Bison cow & calf captured by D2Hs / 200f2 w/1.4x

One of the upshots of the pandemic are critters got a little breather from being loved to death. With the pressure in some locales lessened by folks staying home, there was less stress and more time for things like eating, sleeping, and sex which leads to, yep, you guessed, more babies. With few exceptions, no matter the critter, they are at their cutest when they are born. I hope this is on your radar because it certainly is on mine with plans being in the right place to hopefully make some cute images. How can you prepare for the fun?

What time are that young born, that’s the first thing you need to think through. You might need to find something close to home, like you’re own backyard which would mean nesting birds. At The Ranch, we have Black-billed Magpies grabbing branches and flying off to the shrub which means they are making a nest. This is just one sign you need to watch for telling you nesting is beginning. If you’re thinking colonial nestors like Great Blue Herons, in some regions they have big kids in the nest already. When it comes to the photography, you might wanna check out this paper I wrote a while back on photographing nesting birds. At the same time, you want to pick up a copy of Nests, Eggs And Nestlings of North American Birds by Harrison (seemingly very hard to find) which is my Bible for nesting biology. This will guide you through location and timing which is essential. What if you’ve been vaccinated and ready to go further than you backyard? Well …

I would start by deciding what critter you wanna photograph. If you’re thinking about Moose, that would take you to a different region than say Bison like you see above. At the same time, Moose drop their calves in different regions at slightly different times then Bison. As you look at different mammals, the timing of when they give birth changes. You want to take this information and then think through locales that had little impact by humans in the past twelve month. Yellowstone for example had record numbers of folks so perhaps not your prime location compared to Roosevelt Nat’l Park which was/is a ghost town (and a gorgeous, gorgeous place!) with lots of Bison. When it comes to a reference, I recommend The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals

What about camera gear, what kit to pack? Yeah … no, I don’t have one simple answer there for you, sorry. You can find a number of solutions I’ve used over the years by searching the site. In general right now, I’m heading out with the D6 / Z 6II with either the Nikkor 180-400VR / 800mm. But that’s me, you should use what’s in your kit and then do your homework so you can pack the most important tools … your heart and mind! You wanna get out there, that’s the most important thing. This could be a killer spring for kids!

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