Saturday, December 06, 2014

Just the Hare Necessities

Coming up to the end of the year is often the time to try and reduce the usual processing backlog and get the year's images wrapped up and finally backed up. So my first task was to go through some brown hare photos from the summer that have been left gathering dust on the hard drives.
I spent quite a bit of time with the hares again this year, an animal of which I can never tire. Its always such a pleasure being in their presence but I cannot quite put my finger on the attraction of hares for me. I mean I have obviously seen a large number of rabbits over the years but taken relatively few photographs but put a hare in front of me and the hours just seem to drift away. They certainly have mesmerizing glassy eyes that reflect that surrounding landscape.
Keeping those feet clean.
A warm summer evening spent lying down on the ground close to hare is such a wonderful experience and all of life's pressure and stress fade to nothing in the background. To use a versus from a song in the Jungle Book film but substituting bare with hare and you get the following which I think sums it up well.

'Look for the hare necessities
The simple hare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the hare necessities
That's why a hare can rest at ease
With just the hare necessities of life' 

May be I have just spent too long with hares !!

Anyway on to some photographs. The summer brown hare is a very relaxed animal they still breed throughout the summer with the occasional crazed boxing bouts but most of the time seems to be spent feeding and building up fat reserves to see them through the hard times in the coming winter months. This makes these shy cautious animals much easier to approach.

Hare's eyesight is geared up to detect movement. If you sit still enough they can sometimes walk right up to you, apparently completely oblivious to your presence. Some of you may remember a couple of years back when I told you of a hare that walked up to me whilst sat in a hedgerow and started licking my boot, presumably for some residual salt left on it from a beach wader photography session.
If you need to approach them then crawling flat is the way to go as they, together with many animals, associate the upright human form with danger. At times you will be surprised how close you can get to a hare. The tricky part is often leaving without disturbing it as crawling very slowly backwards with a heavy camera is not the easiest movement to make. However, the goal with all wildlife photography should be not to disturb or stress your subject. I see many people having got their photos then forgetting about their subject, standing up and sending whatever they were photographing speeding off to the horizon.  My view is you should back away as carefully as you approached.
With the brown hares now quiet my thoughts are rapidly turning to photographing mountain hares given that they will be well in to taking on their white winter coats. It is all dependent on the weather which is never to be taken lightly in their habitat.


Jonny Langmyren said...

The picture where you can see all the landscape mirrored in the eye is really nice. It is an eyecatcher.

Mary Cromer said...

I Love love love these, every one of them is grand, absolutely marvelous!

David Gascoigne said...

Wonderful images. It's like an illustrated lagomorph text book!


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