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  • Stephenie Hollyman

Wildlife Photography in Yosemite

It’s early morning, pitch black outside your tent, and you gulp down your second cup of coffee as you pack your camera bag with freshly charged batteries and formatted memory cards. The stars are still out. Time to head out. Maybe you’ll get lucky.


You’re headed for Toulumne Meadows where you hear Mule Deer lurk in the early hours. As your car takes the next tortuous hairpin turn along Tioga Road, your camera bag skids across the front seat onto the floor.


You arrive at the Meadows and plant your tripod so the light comes from behind your back. Taking out the fastest, longest and probably most expensive lens you own, you whack up your camera’s ISO so you can catch something in the low light of dawn. Maybe a bear? Set your aperture as wide open as you can.


Scan the Meadow. The sun is rising and the grass sparkles with dew. Everything looks fresh and newborn. You spot something moving.Swivel your camera towards the action and zoom in, using the camera lens like a telescope.


There she is...a mule deer feeding among the flowers. Its ears are twitching but the head is bowed as she nibbles. She looks so vulnerable.


Frame your shot.Hold your breath and keep the trigger finger down. Keep shooting. Zoom in and out. Frame horizontally, then tilt your camera to take a vertical shot. You take fifteen shots in one go. You can always delete them later.


The tawny deer raises her head, briefly, and looks you in the eye. A glance of " Deer in the headlights" but with no headlights glaring. Only sunlight.


You got it.



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