The Deer Park at Studley Royal near Ripon, North Yorkshire, is home to over 500 wild Red, Fallow and Sika deer¹. If you like wildlife photography, you therefore have a good chance of getting some decent images. The site is large, so be prepared for lots of walking to find your subjects. For my visit, I arrived in time for sunrise in the hope there would be some nice early morning light on the deer.
It is not difficult to find the deer. The challenge is to get close enough to photograph them, without disturbing the deer or endangering either them or yourself. My stalking skills need improvement, but my technique involved slowly approaching and standing still once the deer noticed me. Once they returned to their feeding, I approached again. I could then get some reasonable images when zoomed in (a telephoto lens is required regardless). I took care not to get near the males and not to stand in between the male and his harem. As much as I like deer, I don’t fancy being chased by one!
The day I chose to visit I was very lucky with the light. My favourite photos of the morning are the backlit group of deer grazing on the brow of a hill (main photo above). I was also pleased with this family group posing for me:
I spent a few hours photographing the groups of deer and recommend the Deer Park at Studley Royal for any wildlife photography enthusiasts. Even if you are only an amateur like me, you have a reasonable chance of getting something you’re proud of!
Here are some of the photos from my visit:
|Approximate post code (for sat nav)||HG4 3AY|
|Parking||I recommend parking at the Lakeside Car Park. To access this car park, go through the small village of Studley Roger and drive through the gateway (use the post code above). Be aware that this entrance opens at 6am. If you arrive early, you will find the entrance blocked by bollards. These will retract automatically around 6am. There is a parking charge (currently £6 all day – National Trust members free). This is the entrance:
This is the location of the Deer Park at Studley Royal:
Notes for next time
- Try to head to the eastern end for sunrise to avoid shooting into the light
- Wear wellies! The ground is wet early in the morning!
- Visit on a foggy morning for some atmospheric shots
¹ National Trust, Exploring further at Fountains Abbey [accessed 12 November 2016] https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey-and-studley-royal-water-garden/features/exploring-further-at-fountains-abbey