Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary – In the Field

It was time for another early start, and this time, I was heading off to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, to try and photograph deer. Regular visitors to the website will know I love my photography as much as travel!

I decided to head over there early to try to make the best use of there being very few people around. It was a Saturday, and in August, so I fully expected it to get busy as the rest of the world woke up.

If you are more of a visual person and have 20 minutes to kill, then check out the latest vlog I put together, in my Document not Create series. It is also my effort to share my knowledge and anything I may learn.

A Bit About Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary


Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Dr,
SO43 7GQ

Free Entry, Parking Free, but donations appreciated
Toilets, and cafe, but check direct for opening details

I was on the road just after 6am, and at my destination before 7am. Only to find the car park closed. After finger another car park half a mile away, and wandering around there for an hour, I found myself back at Bolderwood.

Gates open, car parked, and I finally set off on my deer hunt

There is a large picnic area near the car park that, if you are visiting for fun/lunch/to relax, then this is a great place to hang out. There is also a bit of information on the mapped out walks.

Red is about 2 miles, Blue is about 1 mile.

Camera equipment for photographing Deer at Bolderwood

For this, I took my Canon 1Dx Mk2, along with the 100-400mm lens. Knowing even this may not be enough to shoot the timid deer, I took a 1.4 extender too. I didn’t use it but should have done.

To shoot the video you may have seen in the YouTube clip (my channel is here, by the way), I used a mixture of the Sony a6300, and a GoPro Hero 8. I am still getting to grips with the Sony for video. Every time I shoot with it I learn something new, and this excursion was no different.

The GoPro is great for a small, lightweight, easy to use option.

However, carrying the Canon with lens, Sony with lens and Mic, and the GoPro around Bolderwood was a challenge and hard work for an unfit 47-year-old!

I crossed the road into the Deer Sanctuary and made my way to the viewing platform. The Deer at Bolderwood often come to a large clearing in front of the platform for feeding. Typically this happens between 12 and 3ish, so at 8am I wasn’t expecting to see anything.

And I didn’t. So, I headed off on one of the 2 walks mentioned above.

A Quiet morning so far

Twenty minutes in, and as I headed around Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, what I expected to happen, happened. Nothing. There was no abundance of deer or wildlife lining up for a photo. My heavy steps on the crunchy paths only served to warn the deer of my presence.

I knew the wildlife wasn’t going to be as abundant as it was the last time I tried to photograph something moving that wasn’t a family member!

Eventually, I stumbled on a small river, that looked like I could get a few decent shots. So far, there has been no wildlife at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, but that wasn’t going to stop me taking some photos.

After some careful balancing of cameras, setting timers, and running to position, I managed to get this shot of me taking a short snippet of film. Check out the video for more info on this.

Shooting Video at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

My Deer, thank you for joining us!

Eventually, my patience was rewarded with a couple of fleeting sights of some deer, bounding through the Bolderwood undergrowth.

The first sighting crossed the path in front me so quickly I didn’t have a chance to fire off a decent shot. However, the second sighting was a little more success.

I was please I had left the long lens on the camera, and managed to get this shot. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the extender on, but for once, the Deer was happy enough to pose for a split second.

I have since been back to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary with the family at “rush hour” and managed to get another shot of a deer, and here it is.

1/400 sec, f5.6, 400m, ISO 640

My Tips for Photographing Deer

Tips for photographing deer, from a total novice and a first timer:

  • Walk quietly!
  • Take the longest lens possible, and then add an extender!
  • Be patient, very patient
  • Stay alert
  • Don’t wear bright colours. Try a black or green or brown, to blend in.

So there we are, my average attempt at photographing Deer at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. I hope you have found this useful, and I would love to hear from you. Any experts reading this with some pointer, or newbies that have other tips?

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to check out my Instagram and Twitter accounts where more of my shots go up.