Buck with Wounds


Wounded Warrior

Daily photo

The eye on our right side is wounded in some way-it looks blind in closeups.  Because of the short horn on that side, I believe the buck was probably wounded during mating season about a month ago.  Although he is otherwise healthy, there is a good chance that he will be prey before the winter is out.  Nature isn’t merciful.

I try not to anthropomorphize but he seems quietly dignified–understanding his plight but not agonized about it.


For photographers, I’m not even going to try and pretend that bokeh was intentional or that the shot is particularly good but sometimes, for me, the story is more important than the quality of the image.

And a hat tip to Kitty for explaining why bokeh is important when I have scorned it.



  • I like your observations on this buck. Very insightful, and animal-lover that I am, I think they are probably true.

    I really like the look of your site! It’s probably the most awesome design I’ve seen since I started blogging last July.

    How long have you had this blog?

    I put you on my favorite blog roll today.

  • Thanks, Dave. I started blogging a little over a year ago.

  • Great shot Kym, you got half bokeh, lol! I find that my best shots are when I least expect them and when I’m not so worried about the technicalities.

    Injuries and all, he’s still a very handsome and hearty looking buck. We had a little forked horn, doe and her fawn in our orchard the other day. I was kicking myself in the butt that I didn’t get a shot of that but I was running out the door when I first noticed them.

  • He is a very handsome specimen. It must be very comforting to be able to commune with nature in the manner that you enjoy. I’ve only ever been so close to deer on two occasions and in neither instance did I have a camera. Drat.

    Regarding bokeh……it is interesting that you state how the story is more important than the image. With the effective use of bokeh one can increase the message of the story by focusing the viewer’s attention upon what is most important in the image. The sharp focus of the buck and all else being out of focus ensures that we, your readers, ‘see’ only the buck and not the plant life behind him.

    And getting or avoiding bokeh is rather easy…..the smaller your f/stop number the larger the opening of the aperture. This allows for the greater distortion of both foreground and background items when compared to your focus point. If you wished to intentionally keep more foreground/background items in focus then you would shift to a higher f/stop number (smaller aperture opening). This of course, means that less light is coming into the camera and will drop your shutter speed, so this method doesn’t work well in low-light conditions or with subjects that are prone to move.

    (hope this isn’t telling you something you already know – if so, my apologies)

  • Gosh you are so lucky to have all this natural beauty around you.
    A photographers heaven.

    This buck must have busted the left side of his head. Poor dear.

    And yes, lovely bokeh.

  • Great photo. I can see this one on a wildlife calendar. And thank for pointing me to Kitty’s blog.

  • That eye looks painful, poor guy. Still a regal looking creature.

    Forkboy, I don’t know about Kym, but I appreciate the explanation about f/stops. I love bokeh. 😉

  • I think you captured the important moment.
    As a writer, I know there are times a story can be “crafted” to the detriment of the story. Correct grammar, flowery description, rigid structure can, at times, ruin a story not improve it.
    Early on, I was told to learn the rules so I can break them. I don’t know anything about photography, but your pictures always move me. Always.

  • I didn’t even notice his eye until you mentioned it; I was admiring his regal appearance.

    I just figured out what bokeh means myself.

  • When my cat was dieing from kidney failure you’d have never guessed how bad he was because he woudn’t stop eating and he was picking on the dogs and his brothers up until the day before he died.

    Someone told me it was because he was the ‘top cat’ and didn’t want to show weakness, I think it was more then that and this picture reminded me of him and the way he carried himself.

    I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.

  • Sandi, I still have several shots that I was too busy to get that haunt me. If I had tried and been unsatisfied, I would have forgotten them by now.

    Forkboy, This was a great explanation but..(this is embarrassing) what ARE fstops. I keep hearing about them and I have no clue. (When you have picked yourself off the floor and quit laughing be gentle, I cry easy.)

    Kitty, I am so lucky!

    Silverstar, you will enjoy her. Wait til she gets going on cajun stuff or when she does a video about stealing signs.

    Toni, he is still regal. I kind of picture him like Marie Antonette going to the gallows looking aware of death facing her but not wallowing in her grief.

    Jen, I think I need to learn the rules first–like what is a fstop.

    Elizabeth, I didn’t notice his eye or his horn til I got the picture home.

    Anita, it doesn’t sound wierd. That is exactly how the deer seems to me–some sort of dignity.

  • What a beautiful animal. I’m so glad you captured his grace and dignity on camera!

  • Kym- the f-stops are those little numbers you see in the bottom of your rangefinder that have an F in front of them. They indicate how big an aperture you are leaving for the light to travel through. And they run bass-ackward. The bigger the number, the smaller the hole. If you are in bright sun, you want to have a small hole, so you set the F-stop high. In dim light you want a big hole, so you set the F-stop low. Go back and read the first link in this post, it kind of explains it. And there’s a totally tedious explanation here.
    Someday you should set your camera on manual and just play with it. You can play with F-stops by setting it on the A.

  • Yep….silverstar98121 pretty much sums it up. But don’t think that you have to select a higher f/stop number (which corresponds to a smaller actual aperture (opening)) when shooting in sunlight. Doing so can decrease your shutter speed, which wouldn’t be helpful for a moving object. Plus, if you are trying to get strong bokeh you won’t.

    If I recall correctly (and keep in mind I’m just as much an amateur as you), the amount of light coming through to your camera’s sensor is halved or doubled with each change in f/stop, depending upon which direction you are going. There is a great way to see this in action….set your camera to Aperture priority, and your f/stop to the lowest number (corresponds to the largest opening of the aperture) and depress your shutter halfway and make note of what shutter speed your camera selects. Then change the f/stop to the next number up and redepress the shutter release half way and note the new shutter speed. All other things being equal the shutter speed should now be one-half of what it was on the first f/stop.

    There is also a nice experiment that I tried when I first purchased my camera that helped me visualize how bokeh worked in conjunction with your selected f/stops. Place upon a table a couple of items (maybe 3 or 4) about the size of small vases (about 6-8 inches tall). Place them such that they are about 14-16 inches apart and staggered so that you can see each one (on a diagonal). Set up your camera (on a tripod if you have one) so that it can see this line of items without any one item blocking the view of the other. Also try to have something in the background, like a piece of furniture, that is within 10 feet or so of the table.

    Again set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and select the smallest numbered f/stop offered by your lens. Focus on the item closest to you. Fire off a shot. Then up your f/stop two places (say from 4.5 to 8 or something similar) and fire off another shot remembering to again focus on the item closest to you. Keep doing this until you reach the far end of your available f/stops (maybe 22). Upload your images to your computer and view them in the order in which they were shot.

    What you should see in the first image is that all the items behind the first one (your focus point) are slightly out of focus. As you move through each successive image the items behind your focal point (the item closest to you) should come into sharper and sharper focus.

    The change in bokeh is more subtle under these conditions because all the items are so close together. In the field, so to speak, items in the background can be more or less out of focus simply because they are closer to your focal point. But you will always have background items more in-focus if you select a higher f/stop (larger number).

    But those higher f/stops also create issues with diffraction, but we won’t go there today!

  • Whoa, Forkboy, you know your stuff!

    Love it when people come over and leave great info like this on the blog.

  • I’m not ignoring it either. I’m trying to find some time to sit down and try the experiment.

  • Thanks Kitty, but I AM the rank amateur. One look at my Flickr stream is proof of that!

  • Oh…sorry….I forgot….I really didn’t mean to ramble on like that in the long post. I just kind of got carried away.

    I’m like that in blogging..

  • You didn’t ramble. I’m enjoying learning from you.

  • what camera gear are you using, Kym?

    you might not know what an f-stop is, but you sure have a good eye, and I assume, a pretty good telephoto..

    my understanding of f-stop is that it is a ratio between focal length and aperture diameter, or the opening in the lens that lets light through. My non-prime, or zoom lens on my Canon, has a different minimum f number depending on what focal length I have the lens at.

    A prime lens is one that the focal length is fixed on, or not a zoom.

    here’s an interesting bit on wiki that I just looked up:

  • Mark, I use a Nikon D60 alternating between two lens–mostly the 55-200. I still haven’t had time to sit down and read and comprehend the explanations. I learn best from a teacher and homework. I want a class!

  • I want a class too, but my local camera shop doesn’t offer them over the holidays. Poop.

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