Saturday, May 03, 2014

7 Year Itch

It dawned on me the other day that I have now been photographing brown hares through every season for the last 7 years. I can't imagine what the cumulative number of hours I have spent within them over that period in which I have witnessed many memorable moments. The whole spectrum of hare behaviour has been before me at one time or another that has included boxing, rolling around on the floor like a dog, standing upright like a meerkat, flattening themselves against the ground to hide, running washing, shaking, jumping in the air, the list goes on and on. There have been young hares and old, females and males in all conditions with rain, wind, sun, hail, frost and snow. Despite all this, I keep finding drawn back to them again and again. For some reason a fascination with hares get under your skin and causes  an itch that you can never quite fully scratch and relieve.
This spring I seem to have spent quite a bit of time photographing the hares and have particularly been concentrating on taking low level photographs to give a hare's eye view on their world. This is obviously not the easiest of photography as it requires getting your self into a position where your lying on the ground just a few metres away. The 7 years of experience with reading hare reactions obviously helps overcome some of these challenges but it was also aided by finding one particularly accommodating hare that seemed to be appearing in the same spot in the evenings.  I have found that hares quite often do this and certain individuals can be quite habitual in nature. This hare seemed fairly oblivious and very relaxed in my presence. Being in very close to a hare like this is one of life's great pleasures.

Taking photographs at ground level when the vegetation is quite short, apart from giving you neck ache!,  is an interesting exercise. What I was aiming to achieve was the hare in amongst an out of focus green mush of vegetation, so there are no distracting elements. In reality what you find that small changes in ground height, and your position and particularly the height of the camera can make major differences to the resulting photograph. At this close to a hare, particularly adjusting your position have to be done very slowly and quietly whilst watching the hare at all times and gauging its reaction.

When your in close to a hare its amber coloured glassy eyes reflect the surrounding environment, in the case below the evening sky, but I am always curious as to the thought processes that are going on behind.

The images in the post are a selection from a series of short evening sessions that I have spent with the hares over the last few weeks.

An incoming hare. When they are running straight at you it requires a steady hand to hold focus as they get large and larger in the frame.
 Those large ears swivel round in all directions constantly alert for danger.
So the hare itch continues and has now in fact grown worse having located some of the mountain variety last winter. In another 7 years I will hopefully still be here as will the hares discussing the 14 year itch.


Related Posts with Thumbnails