Roe deer wildlife photography workshops 2019

_K7R3957

Introduction

_K7R0516

I am very pleased to announce a full programme of roe deer wildlife photography workshops for 2019.

These workshops are supported by the British Deer Society (BDS). I have been working with the BDS to prepare a Code of Conduct for photographing deer. I am also very proud to have been invited by the BDS to be their first photographic ambassador.

thumbnail_bds_w1

You cam read about one of my clients’ experiences photographing roe deer with me in the Autumn 2018 edition of Digital Deer, the journal of the British Deer Society (you’ll need to have membership to check out this back issue).

image1 (1)

Why photograph Roe deer?

The Roe deer is perhaps our prettiest species of deer, making for beautiful images. They are also very shy. For the wildlife photographer this offers a real challenge and sense excitement that comes with photographing in the wild.

I was taught to get close to Roe by one of the best professional deer stalkers in the business. I’m keen now to pass on the fieldcraft I learnt to other photographers so that you too can photograph wild deer with a minimal amount of disturbance.

Follow the roe through the seasons

Each season presents an opportunity to create beautiful images:

Spring

Spring is a time of renewal. The bluebells start to emerge in the forest and the kids are born.

I have a couple of beautiful locations for images of Roe in bluebells.

bluebells_landscape_1

roe_in_bluebells_4

roe_in_bluebells_3

roe_in_bluebells_1

_K7R3676

bluebells_landscape_2

bluebells_abstract_1

Late spring sees the meadows of my local patch carpeted in buttercups which roe seem to love.

_K7R0624

_K7R0591

_K7R0632 _K7R0647

_K7R0471

_K7R0920

_K7R0550

Roe_1

Roe_3

Roe_7

Summer

Roe in summer crop

Summer is the season where many photographers tend to focus their efforts. The opportunity to create the iconic shot of a deer raising its head in the middle of a crop of barley or wheat makes for some stunning images.

_K7R0644

11870697_1178554832161511_5236920153929563993_n

Roe_16

The next image of an adult doe in a barley crop won a Highly Commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards Habitat category.17

 The next image was taken on a workshop I led a few years ago. The client’s version also won a Highly Commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards and he was rightly very pleased.

2

There is a lot of great behaviour to capture in the Summer as the bucks tear around chasing the does and rival bucks fight. I’m hoping to focus my efforts this year on documenting this behaviour.

13

 I always think the bucks look their absolute best in the height of summer and I have identified some cracking bucks for this year that I am just dying to photograph in all their rutting glory.

_K7R9766

 The does look stunning also in their beautiful russet summer pelage.

I’m always working hard to push myself creatively. For me my photography is all about creating images that celebrate the beauty of nature.

Roe in heather

Those who follow my blog will know that after five years of looking I have finally identified a number of reliable locations for photographing what for me is the holy grail of roe deer photography, roe in blooming heather. After much thought I have decided to lead workshops to these locations this summer. The workshops will take place to coincide with the blooming heather and the price reflects the exclusivity of the opportunity.

redux

_K7R3979

_K7R5843

_K7R5836

_K7R6318

_K7R6299

_K7R6134_K7R3688

_K7R5105Roe in wild flowers

The meadows on my local patch are also in full bloom, carpeted in wildflowers, making for some beautiful images.

_K7R5781

_K7R5776

_K7R5743

Roe deer Capreolus capreolus, in hay meadow, England, May

Urban

Roe are hugely adaptable. As their habitat continues to diminish they are increasingly making their home in urban environments.

I first started photographing Roe deer in cemeteries in 2014. I now have a number of locations where I photograph them with the requisite permission from the local authority.

 

1195349

Location

Southern counties and Suffolk. I have 11 reliable sites in the southern counties of England including Sussex, Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset. Location will depend on time of year and images you are looking to create. Due to the sensitivity of the sites I do not provide locations prior to clients booking on and providing payment. I also require signature of a non disclosure agreement. All sites are permissions.

Prices

2019 prices are as follows:

Spring  workshops (30th March to 14th June)

Bluebells and fawns

Surrey and West Sussex

1 day workshop £150

2 day workshop £290

Early summer workshops (June 15th up to and including 14th July)

Surrey & West Sussex

1 day workshop £150

2 day workshop £290

Annual Roe rut workshops (21st July to 15th August)

Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, West Sussex, Suffolk.

1 day £199

2 days £380

3 days £550

Roe in heather workshops (25th July to 15th August)

Surrey

1 day £220

2 days £395

3 days £590

Payment terms

Full payment is required in advance in order to reserve your place. Payment is strictly non refundable. No refunds available in the event of cancellation for whatever reason.

Please note: Rut workshop places are strictly limited and very popular. Based on previous years please book early to avoid disappointment

Maximum of two guests per day. Price of workshop includes guiding and tuition (both camera and field craft)

To reserve your place,  contact me at julianRAcox@hotmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Purple haze – Roe deer in summer

blog lead

This summer I returned to the lowland heaths of the south of England, bringing my year photographing Roe deer full circle. Here the heather bloom coincides with the peak of the annual Roe rut.

I thought I would share with you a selection of my favourite images from my time amongst the deer of the heather lands. I hope you enjoy the series.

_K7R3979_K7R3688_K7R3646

_K7R3228_K7R3701_K7R3809_K7R3777_K7R3826_K7R3894_K7R3840_K7R3904_K7R3941

_K7R3977

_K7R3981redux_K7R4002

_K7R4019_K7R4021

_K7R4023_K7R4050

_K7R4117

_K7R4070_K7R4454-2_K7R4467_K7R4484-2

_K7R4240_K7R4610_K7R4640_K7R4644_K7R4646_K7R4689

for Jess_K7R4776

footprints_K7R4773

_K7R4978_K7R5068

_K7R5061

_K7R5092

_K7R5075_K7R5080

_K7R5102

_K7R5105

The last year has been devoted to following Roe deer through the seasons. It’s been an amazing adventure. The time feels right now though, after putting so much hard work  into the project, to step back for a bit and look towards identifying some fresh, new photographic subjects that inspire me. We have such a rich tapestry of wildlife here in the British Isles and the North I want to celebrate with my work. I am already putting forward plans for some amazing new adventures in wildlife photography. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Jules Cox

24th August 2018

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yellow – Roe deer in Spring and Early Summer

 

_K7R0328After, the work I put in to get images of Roe deer in snow, I decided to give myself a bit of a break over the early  part of the Spring. It proved a wise decision and I returned to lead a workshop at one of my local permissions feeling refreshed and looking forward to catching up with the deer I had come to know so well.

I was struck by how much had changed in such  a short space of time. The stark white beauty of natures palatte had changed to vibrant yellow, with the meadows filled with a sea of buttercups.

The bucks were now out of velvet and sporting freshly cleaned, smart new antlers.

_K7R0550

Roe deer change coat in summer too, with the thick insulating slate grey pelage of winter turning to the beautiful, russet red of summer.

_K7R0986

Spring had also brought with it new life and it lifted my soul to see the does with their new born kids.

_K7R0624

Late spring is a fascinating time in the natural history of roe also with bucks marking their territories ready for the rut.

_K7R0682

The traditional English meadow habitat the Roe call home was also alive with wild flowers starting to emerge, including Orchids and Foxgloves.

_K7R0212

_K7R3071-2

Last year’s kids had been pushed out by their mothers and were starting to make their own way in life.

This image and the series that follow were all taken on a workshop with a client.

_K7R0053

I came across this young buck in a buttercup filled meadow where he had set up his territory. He was very relaxed in our presence. All of these images are full frame or not far off, which I hope help to illustrate it is possible to get nice, relaxed images of deer without disrupting their behaviour. Roe spend a lot of time browsing and they made the most of the bountiful, delicate butter cup flowers and new shoots.

_K7R0282 _K7R0293 _K7R0308 _K7R0385 _K7R0415

Getting images of does with kids proved a lot more of a challenge, with the protective mothers waiting until the light was low to lead their babies out. To achieve the images required a lot of careful observation, planning and a fair amount of fieldcraft away from a workshop environment. It wasn’t easy but the hard work paid off with a series of nice images.

_K7R0471 _K7R0591 _K7R0632

This next intimate behavioural shot of a kid suckling from its mother is one that I had envisioned for a long time but I never thought I’d get. It’s full frame.

_K7R0920

I really like this next shot of the doe leading the kids away. Increasingly with my photography I am drawn to images that connect.

_K7R0647

My change in method of working also really helped in enabling me to document the territorial behaviour of the bucks as they scent mark their territory. Portraits are nice but I feel that these images tell a far more interesting story.

_K7R0702 _K7R0706

The vibrant yellows of the buttercup field also really leant themselves to shooting images small in the frame, showing the deer in their natural environment.

_K7R0738

Time spent photographing the Roe also resulted in an unexpected bonus. I observed this beautiful, mature vixen walking the same route in the morning and evening at the site. She is a proper country fox and therefore not easy to get close to. I didn’t want to start trying to bait her as the roe have such sensitive noses. Instead I learnt her route and with a favourable wind set up in a nice area where I could get some confiding shots without risking disturbing her or the deer.

She is a beautiful animal in immaculate condition with a wide lower jaw and thick brush indicating she is an older animal with a good hunting instinct. Foxes will take roe kids when they are still new born, so the deer do need to be wary, as do the foxes as a mature doe is perfectly capable of taking out a fox with its powerful legs and sharp hooves

_K7R0740 _K7R0743 _K7R0767 _K7R0778

_K7R1514

Her mate, the dog fox was very wily and gave me the run around, but I eventually caught up with him, bringing food back to the den.

_K7R1875

It was nice to get some images of the doe from my previous shots browsing in the buttercup field, her kids safely tucked away.

_K7R0800 _K7R0808

The deer share the field with horses. As a rule, roe deer and domestic livestock don’t mix, so it was nice to get a few images of them together.

_K7R0852 _K7R0859 _K7R0866 _K7R0953 _K7R0969

I find a lot of peace and solice spending time with the Roe. The next series of images were taken against the fading light of a beautiful early summer’s evening.

_K7R0973

The younger buck continued to scent mark and thrash around in the vegetation, warning off rivals.

_K7R1006

I particularly like this shot with all the vegetation flying.

_K7R1137

The next two images represent a fleeting moment when the buck stepped into a patch of last light, picking out the buck’s summer pelage in the after glow of red.

_K7R1159 _K7R1162 _K7R1236

Next to the buttercup field is a traditional English hay meadow where the master (dominant) buck, an older animal, resided.

_K7R1386 _K7R1406

Not content with its home territory though, it also had designs on the buttercup field. I was lucky enough to witness a full on fight between the pair. The light was very low, but I still managed a few shot.

_K7R1439

This next shot helps illustrate the difference between the two animals. The older animal is on the left of the shot. If you look carefully, you will see that he isn’t able to get down as low.

_K7R1448

The younger buck is able to get lower and force the older animal back. With roe though it’s not which buck wins the battle, but the war. The older animal will wait until the younger has gone through a series of skirmishes with other bucks (there are at least four mature bucks in the area – so lots of challenges to meet) and is physically exhausted before joining battle again and muscling the younger buck out. Who wins the war depends on guile, cunning, dexterity, strength, size and weight.

_K7R1449 _K7R1488

Undeterred by losing out the previous evening, I found the wily, older buck in the buttercup field feeding seemingly unperturbed the following morning.

_K7R1563

At the first sight of his rival though he was off again. Deciding perhaps that discretion was the better part of valour.

_K7R1790

By the time the younger buck had got to the scene of the crime he was gone.

_K7R1852It was a fascinating game of cat and mouse and gave me a privileged insight into the lives of these beguiling and complex animals. I would have liked to have spent more time seeing how things played out. However, nature’s schedule had other ideas and meant I had to turn my attentions elsewhere for the following few weeks….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Footprints in the snow

_K7R7195

The first three months of the year are amongst the coldest, and the time when, traditionally, we are most likely to see snow.

As a result of climate change though we have seen less and less of the white stuff in recent years. The last time I photographed in snow in the uK was in 2011, and that was in the North of England. Here in the south, snow is an even rarer occurence.

Chill winds coming in from both Siberia the east as well as the Mediterranean to the south in the last few weeks created an extreme weather vortex and a rare opportunity to photograph in my favourite conditions. I knew the conditions wouldn’t last long so it was a question of synchronising forecasts at my various Roe sites in the southern counties and making some tough decisions.

IMG_3040-2

I didn’t have to go far for my first site, which is located just ten minutes from my doorstep on the South downs.

One of the advantages of snow is the tracks and signs it leaves.  I followed footprints in the snow created overnight to an area of the woods I knew the deer might come out.

_K7R8431 My hunch paid off. Just as I came over the brow of the hill, I spotted a doe coming running out of the woods. I managed to take a few shots as she ran, leaving footprints in the snow.

_K7R7194

The resulting image is one I had thought about a lot, even considering investing in a drone to achieve it. To achieve it on a much higher spec camera without risking spooking the deer though was a dream,

For the next ten minutes I sat and watched as she fed on the game feed left for the pheasants. With food in short supply in these extreme conditions, the feed was a valuable source of energy.

_K7R7197

I continued to stalk in to her, which is something I don’t do with Roe usually for various reasons and which is not particularly easy in snow, Whether it was my movement or she heard the sound of the camera, her curiosity got the better of her and she came to take a closer look, coming closer, so that she was framed between the trees in the snow (tick two for an image I hoped to achieve for the project)

_K7R7213

And closer…and as it did I could feel my heart beat louder and louder.

_K7R7265

As regular followers of my blog (thank you!) know, I always try to shoot my images full frame with minimum cropping. The images above are just that.

One of the other images on my list for my winter photography was a portrait of a Roe showing off their gorget, the white patch on their chest, some display in winter. This doe was in very good condition and had the most beautiful gorget and she allowed me to photograph it from different angles before walking off nonchalantly.

_K7R7260

It was a very special encounter, very much on her own terms and probably one of my best experiences since starting the project. I sat there in the snow afterwards until it got dark just taking in the magic of it all. Its in magical moments like this I feel most alive.

A few days later I found myself driving down to another of my sites in blizzard conditions, A journey that usually takes me a couple of hours took me ten and a half hours. Indeed I doubt I would have completed it had it not been for the 4 x 4 with cars in front of me being abandoned.

The epic journey though was worth certainly worth it I feel, with three foot of snow in places. It’s interesting to think that lot of the deer in the next series of images would not have seen these conditions before.

_K7R8005

_K7R7912

_K7R7960

_K7R8107

_K7R8038

_K7R8076

Criss crossing the southern counties I visited another of my local sites. Roe tend to head for cover in extreme conditions, so I had to work very hard for my images.

_K7R7080

_K7R7105 _K7R7110

The snow leaves other tell tell signs of roe behaviour other than tracks. The imprint below is of a ‘couch’ where the deer lie up and rest.

IMG_3031-3

I also took the opportunity to visit one of the farms that I used to photograph deer with my friend Terry, still sadly missed. Terry’s good friend Sean kindly gave up his time to take me out and get the necessary permission from the landowner. We had great fun off roading in the snow and it was good to talk about Terry. He is never far from the thoughts of the people that knew him.

_K7R8766

_K7R9783_K7R7649

_K7R9640_K7R9756

_K7R9625 One of my favourite places to watch Roe deer is the cemetery I have photographed in for the last four years and which featured in my article in Practical Photography in 2015.

_K7R8271

I was last at this location last September and could only find a single, solitary doe. I managed to find her again in fresh snow fall, the snow clinging to the trees creating a very beautiful and melancholy scene.

_K7R7338_K7R8600

I was delighted to find that the doe was now accompanied by an attendant buck. And what a buck he is._K7R8207

_K7R7442

Having had a chance to think about it since, I am sure he is the same deer I photographed as a handsome fawn four years previously. Since then his father who was a magnificent buck has disappeared, presumably having passed and it seems the son has inherited his territory.

I spent three days photographing in the cemetery in total. An abandoned car blocking the entrance to the cemetery meant I had to photograph everything on foot rather than using a car as a mobile hide as I had done when I last photographed at this location.  I’ve learnt a lot about fieldcraft when it comes to Roe deer though in the intervening three and a half years which stood me in good stead. The deer got used to my presence quickly making for some very confiding images. I’ve selected a few of my favourites below.

_K7R9183

_K7R7439

_K7R8280

_K7R7421

 

_K7R9349

_K7R9307_K7R9361

With very few people able to get around in the snow, I pretty much had the cemetery to myself. No visitors paying their respect to their loved ones meant no flowers and the deer having to scrape through the snow to get to the vegetation below in order to browse. Finding signs like this of roe deer behaviour is really fascinating for me.

_K7R8248

The final series of images below were all taken on my final morning . Whilst elsewhere the snow was fast melting by this time I was pleased to find a good covering in the cemetery. The deer were a lot more active making for some nice images.

_K7R9209_K7R8354_K7R9244_K7R9379_K7R9374

_K7R9398

_K7R4853

IMG_3056-2

As I write this winter feels like it has finally come to an end and the first signs of spring and new life everywhere, birds are returning from their wintering grounds, blackthorne is in flower, the first butterflies of the year are emerging. I’ve taken the opportunity to take a short break from the photography and re charge after following the deer for nine months. It’s a great chance to review what I’ve done so far and come up with new ideas for images. I am looking forward to resuming again later in the spring suitably refreshed.

I would like to thank Sean and Andrew who helped me with this part of my journey photographing roe through the seasons. This blog is dedicated to the good people of Wiltshire, the heart of roe country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment