(This post originally published in October 2010)
Late last week, I was photographing Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) as they flew about … one of my favorite local subjects is to photograph these beautiful ducks as they fly about the kayak. It was a bit slow where I had Rubber Ducky parked, but I heard a group of wood ducks not far from me, and they were enjoying themselves way too much … flapping in the water as they froliced about and bathed. I decided I’d move a bit closer to them, while still staying in the cover of the American Lotus plants that were turning brown and fading away.
I did manage to get into position where I could photograph them as they flew in and flew away from the area … in fact, got some pretty nice images that I will share very soon. But today’s post is really about what I saw next. As I was beginning to paddle back towards the launch site, I had an eerie feeling that something, or someone, was watching me … you know, one of those times when the hairs on your neck seem to be standing on end in anticipation of something happening.
Sensing this, I looked over to my right. There, behind the colorful, fall foliage of some of the flora along the bank, was a rather large deer … a buck of good size, just watching me, and not more than ~ 25 feet away. I slowly picked my camera up off the floor of the kayak and raised it to my eye, mumbling to myself the entire time “Please don’t run away … just let me get one good shot!”. My little prayer worked. The buck stood motionless and didn’t even seem to mind that I was making images of him in the colorful landscape. I clicked away for several minutes. Then, “Buck” moved his head, but only to grab some more leaves to chew on. In all, “Buck” stayed there for a good 10 minutes, allowing me to make quite a few images of him. Here are a few of my favorite:
When “Buck” decided to move on, he didn’t bolt away. Instead, he slowly wandered over the embankment and out of sight, stopping to graze on the leaves as he left.
So now, when anyone asks me where I’m taking the kayak, I just smile and tell them, “I’m going deer hunting”. The response is always one of puzzled looks and further questions! Then, I tell them I’m not a hunter; I’m just watching for any deer that might be down by the water’s edge. Oops, won’t be long until sunrise, so I’ve gotta go now … going deer hunting! :o)