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The Winner Takes It All

The Winner Takes It All
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul Haynes (PaulH) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-21
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS400D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, UV + Circ. Polar.
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-10-22 10:27
Viewed: 3546
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

this is further to my post from yesterday at Richmond Park, London. These two younger Stags were testing each others strength to see which one would challenge the dominant male, who was keeping a keen eye on the pair.
It wasn't a particularly violent encounter as i have seen before, but watching how close the tips of their Antlers came to their eyes made me wince a bit. Unfortunately they seemed intent on staying in the shade so conditions for shooting weren't the best, but hopefully you can get an idea what this scene was like.

(Those black specks are hovering fly's by the way)

There alot of information already written about Red Deer on TN, so here's a little about their weapons, the Antlers:

Antlers are the large and complex horn-like appendages of male deer, consisting of bony outgrowths from the head with no covering of keratin as is found in true horns. Each antler grows from an attachment point on the skull called a pedicle. While an antler is growing it is covered with highly vascular skin called velvet, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone; once the antler has achieved its proper size, the velvet is lost and the antler's bone dies. This dead bone structure is the mature antler. Antlers shed after each mating season.

Shot in RAW, adjusted curves a tad, converted to JPEG, resized and sharpened.

Thanks for looking

matthew, joey, fartash, Juyona, writerscrawlz, horia, nglen, VeeJayCee, Jamesp, gracious, mlines, eqshannon, marhowie, SunToucher, Argus, rousettus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

lovely shot paul you have captured a good moment with these young stags, i have a lot of deer by me but they are so reclusive the only time they are out is when it is dark, any other time they are well hidden so congrats on a great shot.


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-10-22 10:47]

Hi Paul,
another excellent action shot!
The POV really shows how powerful these two young stags were.
Your Sigma lens produces some awesome shots.
+++ Very sharp with excellent detail especially in the fur. Perfect POV and a good composition.
Outstanding DOF especially seeing as you were quite far away from these two rutting males.
You've also made the best of the awkward lighting.
Great notes that were very informative.
--- Nothing what-so-ever :)
Very well done,

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-10-22 11:21]

Wonderful shot!
Good sharp and detail, interesting momet captured. Thanks for sharing

Hi Paul
Nice ation shot!

Hello Paul
Perfect moment to shoot,
Great focusing,exposure and BG,Welldone.


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-10-22 12:40]

Hola Paul,
original momento y sensacional captura,
buenos detalles y pov,

What an incredible sight! Gads, I'm jealous. Great action, nice details of the head, and I can almost hear the grunts from the two. The lighting is great, but as far as composition, you got one of the best natural ones to hope for.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-10-22 13:18]

Hi Paul

Yes, this is agreat photo, too, but one that personally i can't compare with the other one, artisticly speaking.
In the other one you had mood given by the lonely subject, its surroundings and the soft warm light. Here, you have action, vigor and stamina, feromons and, implicitly, danger. Even if they were young and the fight wasn't that serious, you managed to capture all those emotions in your shot.
The details here are superb. Despite the fact that you used the same DOF, the subjects here are in perfect focus and both of them are as clear as they get in such a scene.
The fact that they are in the shade, made it hard for you to work with, but you did most admirably, containg a beautiful spectrum of colors and allowing just the right amount of light to pass through the iris of your camera.
Splendid work!


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-10-22 13:33]

Hi Paul.
You have done so well knowing the light the two deer were in. your sharp focusing has given good detail and natural colours. as you say only play fighting but geting ready for the big one next yeay maybe.well done TFS.

Hi Paul. As you say in your notes, the fights are more like friendly wrestling matches right now - handbags at 5 paces. However your image does show how even these soft fights can cause harm to a weaker stag and even to the eventual winner. This is sharp and well exposed with good colour. I was there myself Saturday but left as the frost melted and the mist dissipated. Your lens has done a good job here. How do find it in use, any problems?


Great action shot.
The comp and detail are done very nicely.


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-10-22 19:40]

Hello Paul,
Very nice capture, this two bucks are very entertained
to pose, but you managed it very well. Great POV, DOF
and composition.. Very well done


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-10-22 22:34]

Hi Paul

Wonderful shor - great action with great detail and a beautiful BG.


Hello Paul,
Good DOF on the two stags with golden sunlight on the bg!
perfect sharpness, natural colour and so much details
well done and thanks for the notes

Hi Paul, This is a real animalistic composition. These animals have perhaps done this before man walked on earth and likely will do it after we have gone. I love this shot. TFS. Murray.

Let me add this...
Richmond Park, at almost 1000 hectares (2500 acres), is the largest Royal Park in London and is home to around 650 free roaming deer. The pastoral landscape of hills, woodlands, ponds, gardens and grasslands set amongst ancient trees offers a peaceful respite to visitors. The Park is designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

I wondered a bit about this place....from your last shot as well. Quite unusual seeing such things in London it would seem to me. Now my Turnbull is 16,000 acres and it is more of "in a county" than in a city. Yesterdays drive through it I saw no other person or car for miles. and miles..and no pone coverage.
But in London this must be a prized gem of a place to visit. My goodness I would spend half my days there in order to get such images as you have here in the last two. It is totally fascinating. I love it. What a blessing you have there...Very well done and super educational as well. Thanks much Paul.
US West

Hi Paul,
Great post showing the young stags head-butting behavior nicely..Very good sharpness/detail, and you managed the exposure well here.
Well done!

Hi Paul,
It looks like the lens is capable of a pretty high quality photo. The details, colors and bokah are wonderful.
Love the typical season action you captured here. It almost looks like a scene from South Africa vs. England. (sorry) The details and the clarity on the head are particullary good.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-10-24 7:48]

Hello Paul,
Excellent capture of a pair of young sparring Red Deer stags caught at a good moment with fine light management in the shade. Superb sharpness and fine composition. Good note too.
Well done and TFS!

Nice capture, with perfect timing.
Good composition

Hi Paul,
I saw many nice post in your portfolio. This is one of best, I like. Perfect capture of competition action. Even if small flies are visible since nice details and sharpness. Great POV/DOF, lighting and timing. Nicely composed. TFS
well done

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-12-10 3:14]

Hi Paul, another great Rutting action shot. Even in shadow the pair look good and detail can be see clearly. You have a great pov on the heads and Antlers. Great shot.

Calibration Check