Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Expanding my wildlife experience beyond the birds, I've finally managed to get some decent images of some rabbits. - Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

    While I really like these images, they aren't quite what I really want to get. The main issue is the backgrounds are not out of focus enough, even with the lens wide open. There's nothing I could do about it on site because the rabbits were too close to the background. That said, these are much better than some of my earlier attempts on the species.

    To get the shots I really want, I need much more time in the field and to work the angles and locations until I get lucky and a subject is out in the open enough that I get a nice distant background. I'm confident this will happen eventually, I just need to be persistent!

    Thanks for viewing, and remember to view at full size for the best sharpness/detail (hit "F" when lytebox is open)


    Here are a few details on how I got these shots, in case anyone is interested. By the way, I was in natural/earthy colored clothing (not camo this time ) and I was wearing a wide boonie hat. The boonie hat is awesome! It blocks the sun from my head and neck, it blocks the sun from the viewfinder and lcd screen, it keeps the bugs away a little, and finally, I have found it apparently makes animals less afraid of me when I'm low because it obscures my face and eyes.

    For shot 1, I was a distance away and the rabbit was remaining very still, hoping I wouldn't see him I went around his perimeter, and from lower down on a hill, I shot up through some grass to get this; the side and lower grass is actually naturally blurred in around the edge, which I quite like.

    1
    A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    For shots 2 and 3, I spotted the rabbit foraging a distance away. I immediately got in a prostrate position on the ground and shifted my eyes away from the animal, keeping my head very low and my face and eyes behind the camera and under the boonie hat. After about a minute of remaining still and watching through the corner of my eye, I slowly inched my way toward my subject. I moved about 6-10 inches very slowly, completely flat on the ground, then paused to gauge the rabbits reaction. After a couple minutes, I again moved forward about a foot. I continued this method over a period of about 20 minutes, slowly getting closer and closer. I always watched the reaction through the corner of my eye, waiting longer if the animal seemed stressed in any way. When it went back to eating, I resumed my approach, typically shooting a few shots off at each stopping point. Despite the dirt, bugs, and the sweat/sunblock mixture running into my eyes, I pressed on (had to throw the drama in ) I heard some people coming along the trail and knew the shoot would soon be over. The rabbit became aware of the people and their dog; it stood on its hind legs, and quickly bolted away as the dog came running down the trail toward me (only about 1% of all people abide by the leash-law with their dogs). I am absolutely convinced I could have got much closer to the rabbit if there had not been any interruptions and I took my time.
    2
    A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    3
    A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,616
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    The mark of a true photographer -dedication, perseverance, patience.

  3. #3
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    The mark of a true photographer -dedication, perseverance, patience.
    Thanks, Bobo. I appreciate you looking and commenting. Do you have any thoughts on the images?

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,020
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Great story. I like #1 and #3 the best. All are nice a sharp. I also like the naturally blurred edges in #1. Also like the wildflowers in the foreground, both eyes in view with light in them. #2 is nice and sharp but there's not much interest other than his cocked ear. #3 is a great catch of it's expression and stance. Also stands out the best from the background.

    I think rabbits are fun to try and get shots of, but agree it takes some luck along with skill to get it done! I shot a great action shot of one a few days ago. Caught him mid-air, nice and sharp, leaping away. Only to realize when I viewed on the computer that his nose was behind a stump. Natural habitat - gotta love it!!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    170
    Real Name
    Mary

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Love # 3 the best- the expression-tells a story. It's different. GREAT JOB!--mary

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,616
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Images are more then fine. I like 3 best for the expression.

    Odd thing is there is only that much one can do from close range. Increasing the environment introduces (usually) a drab uninteresting background. It then comes down to the animal to bring the pic to life as in #3.

    Actually #3 could make an exceptional large tall print. Give it a bit more to the left and top and its good to go.

    I gave #2 a try and I find that using the head alone + a bit of shoulder (with more space right/top) was more appealing as it then brings out the beautiful veins in the ears.
    Last edited by Bobobird; 18th May 2013 at 06:28 PM.

  7. #7
    jprzybyla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    3,073
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    I like them Matt, good work. The third is my favorite, love the pose and expression. You are dedicated, I don't do that crawling stuff. Trouble is at seventy getting up is not as easy as it once was, so I will stick to things that fly so I can look up and shoot. Also in Florida there are some things of the poisonous kind that one would not want to crawl up on.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    A Pacific Island
    Posts
    924
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Matt, rabbits will follow game trails just like any other critter. Try watching around sunrise to find where they usually first appear and use that as a queue on where to set up for light and background. If you are going to continue trying to get shots of animals rather than birds you might also consider a camouflage tent.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,571
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Good stuff, Matt. I like the first one best. Many people aren't aware that eye contact will scare wildlife away. I learned that lesson many years ago as a hunter before I took up a camera in place of a gun. The field craft in hunting and wildlife photography are the same. It's just the method of capture that differs.

  10. #10
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    Great story. I like #1 and #3 the best. All are nice a sharp. I also like the naturally blurred edges in #1. Also like the wildflowers in the foreground, both eyes in view with light in them. #2 is nice and sharp but there's not much interest other than his cocked ear. #3 is a great catch of it's expression and stance. Also stands out the best from the background.

    I think rabbits are fun to try and get shots of, but agree it takes some luck along with skill to get it done! I shot a great action shot of one a few days ago. Caught him mid-air, nice and sharp, leaping away. Only to realize when I viewed on the computer that his nose was behind a stump. Natural habitat - gotta love it!!
    Thanks Terri! Sorry to hear about the rabbit shot you got, blocked by the tree. Indeed, there will be great shots which turn to disappointment due to some uncontrollable issue. But when you get a truly awesome shot, it makes up for all the frustration. I'm getting better shots more often lately, so this is really exciting

  11. #11
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Images are more then fine. I like 3 best for the expression.

    Odd thing is there is only that much one can do from close range. Increasing the environment introduces (usually) a drab uninteresting background. It then comes down to the animal to bring the pic to life as in #3.

    Actually #3 could make an exceptional large tall print. Give it a bit more to the left and top and its good to go.

    I gave #2 a try and I find that using the head alone + a bit of shoulder (with more space right/top) was more appealing as it then brings out the beautiful veins in the ears.
    Thanks for commenting back with your input on the pics. Very helpful suggestions. Ooooh, a print of my photo, that would be awesome! I hope to get more print-worthy photos as time goes by.

  12. #12
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    I like them Matt, good work. The third is my favorite, love the pose and expression. You are dedicated, I don't do that crawling stuff. Trouble is at seventy getting up is not as easy as it once was, so I will stick to things that fly so I can look up and shoot. Also in Florida there are some things of the poisonous kind that one would not want to crawl up on.
    Thanks for commenting, Joe. I agree, crawling around and being a sniper/acrobat is not easy! Where I live, there is nothing poisonous or too dangerous around my home. If I traveled a couple hours, I could run across rattlesnakes, bears, and mountain lions, to name a few. I will be out in those type of places soon...

  13. #13
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    Matt, rabbits will follow game trails just like any other critter. Try watching around sunrise to find where they usually first appear and use that as a queue on where to set up for light and background. If you are going to continue trying to get shots of animals rather than birds you might also consider a camouflage tent.
    Thanks a lot Andrew, this is great info. I do have a hunters blind / tent, but I need to find some places further off the beaten path. The local parks aren't the best for this kind of photography, but they are all I have on a consistent, easy basis (photographing in evenings after work, near my home). I tend to get bothered by people and their dogs, and setting up a blind at a park would definitely draw some attention. I'll have to head out on the weekends to a national park, perhaps. I'd probably have more access to a greater variety of wildlife as well...

    I also need to start getting up early. Have always had trouble getting up super early for sunrise shots I'll need to make it a "must" so I can really get a lot of good wildlife shots. Here I am, still up at 11:30pm Need to shift my schedule around!

    Thanks again!

  14. #14
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,118
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: A different kind of wildlife - Cottontail rabbit

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Good stuff, Matt. I like the first one best. Many people aren't aware that eye contact will scare wildlife away. I learned that lesson many years ago as a hunter before I took up a camera in place of a gun. The field craft in hunting and wildlife photography are the same. It's just the method of capture that differs.
    Dan, thanks a lot. #1 is also my fave (actually probably one of my favorite animal shots I've ever taken- not that I've taken many yet)

    Agreed, about eye contact. Most people laugh when I tell them about it. They think it's silly to believe animals actually pay attention to such details and are that smart. It definitely matters, and I'm careful about my body language and such.

    Great point about the hunting/photography. Come to think of it, hunting forums and websites would be a good source of info for tracking and stalking animals...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •