Last Valentine’s Day, Jackie Scherer wandered through the woods of the Minnesota River Valley in Saint Paul with her Nikon D600 to capture the falling snow. She photographed wild turkeys and deer. “It was cold, and honestly I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore,” she says. Shedding her coat and gloves at her car, she spotted a buck as it stepped out to cross a small frozen stream not far away. “I grabbed my camera and ran.” She knew where it would emerge on the other side of the stream; her heart danced with the same “buck fever” that hunters feel. No longer cold, she got the shot 25 yards away using her Sigma 150–500 millimeter lens. “Had I stayed out any longer, the smile would have frozen to my face,” Scherer says.
The photo, Dear Valentine, won an honorable mention award in the Nature and Wildlife category of the 2016 Picture Saint Paul photo contest. Scherer has a hard time calling herself a photographer. She wouldn’t have claimed the term just a year ago, content with run-of-the-mill pocket cameras. In January 2014, she documented a dog sledding tour outside Grand Marais with the camera on her cell phone. Her musher suggested a tour guide to bring her through the ice caves, and that guide’s own photos of Lake Superior inspired her to take the hobby further.
“I get up to the North Shore as often as I can. I love Lake Superior and the dark night skies,” Scherer says. “The lake is gorgeous even when she’s frozen.”
You can find Scherer on her days off at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, choosing angles for the animals or homing in to get macro shots or extreme close-ups of flowers at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.