The snow is falling harder now. I love the way the air always seems a little warmer just before the first flakes start to drift lazily down, instantly forming minute droplets of water on the surface of my jacket and legs. I’ve been sitting on my three-legged stool for what seems like hours, my gaze fixed on the gap between the trees. The leaden sky has finally decided to release it’s heavy load.
Without warning he suddenly appears, pawing at the ground. He surely realises that if the snow gets any harder the grass will soon become buried and he will have to move to the edges of the field. Already the does have moved back into the shelter of the trees. He doesn’t want to join them but will have to if he is desperate for food. He will be forced to try to strip some of the few remaining leaves from the branches, curling his long tongue delicately around each scarce morsel. Rough sustenance that will have to suffice if the hard frozen ground remains covered for too long.
My bent legs are beginning to ache but to move now would be to tempt disaster. Although I am downwind and he is unlikely to pick up my scent, the slightest rustle and he would probably bound away across the, by now, white coated grass.
His head rises, the magnificent antlers broad, curving in a wide arc from his dark, tawny brow. He turns and stares in my direction, proud, defiant, as if he knows what I must do. I blame the wind for the wetness I can feel in the corners of my eyes and the thin trickle on my cheek. Can he sense the inevitable? In one slow, easy movement I am able to get in one, two, a burst of shots. He jumps back in surprise and a sudden gust whips a flurry of snow around him obscuring my view.
I don’t care what has happened for I have what I came for. A check in the viewfinder shows me how successful the shoot has been.