Keep Your Eyes Open / by Todd Henson

Male White-tailed Deer at the edge of the woods watching and listening.

Sometimes as photographers we get so focused on one thing while out in the field that we may miss opportunities. I don’t think focus is bad, especially if you’re working on something very specific. But it can blind us if we become too focused too often.

As an example, I was hiking with my father in a nearby wildlife preserve, a small stretch of land along a river and not far from the city. Birds are one of the most common forms of wildlife I usually find so that’s what I was looking for, my eyes focused up into the trees.

Thankfully my father looked along the edge of the tree-line and saw this lone male white-tailed deer lit up against the dark foliage in the background. The deer saw us but didn’t seem overly concerned. It was curious, raising its ears to listen while watching us. When we didn’t do anything funny it went back to eating the greenery right in front of it before moving back into the trees.

This was a fortunate find. If I hadn’t been hiking with my father I likely would have missed the deer because I was spending so much time looking up into the trees. I need to remind myself to stay alert, to look around every so often, paying attention to my surroundings. You never know what you may find.

And it is sometimes helpful to have a second pair of eyes along with you. 😃