toward Chanctonbury Ring I came across a large area of felled Ash trees and feared this tree with it’s outstretched boughs may have gone. Since I first photographed this tree in January 2015 what life it had then has since dwindled and the surrounding area is strewn with fragments of dropped branches – many no doubt loosed by the stormy weather over the last few days. While I had hoped to see this tree grow further in the years to come it’s location might mean it was older than it’s size suggests. Despite this it still stands, reaching aloft among the surrounding Ash trees which may not be there for much longer.