MMy passion for red deer stags drives me to photograph them not only during the rut but also in late spring and early summer.
At this time of year, the deer showcase their velvet antlers.
Between February and May, the red deer stags lose their antlers. Immediately, new growth occurs.
The older deer generally lose their antlers first. The youngest deer lose their antlers through April. Antlers do not always fall at the same time. A deer can carry a single antler for several days.
Personally, it is not my favorite time to photograph them because the stag seems unbalanced. Aesthetically, I feel that the photos lack interest. I strive to create my photos in May or June when the spring decor highlights the elegance and the majesty of the lord of the forests and prairies.
Deer antlers are made of bone. They are vascularized organs. During the regrowth of the antlers, they are covered by velvet which provides nourishment and innervation.
The regrowth of the antlers lasts until the end of August, when the antlers reach their full development just before the rutting season.
I have not always been interested in the photography of deer in velvet antlers. For me, the late spring and early summer have been marked as the time to photograph fawns and hinds.
One year, while I was in a ground blind waiting for the passage of a doe and its fawn in the forest of La Coubre in Charente-Maritime, a deer stag weighing nearly 200 kilograms (440 pounds) casually approached me. He did not sense my presence because I was on the right side of the wind. He could not see me because I was lying under a net in a field of ferns. Emitting an impressive sense of power, he was dressed in his beautiful red spring coat. I was captivated by his majestic presence and his haughty attitude.
However, his velvet antlers gave him a quiet, serene, almost tender appearance. It was far too close for me to take pictures. I waited. He grazed in front of me for almost one hour before lying in the clearing in front of me.
It was a wonderful meeting. The sun irradiated his body which was animated by small shivers to prevent insects from resting on him. It was an unreal spectacle that only the animal world can offer to those who show patience.
It was from this day that I began to split my time on the field between the photography of fawns and the photography of deer stags in velvet antlers.
For this artistic wildlife collection of fine art prints, I have chosen black and white. It allows me to highlight the details of the red deer coats, the textures, and the beauty of their slender form.
I hope that this collection of fine art prints will help you experience the same emotions that I do when I find myself near a red deer in the wild.
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