I’ve always heard ghosts don’t show up on camera, but I have proof otherwise.
Well, technically, I didn’t see and photograph a ghost in the traditional sense. Instead, it was a rare ghost of the woods — an albino deer.
In reality, this wasn’t my first experience with an albino deer. A year ago, Mark Dobbs put me onto one, but I only caught a single glimpse of it and never got any photographs.
I also photographed a 90% white, pie-bald elk about 27 years ago when I lived in Idaho.
A couple months ago, a longtime family friend called to say he had an albino doe visiting his place occasionally, so I jumped at the chance to try to get some photos. After all, an albino deer, a timber rattlesnake and a black bear have been at the top of my “must get” photo list for a long time.
Anyone who knows me knows nature photography has long been one of my primary escapes from the daily grind, so this was big for me.
That first outing two months ago resulted in some cool photographs of the albino in the timber, like a ghost in the shadows on a dark, overcast evening. But it was always partially hidden, and I wanted more.
I really wanted to go back when all the snow was on the ground a few weeks ago, but I just couldn’t make it.
So, I returned last weekend, hoping to catch another glimpse of the deer. And I wasn’t disappointed.
With a couple months gone by after the close of the archery deer season, the albino was a tiny bit more tolerant than before, though still a little “on edge.”
For two hours, I was like a kid in a candy store, firing off more than 800 frames and recording lots of video. It was hard to keep quiet and not spook the deer because I was so excited to finally get the photos.
I captured the deer alone. I got it feeding with others. I even captured video of it being kicked by an aggressive buck and a big clump of white hair flying off its back.
I was elated because I had what I had been looking for for so long.
I hope to continue to capture this deer as the seasons pass and really hope it sticks around. Even more, I hope nobody does anything stupid to ruin a good thing.
Paul Davis is a staff writer for the Daily American Republic. He can be reached at email@example.com.