The Unexpected Deer in Caprock Canyons State Park

These pictures today, as hip women say, “I can’t even!!” They’re definitely topping the collection of favorites from all my travels this year. What makes a photo special to me, well, it’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately even as a hobby photographer:

Am I getting a shot no one else has gotten, or can get?

Usually the answer is ‘no’ because lots of people get lots of great photos. My picture of an owl might be one I like, but there are lots of owl photos out there. Or sunsets, eagles, fog on a spring-fed river. To be totally honest, I’m sure people have taken pictures of deer in canyons before. But those people weren’t at Caprock Canyons the morning I set out to take early morning pictures. I rode my bicycle out to the canyons with no real goals except to capture some of the beauty of the colors as the sun rose and lit up the canyon. Well, that kinda sounds like a goal.

Leave the road, take the trails.


I was on a trail for about 5 seconds then climbed up to a place I thought would have a better view. It was so quiet. Peaceful. I loved seeing the vivid colors of the canyon come out as the sun rose. I thought that might be the best part of the morning… but then…

It was one of those moments I won’t forget. I look over and two deer were perched on the side of the canyon. I couldn’t believe my eyes and all I could think as I changed lenses was, “Please don’t leave, please don’t leave, please don’t leave.” I was as quiet as a mouse in church as I snapped in the zoom lens. The deer already knew I was there but didn’t run off. I was so sure they’d leap away the moment my camera was ready, because… you know, Murphy’s Law.

Are the shots I’m about to show you ones that no one can get or has ever gotten?

I don’t know for sure the answer to that question, but I know this: these are my favorite wildlife photos I’ve ever taken. I love that I was there this early morning as these two deer awoke and started their day. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them…

As the sunlight began to eliminate the shade of the canyon side, the deer meandered down and into the shady valley below. I was not thinking I could top that moment for the rest of the morning so I returned to my bike. For the entire ride back to my camper all I could think is that somehow I love God more after this amazing experience. Seeing the deer in the canyon, perched on the side like they were, was part of God’s best work and I got to take photos of it. Lucky me!

Thanks for dropping in…

-Out of the Wilderness


Published by Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes a 13-year-old beagle and an 11-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

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