Check out this long lens setup for wonderful wildlife photos

Put some spring into your step and capture roe deer, says Ben Sutcliffe
Roe deer captured using a Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR (Image credit: Ben Sutcliffe)

I grew up in the south of England, close to the South Downs National Park where creatures such as roe deer and brown hares were my main focus. It was here at just aged 10 that I first picked up a Nikon D80 DSLR and started taking images of the wildlife I spotted on my walks in the countryside. Now over a decade later, it’s fair to
say that I have improved a lot since then. 

The peak season for photographing roe deer is between the months of May and September, in the run-up to their annual rut, and for a short while after. It can take weeks before you get the shots you want and you normally only learn by making mistakes. Please remember that the animal’s welfare is paramount: as wildlife photographers, we should always strive to document our subject’s behavior rather than disrupt it. 

Do you photograph wildlife? You need to STOP tagging your location

Ben's top 3 tips for capturing roe deer

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR - with puffin for scale! (Image credit: Ben Sutcliffe)

Shoot with a telephoto lens 

Shooting on my Nikon D4, I tend to only use prime lenses. I mainly shoot with
a Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR; this helps me to keep my distance but also provides excellent clarity and exceptional bokeh when I am closer to my subjects.

(Image credit: Ben Sutcliffe)

Choose an appropriate aperture

Open your aperture all the way to f/4 or f/2.8 (or whatever your lens allows) – it will help soften your background, create separation from the subject and allow you to shoot at lower ISOs, which will reduce image noise. 

(Image credit: Ben Sutcliffe)

Get on level terms

Try getting down to eye level with your subject – this will give you a more interesting angle and a much better connection to the animal. It will also improve your depth of field by producing a softer background, ultimately creating a more pleasing image. And knee pads are an excellent accessory!  

(Image credit: Ben Sutcliffe)

Check out How to use a 500mm lens to photograph wary wildlife, be sure to look at the Common wildlife photography mistakes (and how to avoid them), and don't forget the best camera for wildlife photography

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