Double Ear Cleaning at Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park

I previously shared a picture of a mother white-tailed deer cleaning its fawn’s ear that remains one of my personal Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park favorites. But, there were twin fawns and when the second one arrived on the scene, pausing for some family ear cleaning time, I was ready. Many hours can be spent searching for wildlife subjects, but it only takes a few minutes with the right subject in the right situation to put a pile of great images on a card and this encounter was one of those.
Some aspects of this image that I like include: The early morning light was warm in color and soft in shape, leaving no hard shadows on the subjects. The background and foreground were colorful and the fine pattern of the spring-green grasses, rendered mostly out of focus and framing the subjects, was void of distractions. The left and right-positioned deer were both facing inward and all three deer are interacting. For each subject, at least one eye was showing with a catchlight included. Of course, the cuteness of a fawn is always a sure win and, usually, the more fawns, the better.
Especially in Shenandoah National Park, where obstructions are plentiful, I frequently opt for the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens over the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens for wildlife photography. While I love the background separation 600 can create, getting everything in the frame is sometimes more important. Unless feeding or sleeping, white-tailed deer fawns are seldom still and the zoom ring is much faster than anyone’s sneaker-zoom capability. When the fawns move in too close or I need to avoid obstructions while keeping them in the frame, having a range of focal lengths can make a huge difference.
You are probably aware that I use Canon EOS 5Ds R cameras for the majority of my photography. I’m addicted to the sharp, ultra-high resolution imagery along with the great color these cameras deliver. But, when the action gets fast, I turn to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and fawns often warrant the faster frame rate advantage this camera provides.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.

Camera and Lens Settings
400mm  f/5.6  1/800s
ISO 1000
5137 x 3425px

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