Kananaskis Wildlife: Winter Stags

A chilly morning in West Bragg Creek gilded all the tall grass and tree boughs with hoar frost emphasizing the hold winter now has on Kananaskis Country.  I wandered around a few trails before finding this muscular stag walking steadily through a field.

He watched me closely for  a minute, pausing to check me over, before carrying on through the snow parallel to the path before crossing and bounding up the hill into the forest.

I encountered a second buck as I was heading back to Bragg Creek.  I was driving on Township Road 232 and he was near the fenceline, partially obscured by a stand of reed-like branches.  I was running a bit late and he seemed anxious so I only stayed for a minute to get this image before heading on my way.

97 responses

  1. just in the perfect moment at the perfect time to take this AMAZING PHOTOS of the wild life

    I LOVE THOSE PHOTOS

    December 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    • Thank you for reading the blog and for commenting. All the best in your photography too.

      December 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm

  2. This is the kind of shooting I can appreciate:) Well done. Love the shot of him licking his lips.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:12 am

  3. great

    December 4, 2011 at 11:55 pm

  4. great photos! amazing animals!

    December 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

  5. mcolmo

    Beautiful photos! 🙂

    December 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

  6. Pingback: Blogs | echomeil

  7. A simply stunning series

    November 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  8. These pictures are amazing 🙂

    November 30, 2011 at 5:18 am

  9. Red Toenails

    Your photos made me think of Bambi’s dad. They are regal looking animals. Very picturisque. Thanks.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:06 am

  10. Very nice pictures Chris. I think your website theme also helped increasing the viewing experience. It is perfect.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

  11. Remarkable photos! Love the snowflakes on the eyelashes! . . . Congrats on being “Freshly Pressed”!!

    http://arabianmusings.wordpress.com/

    November 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

  12. Beautiful. Amazing photos!

    November 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

  13. These are really gorgeous. I love the monochromatic treatment (although I know that has more to do with the season). What lens are you using?
    Cheers!

    November 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

    • Hi Jessica – thanks for commenting. I used a Canon 70-200mm F/4 and a 300mm F/4 IS for these images. They are my standard wildlife lenses. I rent the 400mm F/2.8 and 500mm F/4 lenses when I can’t or don’t want to get too close. I will also use the two longer telephotos when I really want to separate the animals from their surroundings.
      Have a great day!
      Chris

      November 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

  14. Gorgeous photos.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

  15. Wow really great pictures 🙂

    November 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

  16. kitkatlikereflexes

    Wow! Great captures! Congrats on an excellent post being FP’ed.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

  17. Beautiful animal! I rarely see males, though the females slept in our yard a lot last year.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:18 am

  18. Chris, congrats on being freshly pressed – well deserved! I’ve been following your blog for several months and always enjoy your photos. I love deer and these photos are absolutely beautiful!

    November 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

  19. sdiekmannphotography

    Beautiful. Nothing more to say!

    November 29, 2011 at 7:07 am

  20. You should enter the ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ competition at the Natural History Museum, London, with these shots. Really stunning and powerful.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:57 am

  21. How perfectly camouflaged he is. The white fur on his throat mimics the white of the grasses behind him. His body color is the same as the background plants. You and Mother Nature: what a team!

    Ronnie

    November 29, 2011 at 5:54 am

  22. i like it so much thanks to share it !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 29, 2011 at 5:53 am

  23. Images were magnificent well done what gorgeous creatures in there natural state benidormhens.com

    November 29, 2011 at 4:39 am

  24. Wow..great pictures! Beautiful 😉

    November 29, 2011 at 4:32 am

  25. perfect picture!!! i like it…..

    November 29, 2011 at 2:20 am

  26. You can be very happy to get so close to it!

    Perfectly wonderful.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:58 am

  27. Really breathtaking shots, what a wonderful creature and pictures

    November 29, 2011 at 12:57 am

  28. Great pics – the blending of the grasses etc with the stag leaving eyes and nose to stand out – lovely images naturally and technically, if I may say 😉

    November 29, 2011 at 12:35 am

  29. This is Nice Blog and in Blog Very nice Pictures really i have not Words that how i described it. Looking too Pretty This Animal in Wildlife.

    November 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

  30. Di'

    Magnificent creature. Superb shots.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

  31. wow…amzing! I love the detail ad clarity. Just amazing shots! I love the snow on it, it’s so cute! 🙂

    http://www.thecameraangle.wordpress.com

    http://www.nevermorepoetry.wordpress.com

    November 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  32. wow….so so so pretty

    November 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  33. great photos! How did you get so close without them being frightened?

    http://www.eartharoundus.wordpress.com

    November 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

  34. Absolutely stunning photos of these gorgeous animals. This is how they’re meant to be shot- with a camera and not a gun. 🙂

    November 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  35. Beautiful pics, especially the third one! I especially love the snow and frost on the deer and the plants. Very cool! I hope the bucks were out of rut before you got within scenting distance of them. Because they are usually so shy, many people forget that deer can be quite dangerous. They’re not so cute when they’re coming at you with hooves and antlers. Congrats on FP! 🙂

    November 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

  36. Some wonderful shots. The second and third ones are my favorites.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  37. You take wonderful pictures. Love you photos.

    Thanks,
    creativewritingforkids,
    http://www.creativewritingforkids.wordpress.com

    November 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

  38. Miss Adventure Photography

    Nice work, its nice to see a healthy young buck like that walking around in the snow.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

  39. What great shots! Yes, you were very close to the animals, but I have had deer in Kananaskis come to within inches of me when I sit quietly. I’ve decided to follow your blog to see what else you will do.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

  40. Love the pics. Awfully gorgeous.

    November 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  41. Beautiful atmospheric and great perspective !

    November 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

  42. Great shots! He looks as if he stuck his head in a snow bank with that bit of snow on his face. He also has some nice, thick fur to keep him warm this winter. I hope it’s not too bad of a winter for the animals!

    November 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

  43. Cave Story

    That’s a really nice closeup shot of the deer!

    November 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  44. Ooh the cute fluffy stag with snow on his face 😛 Really good pictures, but yes, i hope you weren’t as close to him as the pics appear!

    November 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  45. Awesome pictures! Thanks.

    November 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  46. these are great shots-he’s a little scary and love the frost on his face-and congrats at getting on “freshly pressed”

    November 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

  47. Very nice. Thank you for sharing these.

    November 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

  48. Wow! Great photos

    November 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  49. Charlotte Lehman

    Beautiful photos!

    November 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  50. A stunning collection – I’m ‘following’ as a result of seeing this.

    November 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm

  51. Pingback: TEN POSTS FROM OTHER BLOGGERS 29.11.11 « Horiwood's Blog

  52. thank you for sharing these! breathtaking

    November 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  53. Wonderful! Thank you!

    November 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

  54. Wow, he’s obviously in rut! Beautfiul pictures! 🙂

    November 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm

  55. Beautiful photos!

    November 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm

  56. Now that’s the right way to “shoot” deer!

    November 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    • Thanks for commenting – I could not agree with you more.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      November 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm

  57. Roselinde

    Third shot is outstanding!

    November 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

  58. Awesome pictures! We love them whitetails

    November 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

  59. How beautiful! I love your work.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

  60. Wonderful pictures!

    November 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  61. Magnificent photos of a magnificent animal.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

  62. Muy buenas fotos, me gustan los venados o renos.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    • Gracias Manuel – estos son los venados cola blanca. Estoy planeando viajar a Finlandia antes de renos fotografía.

      November 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  63. Great shots!

    November 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  64. Prettylittleraindrops.

    Wow these photos are amazing

    November 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  65. Beautiful photos! They give a great sense of season.

    November 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  66. Gorgeous shots. What a beautiful animal. TY for posting.

    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

    November 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

  67. Ditto all of the above compliments!

    November 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  68. Wow, these are stunning shots. Thanks so much for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    November 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  69. Beautiful pictures..thanks for sharing.. 🙂

    November 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

  70. Very beautiful shots. Lucky you for these photographic treasures and congrats. on being Freshly Pressed. You are nearly a local to me..

    November 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  71. Mari

    Great photos! Makes me think of Bambi..

    November 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  72. Great pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    … following your blog.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  73. These are awesome, Christopher! Listen…I was wondering if you would visit my blog and click the artist tab. I am busy painting a ‘Covenant Series’ here in my studio in Calgary. I need visual references to create my paintings and was wondering if I might use some of your photos as references because I don’t get so close to wildlife to be able to analyse their forms in detail. If you look at my paintings, you will notice that through my medium the animal/fish/bird becomes a completely ‘different’ image, in other words, I just need photo references in order to ‘depict or draw’ animals. I never use a photographer’s image without their permission. Let me know what you think. And regardless, I was excited to bump into your wordpress. Congratulations on that too! :0)

    November 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you for your interest in using my images as a starting point. I’m happy to approve this usage. I have responded to your email directly with specifics.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      November 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  74. Beautiful animals, settings and photos; thanks, and good luck getting more.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm

  75. So beautiful and you truly captured the beauty of not only the stag, but of Kananaskis as well – one of the most beautiful places in Alberta!

    November 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

  76. Huge like! Great shots.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm

  77. I almost hit one just like the third picture last night. Crazy.

    And crazy good shots.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

  78. In two of the pics, it looks like the stags are sticking out their tongues. Is this normal behavior?

    November 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  79. Nice

    November 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

  80. Your photos are magnificent! I was recently on holiday in Italy, in the mountains, and came face to face with a deer, barely three feet away. We both had a shock, as we didn’t expect to bump into each-other in the deserted woods.

    November 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

  81. God makes beautiful creatures. Thanks for sharing the photos. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    November 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

  82. Thanks for “shooting” the buck… haha, good one, right? Great photo and detail of a beautiful creature.

    November 28, 2011 at 11:57 am

  83. Outstanding images.

    November 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

  84. These seriously look staged — so beautiful!

    Although it appears you were a bit close for (my) comfort … checking out that rack on his head, I’d be terrified he’d try to storm me!

    🙂

    November 28, 2011 at 11:50 am

  85. Jan

    Don’t know how you do it, but you have the most magnificent photos on line, and they are cll close to home!!! You can see they are not afraid you your closeness to them, even with a zoom lens… congratulations

    November 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  86. Val

    How close can you get to stags? I’d think they’re a bit aggressive, aren’t they? Lovely photos. Sorry I’ve not visited for a while.

    November 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    • This was my question. Those horns look scary!

      November 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      • it is beautiful!

        November 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    • Hi Val,

      Happy to see you back. I love your “Grape Fairy” image – very beautiful. I hope things are going well for you as we slide into winter.

      Regarding the stags, it is a poor idea to come close to the males when they are in rut. That has ended now in my part of the world so if you are cautious and take your time, the risk of them attacking is significantly reduced. I continue to spend a lot of time watching them, talking with others who know much more than I do and reading as much as I can on these and other local animal behaviours. When I meet up with wildlife, I usually take one or two quick pictures with a long lens from a fair distance and then see how the animal reacts. If they are calm, then I will usually walk parallel to them and see if that changes their mood. The ears and the eyes usually tell the story. With deer, the tails are a strong indication as well – up and they are wary, down and they are unconcerned (generally speaking). When it all comes together, I can end up with a moose or deer walking towards me and grazing on a bush just a few paces away. I’m not an expert but I have spent a lot of time studying several of the local animals so I feel comfortable in these situations. The obvious cautions are that wild animals are unpredictable and if a person hasn’t put the time in to learn about the animals beforehand, walking up to them is a very bad idea. I’m really happy when I can get close enough to use a shorter telephoto lens and then I try to show them within their environment – there is a different look from the long lenses where the animal fills the frame that I like for my images.

      Take care Val,

      Chris

      November 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

  87. A wonderful series and nice text.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  88. very nice images! It looks cold, too.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    • Wacky Jokes and Pics

      Yes I agree, love it!

      November 29, 2011 at 3:11 am

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