Why and How photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White

You may have just finished a photo project dedicated to the deer slab. This is the photographic event of autumn for many European wildlife photographers.

Why do not you try to create a series of black and white deer photographs?

In this article, I will give you reasons to try this artistic creative technique.

A photograph in black and white of a red deer stag during the bugle in France..
A photograph in black and white of a red deer stag during the bugle in France.

Black and White is Well Adapted to the Bugle of the Deer

Like many wildlife photographers, you certainly think that the bugle of the deer must be photographed in a naturalistic way. Indeed, it is an animal behavior that takes place when the foliage is colored with warm tones.

You want to show stag deer in colorful decorations that serve as a showcase. It is quite commendable. I can perfectly understand this reasoning.

It is tempting to want to create behavioral illustrative photographs to account for this extraordinary event.

But hundreds of thousands of color photographs have already been made. Why try to redo what has been done?

Why would you not try black and white? Why would you not have a different photographic approach? Why would you not try to go out one more time from your comfort zone?

Indeed, the advantages of black and white photography are numerous:

  • It allows you to immediately show the interest of a scene.
  • Black and white allows you to deliver messages by going straight to the point. The viewer of your photos is not distracted by the color effects. Black and white is a creative directive technique.
  • Black and white allows you to return to the essential values of photography. You must manage your contrast, shapes, textures. You must pay close attention to details.
  • - Black and white is timeless. Color photographs are more subject to trends, up-to-date. When we look at color photos, we are always able to locate them in time. This is not the case with the black and white photo.

From this list of advantages, you can see that the bugle of the stag deer be shown in black and white.

Why Photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White?

Besides the pure and creative technique of black and white, I think this time the bugle can show stage deer in attitudes and behaviors that put them well worth.

  • Stage deer have their winter coat. It is darker, thicker.

    In the black and white photographs, the textures are silkier.
  • The antlers are dry unlike the period of birth fawns where the woods are velvet. In black and white, the antlers are textured and detailed.

    On some antlers, the white tips add contrast to the photo. In black and white, stage deer are better showed.
  • During the rut of the deer, you can watch deer fights to gain power on a herd of deer. These fights always take place in meadow. The scenery is lighter than in the forest or the woods.

    It is possible to make more refined photographs highlighting well the combatants. These are scenes well adapted to black and white.
  • You can photograph deer bugling. The screams are complaints that have many connotations. If you have chosen your blind or if you have made a good approach, you can take close-up shots.

    You may have the chance to see the drip. It is a small hole containing a gland under the eyes of a stag deer that allow him to mark his territory during the rut.

    Likewise, hair on the throat is more developed at this time of the year. It is darker and very provided. It is a part of the body that accentuates the power effect of the deer.

    In black and white, all the parts of the body of the stag deer can be better highlighted.
  • You can photograph stag deer surrounded by does. Usually, stags and doe do not mix. During the bugle, herds of animals are formed. Each stag tries to gather some hinds that he will cover. A group of stags and does are called a herd.

    In black and white, these scenes are interesting because you can well show the beauties of the coats. You can also accentuate the size of the deer that is larger than the deer.

The Photo Gallery

Advantages to Photograph Stag Deer During the Bugle

Photographing stag deer during the bugle has several advantages:

  • You can easily guide yourself in the nature whether it is in the meadows or the woods, while directing you to the slab places. Just listen to where the animals are. The slab is a very hoarse, very tonic and powerful scream. You can hear it hundreds of feet away.

    Usually, it is difficult to locate stag deer by ear. They are silent and calm animals. To find them, you have to know the flows and their habits.
  • If you do not hear stag bugling, you just need to spot fruit trees such as oaks, wild apple trees... The food is abundant, easy to find on the ground and above all it is better than the grass of the meadows. By locating these trees and setting up a suitable blind, you will have every chance to make beautiful pictures.
  • During the bugle of deer, you will be spotted less easily than during the other months of the year. Indeed, the master of the place is very busy keeping his rivals at a good distance from the herd. He constantly chases potential suitors who would like to steal a doe. If you make an approach and you are in your blind, even if you make the mistake of making noise, the herd will remain in the same place. The deer will not worry about you.

How Photographing the Bugle of the Deer in Black and White?

As I described in this article, you have three methods to photograph the bugle of the deer:

  • Using a blind.
  • Approaching by crawling on the ground.
  • Waliking.

Pour réaliser des photos en noir et blanc intéressantes et créatives pendant le brame, je vous conseille des zones plutôt dégagées pour mettre l’accent sur la beauté et la majesté des animaux.

To make interesting and creative black-and-white photos during the bugle, I recommend some rather unobstructed areas to emphasize the beauty and majesty of animals.

Avoid photography in the undergrowth or forests because these places are rarely good. Tree trunks or branches can become disruptive elements that may attract the attention of viewers. Instead, choose simple, uncluttered scenes like meadows or clearings. Try to isolate the animals. Your black and white photos will have more impact.

If you have never tried the morning blind, I recommend this experience. The previous days find a path with tracks or a clearing with excrement. Prepare your blind with a tent. The D-Day be present one hour before sunrise. As you have spotted your corner before, you will have no problem to move in the dark. The stags or a herd if they are present will detect you but they will not be able to see that you are a human.

Once you are installed in your blind you just have to wait. It is a moment you will never forget. When the day begins to rise you may see a herd or a stag. Wait a bit before making your first pictures. Take the time to immerse yourself in the scene. I guarantee you an extraordinary experience.


Get out of your comfort zone. Dare black and white to photograph the bugle of the deer. You will be surprised by the rendering of your creations. Remember to choose your scenes to respect the spirit of black and white. Leave your imagination in power. Get off the beaten track.

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