Natural Connections: How To Photograph Cute Baby Animals | Columns

Opening emails is usually not exciting. But as each post loaded and revealed pictures of baby animals, each more adorable than the next, my heart flew. I could already tell that the Museum’s Northwoods Animal Babies Photo Contest was a success.

I compiled the photos into one folder and sent it to James Netz, a professional photographer with a gallery in Hayward who has sponsored photo contests at the Museum for many years. James also gets the unenviable job of selecting just three winners out of a hundred wonderful entries.

When I emailed attendees, Bonnie Chase responded with a quick story on her photo of a hidden fawn looking out of the garden with big dark eyes. His enthusiasm was contagious:

“It was a unique photo of little darling! One summer morning, my eye caught sight of a doe and its wobbly-legged fawn walking across our hill. When mom stopped at the edge of the woods, the fawn huddled in some bushes. Mom left after a few minutes, but I waited an hour before checking on the fawn. The little darling had found a cool place on a hot day with a wonderful view of the lake, staying there all day, until mom came back a few hours later. She has enjoyed eating my petunias ever since.

After I finished laughing at Bonnie’s petunias, I also asked the other participants for their stories.

Some people mentioned using their knowledge of wildlife, acquired through years of observation, to be there at the right time. William Johnson wrote: “Knowing that the deer with fawns will leave them and walk away, I quietly watched the area for a few minutes, and this little guy stood up to stretch.

Many photographers have emphasized the importance of spending time in nature.

“The majority of my wildlife photographs are simply based on luck, good informants and always having the camera with me,” wrote Monica Edeker. Susan Overson agreed. In early spring, she kayaked near the Namekagon Dam daily to “watch for nests, adults and their young, and quietly observe and photograph wildlife at various stages of development.”

Kris Dew was simply driving her pontoon across the lake to winter storage, when, as she “drifted with one eye on the rowboat, this young loon kept popping up from under my boat.” Was he fishing or taunting me? We enjoyed this game for 45 minutes. Unbelievable!”

Monica underscored her take with a story about walking through a cornfield in her good clothes on the way home from work to take pictures of fox kits playing. “Some kits were braver than others and posed while I took pictures with the camera,” she recalls.

In another encounter with foxes, Bill Thornley embodied the respectful attitude wildlife photographers should have towards their subjects. “Their mother barked nervously in the distance, so I took a few pictures and quickly moved around. I didn’t want to disturb her anymore. Photographing baby animals without impacting their behavior is as difficult as it is important!

As a professional photographer, James Netz will go the extra mile to get great photos. “I love taking pictures of owls,” he told me. And a meeting with a great horned owl “was especially special because while I was taking pictures of her, with her parent and brother, she decided it was time to leave the branch she shared. with the rest of his family ”. It created a few minutes of chaos, both for the owls and for James’s camera angles. In the end, the determined expression James captured on the owl’s face was worth it. And, he noted with relief, the owl was able to return to the tree safely and reunite with its family “after having had a few rebellious moments of freedom.”

Owls also play a central role in my favorite story, which comes from Leslie Sullivan. His family was fortunate enough to have a Great Horned Owl’s nest in the backyard when they lived in Madison, Wisconsin.

“We watched them be conceived, we found eggshells when they hatched, we dissected owl pellets, we watched them learn to fly, we saw the parents feeding them and we had a very close with them from February to the end of June. . I think this experience trained my young children to be nature lovers for life.

Thanks to these talented photographers, we can all enjoy adorable photos that reinforce our love of nature. You can vote for your favorites in our People’s Choice Award contest, held on the Cable Natural History Museum’s Facebook page until the end of September. The winners will be announced on October 1st!

Emily’s award-winning second book, Natural Connections: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer, is now available for purchase at and also in your local independent bookstore.

For over 50 years, the Cable Natural History Museum has served as your connection to the Northwoods. The museum is now open with our exciting exhibition The Mysteries of the Night. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and to see what we’re doing.

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