Jolly frustrating deer (muntjac?) spot, a Canon EOS5 and mad aperture

14 02 2010

Well, it could have been so wonderful. But it wasn’t.

I was in a taxi tonight on the way home when, what should bound on to the road but a deer of some sort. It was the size of a dog and I’d guess it was a muntjac but I don’t know for sure. It had a wolf grey look, but that could have been the light.

Anyway sadly, because of the situation, I couldn’t get a photo, let alone stop the car and look around so that was that. Drat.

It was uplifting and depressing at the same time!

Also, I’ve now got the loan of two more cameras… both film. I intend to do B&W stuff on an old Canon compact and I’m also borrowing an EOS5 which is rather snazzy. But I did find myself checking the back constantly to see the (non-existent) photo preview!

I’m having lens dilemmas, too – i.e. whether to trade in my Eighties era 50mm 1.8 Nikkor (pictured below) for a newer version of the same lens or keep it and save up for a zoom. Now I’ve used such a fast ‘un (lens that is) there’s no way I’m doing without. 1.8 is a mad aperture, truly!

More soon…

I promise.

Here’s a quick D70 self-portrait with Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens from about 1980…


Finally… Nikon D70 and palpable progress

24 11 2009

Well, it’s been a while. The truth is, all I’ve been doing about Project Deerstalker (as it shall be known from now on) is browsing the web trying to buy a camera.

Should I spend £200? £300? Even £400 or more of my hard-earned cash on this mad, marvellous mission?

Well, Christmas is coming – I’ve been a good boy and, until a few days ago, I had resolved to treat myself to a Nikon D3000, the new entry level DSLR.

But… there’s always a but!… within a few hours of each other two things happened.

A) I read an iffy review of it by the ace Ken Rockwell

B) I spotted a secondhand Nikon D40 – the camera I originally liked the look of – for sale on the website of my local camera shop at a pretty good price.

Anyway, long story short, I went to the shop in the mood to spend and the D40 had been sold – but they had a Nikon D70 which I ended up buying. Spending lots less than that new fangled D3000 I had my eye on!

And it’s fabulous – and I’m a very happy boy.

Even though it’s not quite Christmas, I thought, what the hell – I paid for the think, so I’ll tinker with it whenever I like. Tinker I have. In fact tinker, tweak, twiddle and, of course, take photos.

I now, I think, have a bit of understanding of (deep breath) aperture, shutter speed, bracketing, exposure, ISO, white balance, RAW image files and a few other bits and pieces.

So far I’ve been taking family shots and playing around with abstract bits and pieces. In fact I’m going to upload some pics in a sec.

But (yes another one of those buts) I won’t have chance to go deerhuntin for while – probably until 2010, which is a shame. I will, though be going to the zoo in a couple of weeks and you can be sure I’ll be snapping away (do you say ‘snapping’ when you’re trying to sound like a serious-ish photographer? Probably not!).

In the meantime, I’ve got a bit more kit to get – bag, tripod, shutter remote control – then I plan to start researching zoom lenses. Do I need one to get my longed-for deer shots? What sort? How much?

But at least, with a camera on my desk and a little bit of knowledge starting to stick in my brain, I can call myself a photographer of sorts.


Camera thoughts

20 10 2009

RIGHT – been doing a bit of research and thinking that for a beginner like me, a Nikon D40 (or maybe D40x) camera would be the way forward. Don’t want to spend too much but don’t want to spend too little either, so have to do some pondering!

Palpable progress…

19 10 2009

WELL I still don’t have a proper camera, but after a bit of research (cheers Google!) I feel a bit more confident about the task ahead.

I’ve discovered that Thetford Forest, which sprawls across the border of Suffolk and Norfolk in East Anglia has munjac, roe and a few red deer. Better still, the forest isn’t that far from where I live.

I haven’t been before but they do camping as well so good possibility for family weekends there once spring arrives – by which time I might have got a camera sorted out!

All in all – things are looking up.

By the way, I now know there are six breeds of deer in the UK: red and roe, which are native to the country, and fallow, muntjac, sika and chinese water deer.

Now to find a camera…

Lots of lovely info…

15 10 2009

BINGO! Just found this fantastic page of info by the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) –

Good start to my homework!

What it’s all about…

12 10 2009
A lonely stag (by Adrian Hickmott)

A Lonely Stag - by Adrian Hickmott

THIS blog is, if I’m honest, inspired by a Robert De Niro film.

The Deerhunter was about Vietnam. But it was also about men piling into a car, going somewhere remote and stalking deer. That appeals to me. Surviving, and tracking a majestic animal on his own turf.

But put all thoughts of killing out of your head. Because another inspiration was Alan Clarke. Yes, the late Tory minister and diarist who also happened to be a vegetarian and an animal lover. Someone once said of him “Alan doesn’t just act like a shit – he is a shit”. But his hatred of the killing of beautiful animals has stayed with me.

So this blog is about my quest to take a good photo – good enough to publish in a newspaper – of every breed of deer in the UK. This is not going to happen overnight. I don’t have an SLR camera. And I don’t know what breed of deer live on the UK.

There we are, then – it may take decades but I will chronicle it all here and hope there are people out there who can advise me…

What have I let myself in for?