New York: The ungulates

white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus fawn signalling half-heartedly
Considering how often and in how many places we saw the species, I’m a little surprised that I don’t have more photos, but then I remember the circumstances most times. At the Gatsby mansion where we stayed in New York, the property was absolutely loaded with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus,) but they remained a bit spooky and tended not to stick around when spotted (Ha! ‘Spotted.’ Didn’t expect that one, did you?) In fact, the vast majority of times we sighted them, like above, while on the long and remote driveway that led to the place, which meant I was driving and the long lens wasn’t even attached – the camera was within reach most times, because I’ve learned a little over the years, but it would mean changing lenses, opening the door slightly, and leaning out to have a clear view; don’t ever try shooting through the windshield. This one was in good light and pausing to evaluate the curious blue threat approaching slowly up the drive, so I snagged a few frames, including here as it flicked its tail in consideration of fleeing.

As I look at this, I realize these were all the same day, but some four hours later, after snagging some shots of a really red sunset, we looked out along the big fields of the property and discovered a young buck, antlers still in velvet as they developed, stalking within the growing fog.

white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus buck, about six points, looking at photographer from developing fog
The light was falling rapidly and I was pushing the absolute limits of handholding a 600mm lens and getting reasonably clear frames, large aperture, boosted ISO, and image stabilization notwithstanding – there are a lot of discards among these.

It moved on, not fully trusting me, but after a handful of paces, it stopped again to browse in an area that showed the fog better.

white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus buck browsing in low-lying fog
The fog was courtesy of a fierce storm a day earlier (we’re getting to that,) which left the grounds oversaturated and broke loose about half of a walnut tree worth of limbs to deposit in the big lawn, which The Girlfriend decided to start gathering up after the deer wandered off; naturally I had to join in. I can’t recommend tackling something like this in muggy conditions, with a loaded camera bag and large lens case that both want to swing forward every time you stoop down – we were soaked in sweat and humidity within minutes, but the lawn looked much better.