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 Photographing fawns?

This essential question has several answers.

  • First of all, it is the difficulty of taking photos. If you like real photographic challenges, if you like to experience intense emotions, if you like to photograph animal rarity then you have already had a good reason for wanting to photograph fawns.

    The main difficulty is to find them. On the one hand they all females either red deer doe, roe deer hind or fallow deer goat do not give birth to a fawn every year.

    On the other hand, females tend to move away from their fellows when they give birth.

    You must locate them, follow them and wait for the right time either for the birth or to see the way the fawn is discovering its environment.
  • For me , seeing a fawn discovering nature is the main reason for the photographs. The fawns like to play, frolic and discover the environment.

    I have had the chance to observe a fawn look curiously a bee or a butterfly. The expressions he showed were extraordinary. These are incredible moments to freeze with photographs.
  • The third reason I will give you is the emotion you will feel when a fawn looks at you. Even if genetically, a fawn is programmed to be afraid of human beings, it retains in him that part of the curiosity that is specific to the innocence of living beings that start to live.

    I had the opportunity during several photo sessions using a blind to surprise a doe that passed with her fawn. When she detects a suspicious presence, the doe fled quickly. The fawn does not hesitate to stay a minute or two to look in the direction of the blind to try to understand what is happening. It is at this precise moment that you can realize images of a very great emotional range.
  • The fourth reason I will mention is the beauty, the elegance, the finesse and the fragility of the fawns. They are often small, frail, insecure. Photographically speaking, the fawn represents a marvelous animal subject.
  • Finally, to give you a fifth reason to photograph fawns, it is perhaps the fulfillment of a childhood dream. More, I attach enormous importance to symbolism.

    During our childhood, we all watched with great amazed eyes the film 'Bambi'. We also read many children's books whose main character was a fawn.

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

How Photographing Fawns?

CAs I just wrote in the paragraph regarding the why, photographing a fawn is difficult because you need to locate him. You should already note that the best period is that of June July and August.

Just like for the rut of the deer season I use three techniques.

  • The 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 or then 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 putting the odds on your side.

    But you are going to run into two problems. The females have an excellent hearing. If you have a heavy pace, if you crush a twig or if you make the slightest noise, you will be detected long before seeing them.

    On the other hand, in photo walking, even if you choose the wind correctly, 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 a lot because it is very effective. But it also has its downside: it is exhausting.

    In general, I am able to do at most two approaches per photo session. Then I miss the energy. Sometimes, I make approaches over 500 m (0.3 mile) that last more than an hour. But the main advantage is that you choose the distance from the animal. Depending on your photographic style and the framing you like, you will adjust and assess this distance .
  • The third way to photograph fawns is the technique of the blind. You must know the terrain on which you will evolve. You should also know the habits of the animals.

    The blind remains a very good technique for wildlife photography. It has the advantage of making you almost invisible. It also allows you to rest and especially to be able 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 it doesn't matter. Indeed, in this case , only the representation of the animal is important.

    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. I prefer the approach. But when I am tired, I choose the blind to 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 having it useful with a focal length greater than 300 mm. And whatever the format of your camera's sensor. Fawns are difficult to approach because the mothers go away if they see or if they feel you.


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, the approach and the blind. I recommend you get to know the terrain and the animals well before setting off 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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