This photo represents a lot of what I both love and hate about winter in the Sandia foothills. I hate the bland, muted colors that lean toward brown most of all; I love the way the deer come down from the high mountains for the winter. This particular mule deer was with two younger deer whom I guessed were her offspring, and they were all fairly curious about me — although they didn’t let me get too close.
Since it’s hunting season right now, I confess I have mixed feelings about gaining their trust. They can trust me but I definitely don’t want them to extend that level of trust to all humans. I routinely thank all wild critters who allow me to take their photos, since they really are taking a considerable risk. And I say to them, over and over, “I’m your friend.” I have no idea if it makes a difference in terms of trust but it is true — I am their friend.