MERCER, Wis. — Mercer resident Jeff Richter’s hobby started small. He began taking photographs, which later developed into videos and has had his work featured in a book.
But now, his hobby has reached new heights, a national television show.
Richter will appear on the PBS show, “Nature” in an episode “The Private Life of Deer,” airing tonight at 7 p.m. Richter’s work specifically focuses on a certain type of deer, the albino White Tail.
“I had never seen one before, and when I opened a gallery in Boulder Junction a number of years ago, people were talking about how many white deer there were in the area,” Richter said. “I went to see what they were all about, and my first day looking for them, I found one. I was hooked instantly.”
Over the next 15 years, Richter has captured both albino and brown deer on film, and with the help of naturalist John Bates, the photographs were published in the book “White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest.”
“The animals are so visually striking, and there is something so unique about them,” Richter said. “Bates did the majority of the text and the photos were mine.”
Both Richter and Bates appear in “Nature,” and Richter called the experience, “flattering.”
“It was incredibly flattering that they were interested enough to send a film crew,” Richter said. “It was quite a thrill.”
The most exciting part about the experience wasn’t being on camera, Richter said, but what he was able to supply the crew with.
“About a year ago, when the film crew came, I had just finally switched to digital photography,” Richter said. “One of the reasons as to why I switched was to shoot video with the same camera. After they were with me, they asked for some of the photos that I took, and they also used a minute of my video. That was really exciting.”
To celebrate the show premiering, Richter said that he and his wife will have a few friends over to watch.
“We’ll have some drinks and popcorn,” Richter said. “Any excuse to get friends together is good enough for me.”
The episode airs on WNMU out of Marquette on channel 13 at 7 p.m. tonight and again on May 15 at 11 a.m ., as well as on WDSE out of Duluth, Minn ., on channel 8 at 7 p.m. and again on May 15 at 7 p.m.
For more information on “Nature,” or to see a sneak peek of the episode, visit pbs.org/wnet/nature.
“I haven’t seen the episode yet, but I’m excited,” Richter said.