Posted by: kerryl29 | April 8, 2019

The Story Behind the Image: Mother and Child Reunion

I spent a couple of weeks in the Pacific Northwest in July, 2009, just a couple of months before this blog debuted.  Just two weeks or so past the summer solstice, given how far north Olympic National Park is located, there were many, many hours of daylight.  During my time based in Port Angeles, at the base of the winding road that climbs all the way from sea level to Hurricane Ridge (more than 5200 feet above sea level), I awoke at 3 AM to make the drive up to the Ridge in time for sunrise.  This was the beginning of some exceptionally long days in the field throughout the entire two-week period, but that’s a story for another day.

On those mornings when I was at Hurricane Ridge, after sunrise I spent some time exploring and photographing many of the seemingly infinite beautiful scenes accessible in the Olympic high country, from the various trails to the vistas visible from Obstruction Point Road.  On one morning I hung around the not-yet-open Visitor’s Center, which is adjacent to a large parking lot right at the ridge.  The visitor’s center is surrounded by open, rolling meadows that are filled with purple lupine in the summer months.  The other thing one routinely sees at and around the visitors center is Columbia Black Tail Deer, in copious numbers.  These deer are so accustomed to being around people that they take little notice of human presence and can frequently be seen strolling through the parking lot, to the pleasure of many visitors.

In any event, on this particular morning, I was in the process of sizing up some distant intimate landscapes in the very nice early morning light, using my telephoto lens.  I was standing on a paved walkway astride a fence, several hundred feet to the left of the visitor’s center building, with the meadow 20-30 feet below my position.  Between frames I glanced into the meadow and saw a doe, slowly meandering around (and nibbling on) some of the clumps of lupine.  In spots, the wild grass was extremely tall, and when the doe waded into this area, she was up to the base of her neck.

I paused, stood to the side of my tripod and simply watched this idyllic scene for a few moments.  While I was doing so, I noticed a kind of rustling in one of the clumps of high grass and saw a tiny head peek up, then disappear.  And then, a fawn literally bounded out of the high grass and began to prance around the meadow.  I was dumbfounded–and delighted–by this display.  And then I regained some semblance of my bearings, enough to realize that this was a splendid photo opp, taking place right in front of me.

As I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog, I am not a wildlife photographer.  I sometimes find myself with the opportunity to take pictures of wildlife, but this is not my forte.  As evidence of this, when I was trying to photograph the deer on this morning, I kind of forgot–or neglected–to activate autofocus and ended up producing the images using manual focus (and manual exposure).

But the fawn was captivating as he (or she) bounced around the meadow with boundless energy.  The doe showed all the patience one could hope for from a mama deer.  Eventually, the fawn bounced its way over to mom and stopped long enough for me to produce the image you see below.

“Mother and Child Reunion,” Columbia Black Tail Doe and Fawn, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington



  1. That is a very young fawn! Lovely shot from the non-wildlife photographer with enough of the meadow to make it a true environmental portrait.

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