Deer Hunting Season for Photographers

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We are in that wonderful time of the year when we will begin to see an abundance of fawns.

Whether you are in a suburban area like D.C. or in a more rural setting like lets say Deep Creek Lake, MD., if you keep your eyes open there is a good chance you will be able to photograph these adorable baby deer. Even if the wildlife I am following is in my backyard or in the mountains, one of my main objectives is to eliminate “the hand of man” as much as I can. In layman terms, make the photo look natural.

At Deep Creek Lake, I usually can find a group of mama deer and their babies in and around Deep Creek Lake State Park, many times, grazing around one of the upper parking lots.

So when I saw this photo developing in a grove of trees around a parking lot, away from the asphalt, I asked my wife to stop the car and I jumped out
and followed the deer on foot for several hundred yards with my longest telephoto lens.

Shooting thru trees can be challenging, but I managed to get the mom looking at me while the baby grazed. I was fairly pleased with the results. The deer look isolated and surrounded by nature.

I want to recommend a terrific book on where to photograph nature in the Mid Atlantic region titled “50 Amazing Places You Must See and Do in the Greater D.C. Area,” by two amazing nature and wildlife photographers Ian Plant and Joseph Rossbach. I have heard Ian and Joe speak several times. They are also wonderful lecturers.

The book has entries on several locations in the Deep Creek Area and also has a chapter on photographing fawns in Virginia at the Shennandoah National Park. It is a must read.

The book also reminds me of some critical points in shooting good photos: where and when a photo is shot makes a big difference. I also find it really cool that there are so many fabulous places to photograph within easy driving distance of Washington D.C.

So many times people are lead to believe they have to travel to an exotic location or fly half way around the world to find great pictures. Great photo possibilities await you in your own back yard.

if you are about to travel to a far off rain forest to photograph birds, what better place to hone up on your skills now than to photograph the
the cardinals or hummingbirds that regularly visits your feeders.

On a personal note, if you are going to hike on some of the great trails along Skyline Drive or hike anywhere for that matter, be prepared. Plant and Rossbach go into great detail on this point.

Last June, I found out the hard way what can happen when you are not prepared, when a friend I was hiking with had some medical challenges during what turned out to be about a 7 mile, several hour hike. When this medical emergency arose, we had no cell phone reception (Plant and Rossbach are big advocates of Sat phones in isolated areas). If it was not for a very well trained young man from Chicago who was an Eagle Scout, a literal lifesaver, and two amazing doctors who came upon us on the trail, the afternoon may not have ended on a good note.

The park emergency crew also did incredible work, but it takes time for those folks to reach you because there is some pretty rugged terrain on these mountain trails. We were very thankful that the Eagle Scout, the two doctors, and a remarkably nice and well trained team of Park Service emergency workers came to our aid that Saturday afternoon.

What probably would have prevented all of the above from happening? Carrying an ample supply of power bars and water for starters, something we did not think about.

Until next time, enjoy the deer and the Power Bars.

Please feel free to leave a reply. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback, Rob

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