GARDEN 70 – MUNTJAC

 

 


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Muntjac stag relaxing at the bottom of our garden.  We have a long back garden.  This green space is largely “natural”, that is, untended,  save for occasional forays with a voracious petrol lawn mower lovingly known as The Destructor; and other forays with other vicious blades when the various trees and shrubs threaten Total World Domination.  But, other than that, the garden is left much to itself and, as it backs out onto a suburban wilderness, the bottom of our garden is largely a quiet, secluded, sheltered place.  Badgers and Foxes call in, and we often see tiny (roughly Fox-sized) deer called Muntjac, that have been introduced to the UK from China.

Muntjacs are mainly active at night, but during the day they are also to be seen in secluded places – and we are happy that they consider the bottom of our garden such a safe spot during the hours of dangerous daylight.  On Sunday, a pair were resting in the tangles at the garden’s end.  The doe was largely invisible, but the stag more in view.

Sitting beside me, I had the D800 camera attached to the love of my life, the 70-300 Nikkor zoom, and the more I looked at this distant deer looking back at me, the more I thought “photo!“.  The small animal was for sure a long way off and semi-obscured too, but because the D800 has so many pixels, its possible to use its sensor reduced to APS-C format, which still provides enough pixels for a reasonable image – whilst multiplying the focal length of full-frame lenses by x1.5.  So the long end of my zoom, 300mm, became a very useful 450mm – times 9 magnification – and, handheld, I was in business!

I opened the lens aperture to its widest and ramped the ISO up to 6,400 to try to avoid camera shake and, bracing myself against a wall, started taking pictures through the closed kitchen window. The camera’s autofocus became confused by the vegetation’s tangles – and so to manual focusing.  But although recognisable, these images were softened by the light’s passage through the window’s double glazing.  These deer are notoriously timid and flighty and opening the window seemed unwise but, very carefully, slowly and quietly I did it – and the stag remained still.

And here he is, with his small, swept back antlers.  He has little tusks on his upper jaw too, but even if the bottom of his face were not obscured, these can be hard to see.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Bristol; 7 Jan 2018.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

11 Responses to GARDEN 70 – MUNTJAC

  1. There’s something really special about having wildlife in your own back yard. I’m glad you were able to catch this one with your camera. You sent me off Googling, Adrian. In case anyone else would like to know more about these deer, which the British Deer Society has predicted will soon be the most numerous deer species in England, here’s a link to the the British Deer Society site: https://www.bds.org.uk/index.php/advice-education/species/muntjac-deer, and here’s another relevant link: http://stagantlers.co.uk/deer-antlers/muntjac/.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Linda, thank you very much indeed for these very informative links – my knowledge of Muntjacs has certainly increased! Introduced or nor, we love to see these deer – as we love to see the Grey Squirrels, which have been introduced from the States. Muntjacs are probably doing well here because they are small (Fox-sized), they like dense habitats, and they are mainly active at night. We also see the larger (and native) Roe Deer occasionally, but because these are larger, they have a rather harder time fitting into suburbia, although they are by no means rare around here. Thanks again! Adrian 🙂

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  2. bluebrightly says:

    What a peculiar animal; I am not familiar with it. The fact that it’s so shy makes this a good catch…and do I understand that you used your Nikon lens on your Fuji, i.e. with an adapter? No, I see that’s wrong. Something tricky about the camera itself, well, good! Sorry to bombard you with comments all at once, but I was away from blogging for a week, so there you go.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Always good to hear from you, Lynn >>> singly or by broadside!!! 😉 The D800 has a full-frame sensor (ie the size of a 35mm negative), but using only a part of this pixel-packed sensor still gives good photos – and makes my telephotos longer – its a very useful thing. No, at the moment, Fuji cameras accept few lenses of other makes. A 🙂

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      • bluebrightly says:

        Broadside! 😉 That’s it. At first I was thinking you’d used an adapter to fit the Nikon lens on the Fuji, but then I realized otherwise. I hadn’t known the Nikon had a function that allows you to do that – pretty cool!

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          I think there are adapters for Fujis, but they do not give full autofocus etc facilities, which is a complete no-no for me. Many full-frame Nikons have this ability, but it is only really useful on those with high megapixel counts – I think the D800 = 36MP. 🙂

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  3. Well I know more about your backyard and Muntjac than I ever would have figured. Cute fella and great capture, bud! ❤️ATP❤️

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  4. paula graham says:

    How wonderful to have these in your garden…I never see them around this area…most folk hate deer as they eat the roses . Roe deer come to my jungle to eat roses ! and rose hips..they are so shy.

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      We’ve has Roe Deer here occasionally too – and, as you say, eating roses! – they’re quite widespread in Bristol’s suburbs, at least on the south of the city. But the habitat behind our house is getting denser now, and Muntjacs like that – I hear them barking at night sometimes. A 🙂

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