Grey Sky Hares
Its been an quiet year for hares but then again it has been a very strange year for weather. I have certainly struggled to get any photographs of them in sunlight but then when it shines so infrequently it is not particularly surprising that its unlikely to coincide with my visits. This one below being one of the very few taken with sunlight on a hare.
There have been two changes this year at the site where I have been visiting them over the last few years. Firstly is the appearance of a few rabbits and secondly for the first year I have seen no leverets (young hares). Neither of these changes I see as a good sign. Despite this I have still managed to accumulate some photographs over the last few months although it has generally been under low light conditions.
I have spent more time trying to get ground level images. A good rule in wildlife photography is to get down to your subject's at eye level. For small birds and mammals this means getting down low, very low. This has a number of effects to the resulting image in the creates diffuse foregrounds and backgrounds that isolate the subject. However, but most importantly this approach gives a photograph a much more intimate feel and a greater connection between the animal and viewer of the image. The difference can be seen between the following two photographs with the second being taken at ground level.
Anyone who tells you that photographing Brown Hares at ground level is easy is not being honest. It is very difficult getting close to the hares at their level and I have achieved this through becoming familar with their behaviour and the site through my regular visits over several years. The approach I use would not necessarily translate to success at another site. In effect I have learnt over many hours to read a hares behaviour through its body language and how individuals are likely react to me in different situations. Well as much as you can predict a hare anyway!
All the effort and discomfort, as low level photography is a great way to get a bad headache from neck strain, is more than worth it. It is difficult to describe the pleasure to be gained from laying down face to face with a hare at close range and watching them go about their daily business. They are special animals and these encounters are very special moments so maybe I will share just a couple more photographs to finish off this post :)