Tip #59: Trust Your Instincts

April 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

White-tailed_deer_buck_18White-tailed_deer_buck_18A white-tailed deer buck (Odocoileus virginianus) runs through a snowy field of grasses during a fall snow storm at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colorado I frequently tell attendees in my workshops and presentations that the best thing you can do to get the action you want when photographing wildlife is to be patient, wait and trust your instincts.
 

When we see an animal, we want to chase them, follow them to wherever they might be going.
 

But my recommendation is to observe and watch what the animal wants to do. Is it during the rut so that the white-tail bucks will follow the does? Is it shortly after burrowing owls have arrived back to the area and are getting ready to mate? Is it the peak of the summer months when the bison are hoping to escape the heat of the hot sun?
 

A buck will always follow the does during the rut. The burrowing owls will always pick a favorite burrow where they will fly in to copulate and spend time with their mate. Bison will typically want to escape the hot summer sun by retreating to the shade or to water.
 

Understanding what goals an animal has will help you know where they will be going.
 

Just before taking this photo of a white-tailed buck, three does had crossed the road in front of me. My initial thought, lead by my trigger finger, was to follow the does and see where they might be going. But my instinct reminded me that it was the middle of the rut season in Colorado; a buck had to be nearby. So I patiently waited in my car near the spot where the does crossed the road. And sure enough, here came the buck, galloping through the grasses and sage in hot pursuit of his girls.
 

So trust your instincts that something more might be happening. Read the situation and don't listen to that happy trigger finger.
 

 

 


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