It was a hot summer July day when a friend and I fished for largemouth bass, casting surface lures to likely looking haunts along a shoreline devoid of homes. Fishing was good; we even caught a bass that weighed more than 5 pounds.
My friend was navigating the boat via a bow-mounted trolling motor. I fished from the back casting platform of his high-tech, sleek and colorful craft.
As we rounded a corner of shoreline, we spotted a whitetail buck. The deer stood belly deep in the water. It had been feeding on wild celery, an aquatic plant that grew profusely in the shallows; I had seen that many times before. Its velvet-covered antlers were roughly half grown and its orange coat spoke of summer.
I quickly laid down my fishing rod and opened my camera case, which was strategically located near my feet.
The water we were fishing was popular among boaters and anglers, and thus wildlife in the area was somewhat accustomed to humans, so the buck allowed us to approach relatively closely.
The deer eyed us with reserved caution as we approached the animal. By then I had my camera to my eye, and I knew the shutter speed and aperture were set properly.
As we approached, the buck finally had enough of our presence and it bounded across a point of land, and then back into the water. I shot several images as the deer retreated. The image on this page is one of them, which includes an angler fishing from a boat in the distance.
What’s the lesson here?
Photographers should always be prepared for the unexpected. It took only a few seconds for me to open my waterproof camera case and aim my lens at the deer. A minor delay on my part and I would have ended up with nothing since the buck was out of sight in an instant.
Other on-the-water-favorite photos I’ve captured because I was “ready” have included loons with chicks, ducks with broods of young, herons, moose — and, of course, my fishing partner boating the “big one.”