Oh Deer Me!
Monday 5 November 2012 — Category: Shooting
This morning we had a visitor for breakfast — a young, male black-tailed deer who decided to snack in our backyard.
He enjoyed quite a variety of delicacies for his meal: Swiss chard from our raised bed; long, succulent grass; and even leaves off the cherry tree, much to my wife’s chagrin. At least he left the parsley alone for the time being.
As soon as we noticed the deer, I ran to grab my camera, mounted my 100-300mm zoom lens (200-600mm equivalent), and started taking pictures out of the upstairs bedroom window. Knowing that shooting through a window generally doesn’t work very well, I headed downstairs to the back sliding glass door after a while.
In order to get a high enough shutter speed to overcome the shaking of the camera at such long focal lengths, I had to bump the ISO setting up to 1600. I generally don’t like to use such a high setting because of the increased image noise, but, as John Gerlach shared over the weekend, when it comes to nature photography, it’s better to have noise than a blurry subject.
I think this deer must be used to munching in people’s backyards, because he didn’t seem concerned when I slid the door open a number of inches so I could take more pictures. Even when we were talking among ourselves — or whistling at the deer to get him to look our way — he calmly continued his breakfast without showing the slightest alarm. At one point he actually lay down for a while between courses!
Finally, after taking 115 photos, it didn’t seem like the deer was going to leave soon, and I had other things to do, so I put my camera away and moved on to my next task. Later I was told that he had sallied off without even saying “thank you” or “goodbye” — well, how do you like that!