Whitetail in Golden Velvet

Hi All,

First post in wildlife. I generally shoot birds, but I dabble in larger, hairier subjects from time to time too. Will try to post in here more often.

My wife and I went to Shenandoah over the long weekend. For this big fella, I arrived a little before sunrise with a silhouette shot in mind. It took a bit of hustling through a thick briar patch and then a patient approach, but I was lucky to get this shot lined up just as the sun topped the mountain. The encounter lasted all of one minute and eighteen seconds, and then he disappeared. Glad I got what I did.

In post, I cropped in a bit from the right to balance the comp., ran a curves adjustment on the deer to darken it a touch, added a very slight vignette, sharpened the deer, and ran some NR on the BG. All C&C welcome.

500mm f/4, handheld
ISO 640

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A lovely capture! I find the composition and BG very pleasing. It’s purely a matter of interpretation, but there is room to explore a little less red in the overall color cast, and possibly a little (just a little) more detail in the deer itself. But that is merely suggestion, not criticism.

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Diane stole my word. Lovely.

It all works well for me. I think my own preference would be to move the subject a bit right in the frame (I’d likely crop from the right a smidge), but otherwise, it’s hard for me to nitpick. For me, because you have good definition in the rim lighting, the detail in the deer itself isn’t all that important.


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With the image you conveyed the subject and your feelings about the minute with the gorgeous buck and the light. Splendid as is!

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I agree that the rim lighting helps to make this lovely picture, but I would be interested to see a little less saturation overall.

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Thanks, all. Really appreciate the feedback. I’m still a little too close to this one to be objective. Need to give it a little more time and then revisit. Not too surprised about the comp. and sharpening suggestions. Both of those issues have been nagging at me in the back of my mind. I love the environment, so I was inclined to keep the comp. loose, but doing so lends a little imbalance. I’ll see if I can live with that imbalance long term. I went back and sharpened the deer again. I think it helps. Wound up using something like a radius of 0.5 and an amount of 120. I’ve never had to sharpen a subject that much. Regarding the color, this is nearly straight out of camera. Think I added 10 points of saturation in RAW, but going back down to zero doesn’t have much of an effect. Not sure there’s much to do there. The resharpened version is below if anyone is interested. Thanks again!

Welcome to wildlife !
A stunning capture, which can compel you to shoot wildlife more often !
I just love the colors, you may add a touch more canvas at the bottom.

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Gorgeous image Lyle!

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First, this image is all about the capture. You were fortunate to find this whitetail and did a good job with the hand held long heavy lens. I have this lens too and would appreciate any tips on how you hold it still.
I just read and viewed @Ed_McGuirk 's article on fog. You capture and utilize it well in the background here. The backlighting is excellent providing crisp contrast to the effective blurriness in the image. I too would try less saturation to put the emphasis more on the deer rather than on the color. Excellent image, Lyle.

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Lyle: this is an excellent capture in all respects. I like the strong tonality and the rim lighting of the buck. Congrats!. Richard

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Thanks, Larry. For tips on handholding the lens, I try to anticipate action and hold the lens for short-ish periods. When I have the lens up, I try and brace my elbow against me body. Otherwise, you just try and hang on until the action happens!

Thanks, Lyle. Your method is what I do also. I also shoot a burst of images, hoping for one sharp one composed as I set it up. I think practice is key. Realizing you are on the East coast, it is eerie knowing the that the orange color looks like what is going on with the western wild fires.

What a wonderful capture Lyle. Agree with the positive comments above. well done!