El Ciervo de Oro
This photo always brings a smile when I see it. I took it at Custer State Park in South Dakota in 2010. I consider it my best deer shot… and I don’t even remember taking it!
It was our first visit to Custer. David, Roxanne, and I had spent two days in the park, hiking and traveling around the wildlife loop. Custer is known for its herd of “wild” burros so tame that they will shove their noses into your vehicle in search of a hand out. We were fortunate to find the entire herd along the roadside. I literally took hundreds of photos.
As we drove back to camp, we spied two buck along the side of the road. I rolled down the car window and snapped a few shots with the camera. That evening we downloaded the photos to see what burro antics I had captured, never even looking at the other images.
It wasn’t until we returned home (nearly a month later) that I discovered this photo of the buck. I actually gasped when I saw it. It has become my best but least memorable deer photo. I call it El Ciervo de Oro which translates to the golden stag.
I was still shooting film when I took this photo. We had decided to celebrate one of David’s milestone birthdays by renting a beach cottage in Surfside for the weekend.
The next morning, we sipped coffee and watched the waves roll. A hawk flew in, perching on a post at the end of the boardwalk, searching for breakfast. He was at least 50 yards from the cottage door. As we watched, I doubted that I could ever sneak up on him to get a photograph.
Finally, I could resist no longer. I grabbed the camera and quietly made my way down the boardwalk. With my old Canon AE in hand, I knew I had but one shot before he flew.
A quick prayer, a deep breath, and I rounded the boardwalk in full view of the hawk. He immediately flew… and I snapped once. I call the photo Beating Wings. After all this time, the photograph still amazes me.
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