The Deer Who Smiled at Me in Yosemite

It’s a risky move, publishing this post. You might figure out just how silly I really am. How silly?


Here it goes. This is a portrait of Buckminster, the mule deer I befriended in the Half Dome Village campground during my trip to Yosemite last year. No sooner had my friend Judy and I settled in than this seriously tame creature showed up a few tents down. Mesmerized by my first wildlife encounter in the park, I scurried back to my heated tent (yes, that’s an oxymoron) to retrieve my camera.

On my way back, I encountered another creature – a Yosemite staff person – and I grabbed the opportunity to ask her about the deer.

“Oh yeah, he hangs around here a lot. Not sure why. You’d think he’d be with a herd somewhere.”

To which I said, “Not allowed to play any reindeer games?”

I got a blank expression.

“Ah, okay,” I continued. “So, if he hangs out here a lot has anyone named him?”

“No,” she said.

“Oh, cool,” I said, “I proclaim he shall be known as Buckminster henceforth!”

To which she said, “….,” and then resumed walking. Away from me. Faster than before.

Which was fine with me, because what I really wanted to do was photograph Buckminster rather than talk to a normal human being. So I scurried back to where he was before and proceeded to take some pretty darn close-up portraits. I might add that during our photo session I called him by his newly appointed name…

“Hi Buckminster, let me introduce myself. My name is Susan.”

And just like that! He smiled for the camera. I kid you not, you can see it for yourself below… 

Clearly, I think my work is done here. 

So what about you? Have you ever named a wild animal? I’d love to know in the comments below… 

Photo Credits:The Naming of Buckminster by Susan J. Preston, Yosemite National Park © 2019, all rights reserved
Technical: Fuji XT-2 | Forthcoming