Despite being surrounded by London’s urban sprawl, Richmond Park has got to be one of the best places in the UK for wildlife photography. There are around 600 wild deer living in the park and they’ve become accustomed to people and traffic, so getting close enough for good photos is a lot easier than in most other places.


Show Full Text

It’s a real privilege to be able to photograph these magnificent Red Deer in a setting as photogenic as Richmond Park, especially when it’s so close to the beating heart of the capital.

More info: samcoppard.com | Facebook | Instagram

Occasionally mist blankets the park first thing in the morning

On a perfect day, the rising sun will break through the mist and bathe the deer in beautiful golden light

On one spectacular morning, a small stag paused to contemplate the sun bursting through the trees above

Female deer (called hinds) are often overlooked in favor of the more impressive stags, but the hinds can be wonderful subjects too

As the temperature drops in the evening, a stag’s warm breath is lit up by the setting sun

I made three separate multi-day visits to capture these images

Wildlife photography is all about the light, so for the best photos I would arrive an hour before sunrise and only leave after sunset

The rut takes place every October. This is where the stags compete for mating rights over a harem of females

The stags regularly bellow out a challenge to their competitors that can be heard up to a mile away

After a few weeks of posturing, chasing females and fighting other stags, some deer become exhausted and can hardly move until they’ve rested

The rut is extremely popular with photographers, and it isn’t hard to see why

But it is hard to believe that one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles in the UK happens in the middle of London

An unusual challenge in Richmond Park is making sure that there are no signs of human presence in the background

And once you’ve made sure there are no fences or buildings in sight, the photos could have been taken anywhere

It’s a surreal experience to stumble through the pre-dawn mist, hearing bellowing stags all around but not being able to see them

Once the sun rises, the scenes could be straight out of a fairy tale

It’s important to remember that these are wild deer that can cause serious damage – this big stag came far too close for comfort

My favorite photos are generally those where the deer is small in the frame anyway, so there’s no reason to risk getting too close

The huge size of the park and its variety of habitats provide endless opportunities for a photographer

And there’s always the possibility that you’ll capture a unique moment

Low morning mist might hide the runners and cyclists, but the urban surroundings are given away by the contrails in the sky

The deer in Richmond Park are always alert, but there are no predators here…

…and fortunately they still have plenty of space to roam