Thomas Spence is a 25-year resident of the Tofte Minnesota area. He works construction by trade. However, he spends his weekends capturing nature photographs up and down the North Shore.
"I decided I have to have a camera with me at all times because of the stuff I run into," said Spence.
And did he run into something Saturday. With his trusty camera around his neck, Spence went for a walk on a quiet road outside of Tofte. It's something he's done often over the last 5 years as a photographer. But this particular day was different.
"I was awestruck. It kind of blew me away in a way nothing has in quite a while out in the woods out here," said Spence.
After a canceled family outing, he went to one of his favorite spots to photograph moose, when something else caught his eye.
"I came around the corner and there was a lone Lynx was sitting on the road."
So he did what any good nature photographer does: grabbed his camera and started clicking away. Spence said he was surprised by the site, because Lynx sightings are rare for him. He said he sees maybe three or four a year - but never for long enough to capture pictures.
"This particular morning, this one sat still, and I thought, 'here we go, I'm going to get some pictures of a Lynx finally,'" said Spence.
Imagine his surprise when another, and another, and finally a family of five Lynx were standing in front of him.
Spence said, "They all nuzzled up against what I assume was the mother, circled her a few times, they'd sit down right at her feet, and I thought 'this is probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen in the woods' as far as when it comes to wildlife."
The whole shoot lasted about 3 minutes before they turned and vanished from sight, into the woods.
"I was standing there looking at the pictures on the back of my camera, asking myself, 'did I really see this?' Counting them, 'did I really see five Lynx in the middle of the road posing for pictures?'", said Spence.
But the proof is in the pictures. A moment captured in time that won't soon be forgotten.
"The more I think about it, this one definitely ranks up there in the top 3," said Spence.
Lynx often give birth to litters of one to six kittens around May. They stay with their mothers for about 11 months while they learn to hunt.