Why and How: Photographing Fawns - Part 2

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Photograph of a fallow deer fawn in a meadow.
Photograph of a fallow deer fawn in a meadow.

Why Photograph Fawns?

This essential question has several answers.

  • The first reason involves the “thrill” that comes with the difficulty of capturing the photos. If you enjoy attempting a real photographic challenge, if you like to experience intense emotions, and if you like to photograph rare animals, then you will enjoy photographing fawns.

    The main difficulty is to find them. One reason is that not all females give birth to a fawn every year. This is true for all deer, whether red deer doe, roe deer hind, or fallow deer goat.

    Another reason is that the females tend to move away from their fellows when they give birth.

    You must locate them, follow them, and patiently wait for the right time, whether you want to capture the moment of birth or the first steps of the fawn discovering its environment.
  • For me, seeing a fawn discovering nature is the main reason for my photographs. The fawns like to play, frolic, and discover the environment.

    I have had the chance to observe a fawn look curiously at a bee or a butterfly. The expressions he showed were extraordinary. These are incredible moments to freeze in time with photographs.
  • I believe that the third reason arises with the emotions you will encounter when the fawn gazes at you. Even genetically, a fawn is programmed to be afraid of human beings. Even so, he retains a child-like curiosity that is specific to the innocence of living beings who have just begun their life.

    During several photo session, I had the opportunity to use a blind to surprise a doe that passed by with her fawn. When she detected a suspicious presence, the doe fled quickly. The fawn did not hesitate to stay a minute or two to look in the direction of the blind to try to understand what was happening. It is at this precise moment that I was able to create images of a very great emotional depth.
  • The fourth reason is the unique qualities of the fawn. They are figures of beauty, the elegance, the finesse, and the fragility of the fawns. They are often small, frail, and insecure. Photographically speaking, the fawn represents a marvelous animal subject.
  • Finally, to give you a fifth reason to photograph fawns, it may be the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Moreover, I attach enormous importance to symbolism.

    During our childhood, we eagerly watched the film “Bambi”. We also may have read children's books whose main characters involved a fawn.

    The fawn is a symbol of childhood and of nature. It also evokes fragility. The fawn represents the child within each of us. Photographing fawns also represents the learning of wisdom. The fawn is dependent on its mother, it must learn wisdom from her.

How to Photograph Fawns

I previously wrote that photographing a fawn is difficult because you need to locate him. You should already note that the best period to do this is in the months of June, July, and August.

I use three techniques, like those used for the rut of the deer season.

  • Photo walking is the easiest way. You just need to know an area populated by red deer doe, roe deer hind or fallow deer goats. Then you must walk in search of animals. It is a fairly effective way to find animals because you can travel 10 or 20 km ( 6 to 12 miles) per day. You are placing the odds on your side.

    Unfortunately, you are going to run into two problems. The females have excellent hearing. If you have a heavy footfall, if you crush a twig, or if you make the slightest noise, your presence will be detected long before you spot them.

    On the other hand, with photo walking, even if you choose your location correctly according to the flow of the wind and the position of the sun, you may not have the chance to have a beautiful setting to highlight your scene . This is one of the foundations of my ACANP method for creating interesting photos. The decor is one of the three essential components to choose to make a good photo.
  • The approach is the second way for photographing fawns.

    The idea is to find a fawn with binoculars from a remarkable point. Then you will progress by crawling in the meadows or undergrowth until you find yourself at a sufficient distance to take your photographs. It is a technique that I love and that I practice often because it is effective. Sadly, it also has its downside: it is exhausting.

    Generally, I can do two approaches maximum per photo session. After that, my energy dwindles. Sometimes, I make approaches over 500 m (0.3 mile) that last more than an hour. The main advantage to this technique is that you can choose your distance from the animal. Depending on your photographic style and your framing, you can adjust and assess this distance.
  • The third way to photograph fawns is with the technique of the blind. You must know the terrain which you will cover. You should also know the habits of the animals.

    The blind remains a particularly good technique for wildlife photography. It has the advantage of making you almost invisible. It also allows you to rest and to choose your decor. Its main drawback is that you cannot choose the distance at which you will photograph the animals. If you take purely illustrative photos, then this does not matter. Indeed, in this case, only the representation of the animal is important.

    However, if you want to take artistic photographs as part of a photo project that has constraints, you will have no adjustment parameters.

All three methods have advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I use all three for different situations. I prefer the approach method. But when I am tired, I choose the blind method so that I can rest.

During the photo workshops that I organize when the fawns are born, I explain these three techniques.

The Choice of Lenses

For photographing the fawns, I recommend using a focal length greater than 300 mm, and whatever the format is for your camera's sensor. Fawns are difficult to approach because the mothers go away if they see or if they sense your presence.

Finally

Photographing fawns is a real challenge because they are difficult to find. In addition, not many are born each year.

To make interesting photos, I recommend the photo walking method, the approach method, and the blind method. I recommend that you get to know the terrain and the animals well before setting off on the field for a photo session.

Each year, I organize a photo workshop dedicated to the birth of fawns. Do not hesitate to contact me for information on this subject if you are interested.


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Article published on Thursday, February 20, 2020 . Written by
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