Welcome, to the realm of the most published stags in the world, wlecome, to the royal huntings grounds of Klampenborg Dyrehave!
*(pacifier: that plastic thing babies get pushed between their jaws to suckle on, I didn’t know this English word before, but compared to the German “Schnuller” I find it quite meaningful…)
To Everyone a Stag
It is not true that the population density of nature photographers in Klampenborg Dyrehave each September matches that of the local Red Deer. It is actually about 1.5:1 in favour of the 300 ruminants.
It is possibly true that this wildlife park is one of the best places to photograph them (not only ruminating) throughout Europe.
It is definitely true that their antlers are out of this world. And that they can therefore easily be recognized in every hunting magazine, wall calendar and natural history book.
A few words about the new setup, movie-scene-like non the less. From the suburbian areas around the park hundreds of citizens come for a morning run. As many horses carry as many riders on lovely riding-paths cross country through forests and open areas. Busloads of noisy happy Kindergarden inmates populate the meadows with their guardians closeby. Not too far away one can see grown-ups, very posh in bow tie and wedding dress, posing for their pictures-of-a-lifetime under some of the most wonderful old beech and oak trees. You might even get one of those stags in the frame…
And because Copenhagen is just 20 mins away by that train, and because every September weekend here is a sunny one, the park is buzzing with people like a bee hive. From six in the morning on Saturdays until late at night on Sunday, you can hear the old red gates squeak without relentation. Thousands come, picknick in the fields, promenade, bike, ride and run all over the place.
And as if stress hormone levels of the deer wouldn’t be already at boiling point, a September weekend must be overkill. Every Sunday night a week’s labour of establishing that elaborate system of harems, hierarchy and territories is nothing else but a complete mess of homeless hindes and very stressed stags. Take this and try to get a decent picture of the deer then.
The Professor, the Biologist and Peter Lik’s bar
Two people know the Klampenborg stags almost better than the stags know themselves: the “Professor” and the “Biologist”.
The first mentioned, a real professor in retirement from the Netherlands as people say, comes for hobby, every September, since almost 30 years. His reputation waits for him on the open terrace of Peter Lik’s bar: a melting pot of red deer rumors and stag stories from around the world, to which – and a beer or five – he invites everyone he meets when riding his bicycle through the park.
The latter wrote his Master thesis about the Klampenborg deer. During his daily excursions through the park he is more than a biologist though. At the frustrated questions of depressed nature photographers who waited in vain for their dream pictures he turns into a true “soulsaver”, answering the anxious question: “It is not all over yet, right?” with competence and undisturbed friendliness. This year he has to answer many such questions, for also here in Denmark, the number of nature photographers in dispair is higher than the one of rutting trophy stags.
Some might say: What about the WILD factor in the WONDERS OF EUROPE if you go taking pictures in an enclosure? Admitted, those stags are far from behaving like they would in the wild. I feel ambiguous and a little unhappy when I look at the images now - they don’t touch me as much as if they were taken in Hungary or elsewhere in the wild. Not only to satisfy myself, I will try my best to deliver photographs from places without a fence around them. For the time being, I have nothing else to offer.
Machen Sie’s gut da draussen.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.