Breakfast for Two

Sandy Point Park near Annapolis, Maryland has a herd of White-tailed deer and they can be best seen just after sunrise grazing on the grass near the picnic areas. After enjoying a beautiful sunrise, I headed over to where I knew they liked to be and hoped I would get a chance to find some fawns.

There is at least one doe this season that has two babies, and I came across one little family. At first they were rather shy and mom kept her intent eye on me, and began to approach. She then decided she had enough of me and with a loud Huff they leaped off to another area.

I got back into my car and slowly drove to where they went. This time, I stayed in my car using it as a blind and they soon settled down and continued to graze.

I wasn’t in the best sun angle and the sun back lit the deer, but I had to take the position I could get without disturbing the deer. I also wasn’t crazy about all of the park ‘stuff’ that was in the background. The road, the picnic tables, the orange cones they still had out from the weekend but I had to work with what I had. I waited for them to pose a little for me, and hoped to get the two fawns together in one shot. All good things happen to those that wait.

Kept waiting, moving the car a bit here and there to keep a good position on them. Got surprised with the appearance of a Black squirrel that I’ve never seen at the park before. He leaped to a tree and began a game of chase with a gray squirrel.

Ok..back to the deer. Saw one had moved and I had to shoot over my rear view mirror. Not sure how this effect happened, but it was cool and decided to share it.

Then the best thing that could ever happen. Both of the fawns saw their mother nearby and ran over to her and began to nurse. This was one time the 600mm reach of the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II and 300mm f/4 lens was too close and I had to quickly shift to my Canon 5D Mark IV with 100-400mm lens attached.

The more I shoot with the Olympus kit, the happier I am with it. Mind you, I still prefer my full-frame sensor with the Canon 5D Mark IV and 1DX, but for a quick grab for 600mm reach and can walk about with it the Olympus kit is great. Also, I am beginning to crop the images and amazingly they are holding up fairly well to additional crop.

As a wildlife photographer that uses a car frequently as a blind, having two cameras with varying focal lengths is helpful to get the full reach needed. Of course, having something simpler like the Tamron or Sigma 150-600mm lenses is a great way to go. But I must confess, I am just a little bit of a pixel peeper and like to see detail in my subjects when I zoom in. With my experience, the Tamron lens just didn’t quite make the cut for me, even with using the Canon 1DX unless it was in full light and stabilized.

This is the best experience I’ve ever had with a doe and her fawns. Spending over a half an hour with them, quietly letting the world wake up around us before they moved into the woods for the remainder of the day. Only one other time have I had such a close encounter and that was at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park. A Doe and her fawn were grazing near the meadow and I sat down on the grass to get a different perspective. Sitting quietly there, the fawn started grazing closer and closer to me then was less than 10 feet away from me. I didn’t dare move for fear of something happening, but she eventually moved away. To be so close to nature and being a part of their world is something magical. A true gift that nature can give.

17 replies »

  1. Thanks, Emily, for the wonderful pictures. You were really lucky to get the fawns nursing! It’s been only once in my three years of taking pictures of the deer here in our yard that I’ve been able to capture this, and then by far not as well as you did.
    I really like your explanation of the equipment you use. I must admit, I’ve wished more than once I could just grab a second camera with a different lens. Switching lenses sometimes simply takes too long. I was especially interested in your evaluation of the Tamron 150-600 mm lens as I had read a quite favourable description of that in a different blog and as I sometimes wish I had something “longer” than my present Sigma 80-400 mm.
    Have a wonderful day, and please, delight us with more such forgeous pictures,

    • Oh..I would like to see that other blog post on the Tamron Pit. Would you happen to have the link? The Sigma Sport performs better from what my friends say than the Tamron G2.

      You know..when I reviewed that nursing picture again, not only did I have the good fortune to witness this, but the positioned themselves perfectly for me. Seriously couldn’t have asked for anything better. Thank you Pit for your followship.

      • Emily,
        The blog I’m talking about is “Russel Ray Photos” []. He has a review of the Tamron 150-600mm here [], comparing it to the Sigma Sport, and more about the Tamron here [] and here [].
        Have a great weekend,
        P.S.: I’m still thinking about zoom lenses. What intrigues me is, on the one hand, Nikon’s new 18-300mm, but also, on the other hand, Tamron’s 18-400mm. I’m not really sure, if I’d really have (much) use for a 150-600mm lens. But to tell the truth: for the time being I’m quite happy with what I have: the Nikon 16-80mm zoom for everyday use, the Sigma 10-20mm for wide-angle pictures, and the Sigma 80-400mm for tele shots. I’m no longer really using my “old” universal lens, a Sigma 18-200mm zoom.
        P.P.S.: I hope that this comment will go through and not be considered spam because of the links in it. I was told once that WP anti-spam software [Akismet] is set to consider comments wit too many links as spam.

  2. Wow to go along with you through your story was amazing & I could feel it. Much of your description I can relate to so much. I was shooting the deer through my sun/moon roof ( I don’t know which it technically is 🙂 ) the other day. I found Momma & her little ones but they weren’t nursing. Your nursing shot is amazing.Your pics are beautiful. Thanks for taking me & all of us reading on this journey with you.

    • LOL! I’m glad that I’m not the only crazy person that shoots through the sun roof . I’ve had this blog for a long time and is really a personal photo diary. Still haven’t figured out how to back it up though. Would be neat to have it in printed form, but I’ve got nearly 1,500 posts here. Good luck reading!

  3. Yes, magical! We walk almost every day, rotating between our city cemetery and the “Rails to Trails” trail. Most mornings we see 1-4 deer. We start at sunrise, so most days, the lighting is too low for great shots, but I do have some on my blog, or is it facebook! 🙂 Thanks for posting about this adventure of yours.

  4. Amazing shots. Are you saying you don’t see squirrels where you are or just the black ones? Eastern grey squirrels come in grey, black and brindle. We had an albino one in Toronto.

  5. Warms my heart this morning, Emily, and to have captured the moment so beautifully well! I use the Tamron 150-600 but have never post-processed — no time. I know what you mean about losing clarity in those pixels upon zoom-in.

    We get to watch fawns nurse from the windows inside and prefer to drink in these moments with field lenses, good long stares. Such joy is nature!

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