5 Frames with a Friendly Deer

Too friendly, if I’m honest. But this is why I carry a camera with me nearly everywhere I go. It’s usually something like a Nikon F2 loaded with Tri-X (rated at 1600), with my 35mm f/1.4 Nikkor attached.  This kit can elicit old guys waxing nostalgia and the interest of young film shooters alike. And the wildlife would appear to be just as interested in my camera. If you can still call them that.

Hey there!

I get it, they’re cute.  They’re also tasty.  I suppose that if the apocalypse happens and the food runs out, these deer will be the first to go.

Oh yes, they travel in herds

I’ve lived a couple places where my landlady fed the deer in the neighborhood and I can see the attraction though I’m probably more on the “keep the wildlife wild” side of things myself.  Obviously not in a militant way though, because when the opportunity presents itself who wouldn’t want a picture like this?

Gimme some sugar, baby!

I’m a lot less likely to get mauled unlike those tourists in Yellowstone that go after bison, which I would definitely not recommend.  I don’t recommend feeding the deer either but I suppose I can’t control other people as much as sometimes I’d want to.  I can understand why some towns are passing ordinances forbidding residents from feeding the wildlife and also discussing the possibility of in-town bow hunting to curb the growing number of deer; of course in the country anything goes.

Welcome to Mama’s Family Vegetarian Restaurant

I just happened to be at my friend’s house when it was deer-feeding time (yes they’re regular customers) and what I had on me was close to what any photojournalist would have carried in his bag.  I can definitely see how the 35mm f/1.4 would be a photojournalist’s favorite tool because it’s fast and (for my purposes) focuses pretty close.  Ever since buying my first 35mm focal length I’ve understood just how perfect it is, it’s almost become an extension of my body.  I was trying to find a good picture of this lens to use for the header and of course I don’t necessarily have one because it’s almost always on whatever Nikon body I happen to be shooting.  It does everything I need and within a few steps can get from decently wide to very close indeed.

Currently my desktop picture

Now I’d say this counts as wildlife photography like shooting at the zoo does.  While I’m not ready to start a one-man crusade against it, I’d say I have mixed emotions about the outdoors being treated like and actually becoming someone’s personal zoo.  But when the opportunity presents itself with some unpredictable animals, the photojournalist’s tools from 50 years ago are still up to snuff: The Nikon F2A, a 35mm Nikkor, and of course Kodak Tri-X.

Lab-developed and pushed to ASA1600.  Scanned/finished by myself using the Pakon F335 and Affinity Photo.
You can find my varied work at The Resurrected Camera or for strictly photo project work, my Instagram: @thefamouspdog.

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12 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Friendly Deer”

      1. Okay, you are right. 35mm focal length isn’t so bad ( although i’m a 28mm shooter ).
        But for close-ups the CZJ Flektogon 35mm f2.4 is unbeatable. For middle distances i love the Minolta Rokkor 35mm f2.8. Great colour rendition on film.
        The Flektogon however prefers black&white film for his lovely backgrounds.

        1. Neither of which were available in Nikon F mount, right? I shot M42 for a decade, never went beyond the Japanese-made lenses, but was always interested in the East German Zeiss lenses. I grew up with Minolta, and when I got back into film photography around 2010 they were still the best deal in used camera gear, don’t get nearly enough love!

  1. This is a wonderful write-up! I grew up in a heavily deer-ed area and can relate to the surprising closeness of their packs. I’ve also started carrying a camera with me everywhere I go, and it’s been a wonderful decision. Absurd moments like this one can become a great practice in photography under pressure. I love the photos you got of your encounter!

  2. I grew up next to a national park in Ohio. We had a few apple frees on the property by the side door. So the deer would eat the apples that fell to the ground. It was always a nice to see the does bring their fawns to feed. In the course of time, the fawns would grow to adults and repeat the process bringing their babies. A great reminder that we share this planet with others.

    Thanks for the pictures. They brought back some pleasant memories.

    1. Alasdair Mackintosh

      5 Frames with a Found F2A

      “We found this camera in the woods. We’ve no idea what happened to the photographer, but we developed the film, and found some usable shots.”


  3. Hey Joseph! I really enjoyed reading about your encounter with the friendly deer and your trusty camera kit. It’s fascinating how your Nikon F2 loaded with Kodak Tri-X film can capture such timeless and captivating images. The way you described the deer and their behavior made me appreciate the beauty of wildlife photography.
    Your passion for photography and the 35mm f/1.4 lens really shines through in your writing. Keep exploring and capturing those incredible moments, whether it’s with friendly deer or amidst the stunning scenery of Canada’s great outdoors.

    1. Thanks, I think it’s just the quality of a good roll of film with a classic camera that can make timeless images! But I’ve definitely found the kit that works for me. I really hope I can visit Canada someday, in fact I think I had a little dream about that…

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