The Running of the Deer

Running Deer

I saw this big Buck standing in a farm field watching me as I drove past, and I really wanted to make a great portrait of him. Unfortunately the whole herd of Deer took off running shortly after I stopped. It was already past sunset and really quite dark, so my shutter speeds were very slow. Instead of trying to make really sharp images I worked on making some pan-blurs (where the background is blurred by panning along while the main subject moves, keeping the subject relatively sharper) as they ran past me instead. I really like the granularity of the final image and to me it has a great vintage look and feel.

Running Deer

Coyote Butt

Coyote on the Run

Sometimes you get the shot you want, sometimes you get the butt!

I was doing some work in the garden (I have a plot in a farm field on the prairies East of Calgary) when I noticed a young coyote saunter across the field and duck behind the barn. I immediately grabbed my camera and trotted over to the barn, hoping to find the coyote hanging out behind it. Sure enough it wasn’t far away, but unfortunately we saw each other at the same time. Coyote’s are almost always wary animals and this one was no exception. It immediately turned and ran away. I managed to fire off a couple of shots, but this side of the animal wasn’t quite what I was hoping to see.

Grain-fed Deer at Carburn Park

One of my favorite places to look for birds and animals is right in the city (Calgary) near my home. Carburn Park is a man-made city park on the banks of the Bow River. Although it was developed to be very accessible to everyone, including a paved path all the way around the park, it also has large stretches of naturalized areas and has become home to thousands of birds and animals. It is a very beautiful park and it is a fantastic place to go birding in all seasons.

Although not as common as the deer that can always be found in the park, I have recently seen Coyotes several times. I had seen this animal earlier in the evening while it sauntered across the frozen lake. There were people walking all around the park and it really did nothing to avoid them. I eventually found it again a little further back in the woods.

White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

The park is home to very large herd of White-tailed Deer. There were quite a few deer wandering around in the woods while I looked for the coyote, and they were very skittish when the coyote passed close by. They are very used to people and completely ignored me however.

Coyote at Carburn Park

White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

I have seen the Deer in the park many times before, and I knew that the resident herd was quite large, but I really had no idea just how many live there were until I saw people feeding them just before sunset. A man whistled a couple of times and then dozens of deer came running from all over the park. They were obviously accustomed to being summoned for a free meal.

Grain-fed White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

I don’t understand why these people think it is necessary to feed wild animals. I really doubt that they understand the danger they are putting these deer in. There were at least two coyotes skulking around in the park that night and I’m sure they would love to take advantage of some fat, grain-fed deer that weren’t paying attention to anything other than the easy meal in front of them.

Grain-fed White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

The bigger question is what the deer will do when these people stop feeding them, as eventually they will. The animals have clearly become habituated to having their meals delivered to them, and they have completely lost their fear of people. If it gets so bad that they come to depend on the people to provide their food, then what will happen to them when the food wagon stops rolling in?

Grain-fed White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

Grain-fed White-tailed Deer at Carburn Park

I love going to Carburn Park and I’m always excited to see the birds and animals that live there, but knowing what I know now about these deer, I am terribly conflicted about photographing them… I’d love to here what other people think about this issue?

More Deer

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been seeing huge herds of deer lately. Not only are the herds large, but there are also lots of them. Deer are generally pretty skittish; they often take off running as soon as you even start to slow your vehicle down, and if you actually stop the car they are gone! Not lately though. I guess its a bit of herd mentality kicking in because it seems that as long as there are more than about 10 deer together, they don’t seem to mind posing for a few pictures before slowly wandering away.

Yesterday I was able to stop my truck and enjoy a few quiet minutes with two different large herds of at least 30 animals.

This large buck watched me for a little while, but he never bothered to walk away, even when the rest of his family left.

Male Mule Deer in Winter at Sunset

Continue reading More Deer