I don't usually start trying to photograph the deer rut until into October but after some awful weather in late September I wanted to get out and shoot. Fortunately I had booked a day off from work on Monday 29th September and after heavy rain the day before the morning was forecast to be clear and cold-perfect for mist and golden light.
The night before I also managed to convince my middle son (aged 16) to come with me and, to my surprise, he was dressed and ready at 5:30am for the trip to Bradgate Park.
As we arrived I wasn't hopeful-normally you can hear the roar of the reds resounding around the hills as you walk in but this morning was very quiet. However just before sun-up we saw a mature red with several hinds nearby. I was able to get reasonably close as he was near to the public footpath. With an 800mm equivalent focal length on my camera I was able to get this portrait.
The hinds meanwhile were gathered together in the rising sun...
Then the stag suddenly began to walk off. I took some photos of him as he went. My son then told me that a bigger stag was approaching the hinds and he clearly wasn't in the mood to contest them.