Red Deer Rut Photo Workshop / Tour Report October 2018
If we had to sum up this wildlife photo tour in one word, it would be memories. In two days we made so many great memories. Memories of incredible encounters, memories of stunning lights, memories of new friendships. Our 6 participants had an unforgettable weekend with our guides Jonathan and Corentin.
We started the tour mid-morning on saturday from our accommodation, a traditional and beautiful bed and breakfast located in a typical village of the area. We always try to find small and authentic accommodations.
Arriving at our first location, the weather was very foggy. We could not see further than 80 meters away. The fog was thick and totally hiding the beautiful landscapes. The whole area was under the same weather so we could not change location at the last minute. We sticked to our plan hoping it would evolve positively. After a good joyful pique-nique, we hiked for about 45 minutes to reach a stunning spot where we planned to hide and hopefully see Red Deers. On our way up we spotted a beautiful Chamois.
But then, after 3 hours of hide, we only spotted a Red Fox, a flock of Ring Ouzels and a few other birds. No deers to watch or photograph. Just a few rut calls.
Despite this difficult start, our participants and guides stayed motivated and hopeful for the rest of the workshop. On the way down back to the cars, the fog lifted just a little bit and Corentin spotted a big herd of Red Deers on a slope, with one male and about 15 females!
We watched these beautiful Red Deers for about 30 minutes, then we left them alone and headed back to our accommodation. The apero and dinner were fantastic. 100% of the products there are homemade. Everybody had a lot of fun and the fit in the group was obvious.
On sunday morning, we had a delicious early breakfast and the drove to our second location making sure we would arrive a little bit before sunrise. The sky was clear and everybody was highly motivated.
Very soon after we started our hike, we could see our first Red Deers, both males and females, and we could also hear rut calls coming from several directions. A moment later, we stopped walking as we saw a small herd of Red Deers walking on the edge of the mountain with the sun rising behind them. A truly magical scene.
From the same spot, we could see more Red Deers coming up the mountain’s edge on another side. Everybody got the chance to make great images.
With our minds already blown, we started to walk again. Corentin and Jonathan wanted to try a slow and long approach on another herd they spotted higher on the mountain. With everybody strictly respecting their ethics, the group was able to see these stunning stags:
Further up, more Red Deers came to our sight, including two males who got into an impressive fight.
On another side of the mountain, the silhouette of a Chamois showed up on the edge.
This first part of the day was absolutely incredible and full of encounters to say the least. At the end of the morning, the fog came in the valley. As everybody was already hungry, we had a great snack and then walked down back to our cars. Due to these challenging conditions, Corentin and Jonathan decided to drive a bit further and offer our participants the chance to check a third and last location where the weather could possibly be better.
The idea there was to scan the hill in front of us with our binoculars and hopefully see more Red Deers. Corentin quickly spotted a first one, Jonathan a second one.
But it is then our participant Jean-Baptiste who spotted another male Red Deer for what turned out to be probably the most beautiful scene of the entire workshop. Everybody stayed in total awe for the next 30 minutes. Admiring the beauty of this Red Deer settled in this magical fall scene.
Enjoying a great pique-nique, the mood was so incredible that everybody kept making images.
Time finally came to end this memorable Red Deer rut photo workshop and drive back home. Happy group!
But this was without a last sighting of an immature Golden Eagle spotted from the car. ! :)
We were extremely happy to hear the feedback and see the bright eyes and smiley faces of our participants when saying goodbye. This is the most precious thing to us.