Study Group 2

Andy S. Hayes, ARPS, EFIAP

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Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

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Title: Red Deer Rut
Goal:  Last week I returned to the west coast to photograph otters and spent one day on an island called Scraba. Went there to see if I could find red deer, feral goats and wild boar.

Taken over by boat and dropped at the quayside. Walked south through the length of the island and up a 300ft hill. At the top of the hill I stopped to eat and was rewarded firstly by a Golden eagle fly past then two White tailed eagles flew below me along a ridge. Worked my way back to the North of the island and spotted a small herd of red deer, all males. They were quietly grazing the moved off as they did some started to get aggressive and turned to fight. Took a few shots and then headed back towards the quay to meet the boat. As I walked down the track I was greeted by an enormous great black wild boar! Got out of his way and took a few images then headed to the boat, What a great day and it only rained in the morning. 

Equipment / Source:    Canon 1DX MkII, EF 600mm f/4 IS II USM
1.4x III, 840mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 1600

Technique:   Hand Held laying on hillside stalking the red deer herd below me. Waited for them to settle then took a few shots. Checked settings, made corrections and took more shots. 

Processing:    Processed in LRCC.
Corrected the colour, added some sharpening and a little dehaze

Comments/Scores (N, T, P, E, Total)

Critique Image (only members of Study Group Two may critique this image)

Review by Commentator Dan C.

Sounds like a rewarding outing.

Your view successfully shows the bachelor herd and your cropping to a panel helps focus the viewer on the herd.  Technically the image is well handled.

From you title, the combat between the two stags is the main part of your story.  The leading band of stags draws attention away from that action.  It becomes a matter of what is important to you and what you want your viewers to see.  Cropping out the right group of stags focuses on the action itself.  With the image focusing on the action I would have scored the N a 3.

N2, T3, P3, E0, Total 9

Review by Bogdan B.
Andy, it is interesting also to see deers escaping, but I would prefere tighter crop to see the battle more clearly. This action is far more interesting. The image is sharp and good exposed.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Dennis H.
You've certainly captured plenty of action with this image although from a distance a bit hard to see what's going on. I think if you had cropped out the 3 red deer on the r/h/side it would have improved the image.
N-3, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-8

Review by Bruce F.
Like the choice of a panoramic frame. This really enhances the scene. The red deer clearly engaging each other for the pending clash makes this a strong nature story telling image. The habitat is clearly a strong component of the image, adding value. My only concern is that the image has two centers of interest, the group of three with two engaging each other for battle and the other group of three red deer moving off to the right. The image can be divided down the middle to create two separate images. In a situation like this, you take many images and one or two will be the decisive moment of action. I just don’t think this is the best or most decisive moment. The right group of three running and moving out of the frame detracts from the story of pending flight of the two on the left. Why are the running away? Ideally, if they were turn around watching the pending battle of the two about to engage each other, then your mind wouldn’t wander out of the frame and faced this way they would connect to the other group of three. Now there is no connection between the groups, each group show a different story, and that leads to mix messages to the viewer 
N-2, T-3, P-2, E-0, Total-7

Review by Suman B.
good action shot captured. showing habitat of the horde. just that right side is distracting. would crop it if it was of me. crop from top, below and right and may be a 16:9 panoramic format. you can always try new visions.
N-3, T-2, P-2, E-1, Total-8


I was born in Prestwick, Scotland and travelled to many parts of the world with my father who was in the Royal Air Force. Now living in historic village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire, Scotland with my wife Hilary and 'Smokey' the cat. Semi retired construction industry owner and business consultant. Grampian representative of the Royal Photographic Society, member of Brechin Photographic Society. (Est 1888), Dundee Photographic Society and a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge. Much of my photography was aviation photography but about 10 years ago I returned to Wildlife photography, mostly in Scotland, but with trips to Kenya and India.