Photo skills: How I took this stag image

Wildlife Photographer of the Year category winner Michel d’Oultremont reveals how he captured this amazing shot. 

‘Forest stag’ by Michel d'Oultremont, Belgium
© Michel d'Oultremont


Michel d’Oultremont won the Rising Star Portfolio Award in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 competition with his brilliant image ‘Forest stag’. 

The Belgian photographer spent 20 minutes on a chilly October evening standing in ice-cold water hoping that the stag who had been bellowing for hours would appear.

He says, “Patience is the key because although you can plan for the image before the shoot you often have to wait a very long time to see an animal. For me, it is not a chore but a pleasure.”

Michel believes there were five or six rutting stags in the vicinity that created a very intense sound show. “I go to the same place each year but it is never easy to choose the right location. Fortunately on that day it all came together to make a nice image,” says the young lensman.  

Michel explained that when he captured ‘Forest stag’ the light was fading, which created the dark atmosphere. The natural element of the tree in the foreground helped make the scene even more obscure. 

Equipment specification Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 500mm f4 lens; 1/400 sec at f4; ISO 400; aquatic hide.


  • I think photographers should not get too overwhelmed by technology and instead follow their instincts and feelings about an image at that moment in time. 
  • Make the most of what nature offers to help your photography. 
  • Have patience with your photography and make sure you enjoy it. 

See more fantastic photos by Michel d'Oultremont. 

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