Monday, March 31, 2014

Relaxed Spring Hares

Springtime is synonymous with brown hares as they are very visible in the low field crops, as they chase each other around with the males all vying for the attention of the female. At the site I visit they can be quite unpredictable in the spring. On some days it will be like a 'hare desert' whilst on others they seem to be everywhere. I think the main driver for this is when a female on heat is around as you often see numerous male running around and constantly stopping to sniff the ground trying to locate their target.

Most of the hare 'madness' seems to take place in the morning with them being a good deal calmer in the evening as they have a feed before nightfall. The words 'relaxed' and 'spring hares' are not often seen together but its all about time of day. So for portraits the evenings at the moment are often a better proposition.

My patient better half often questions why I spend so much time photographing 'those rabbits'. Apart from being completely different to 'rabbits', anyone who has spent time with hares will know the answer. Simply they are  fascinating animals, that are a pleasure to spend time with. This fascinating aspect is a feature that has not just captured my attention but the imaginations of many over centuries which is why the hare has become steeped in so much myth and folklore.

A couple of weekend back I headed out on a short evening session. Always good to have some wildlife photography that doesn't require a ridiculously early alarm call.  As is typical with the rapidly changing spring weather the sunlight and clear skies when I left home had turned to overcast conditions by the time I had arrived. I was a bit early as most of the hare activity would take place as the light was starting to fade and for the first hour of so I only managed to find one hare grazing on some fresh spring grass. There was a patch of daffodils behind and I waited until the hare slowly ate its way forward and the flowers provide some colour in the background. Spring encapsulated in a single image, well sort of ;).

As the session progressed, the light started to diminish, I started finding more and more hares. All of them were just sitting quietly, busily eating or just having a good stretch. Below are a selection of images. You can tell that the light had gone low by the size of the hares' pupils. The superb high ISO performance of the 1DX keeps you shooting when other camera have long gone to bed.

I was just finishing with a low level photo of a hare peeking over some long grass and thought it was about time to head home.
When I turned around there were two hares behind me but the female looked slightly odd in the fading light as it was striking pale in comparison to the darker  attendant male.
In fact I have never seen such a fair coloured hare in all my years of photographing them. On arriving home I did a Google search and found that sometimes they can appear pale during the transitional moult between winter and summer coat. Whatever, the reason it was a striking beautiful animal which certainly provide a great finale to the session.


Carol Blackburn said...

Awww, I love the one where the rabbit is stretching out his front legs. My dog used to do that and I thought it was cute then but the rabbit is adorable.

Asha Ram said...

So beautiful!

Bob Pelkey said...

A very nice series, Rich. I try to avoid exceeding 1250 ISO in low light conditions when using the 1DM4 just because of inherently poor results from other cameras I have used in the past. You have me want to experiment in pushing the envelope a bit.

Paul Sorrell said...

They are certainly relaxed; there is a wonderful intimacy in these shots. Well done, Rich.


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