Just yesterday I had a strange encounter, a skunk was scavenging by bird feeders. Not the first time I had seen a skunk in winter, but they are rare this time of year. This one was also white and huge. I had already packed the camera gear in the car and by the time I arrived in the general vicinity of my sighting, it was gone. Thus came my inspiration for this week’s challenge.
Mammals photograph better at around eye level. So on smaller mammals you’re going to have to get down and low. In North America and Europe the Red Fox is probably one of the most photographed predators. It’s also my favorite.
Our friends in the Southern hemisphere will have an extra privilege, little baby mammals of all shapes and sizes. Remember that parents will protect their young and often the least dangerous looking animal may be the worst. Always keep a safe distance and never cut off an animal’s exit route.
Some animals are extremely hard to approach, like this Chamois. They fear man and only patience will get you close enough for a picture. Although I was lucky to capture this young Chamois in a field in Switzerland, most of them live in difficult to access areas like cliffs.
If the great outdoors seems intimidating there are many natural habitat rescue centers and wildlife refuge that offer great opportunities to get closer to a wild animal. The above wolves were photographed at the Ecomuseum in St-Anne-de-Bellevue. Encouraging these establishments helps fund rescue efforts in the wild.
Not all mammals live on land. This North American River Otter spends most of its time in water feeding on fish and amphibians. It also will build its den on the river bank.
We even have flying mammals. Bats make interesting subjects. Finding them may prove to be tricky. If you find a bat resting during the day, chances are you’ll have all the time in the world to photograph it.
Worst comes to worst, if all else fails, there’s always the local population of squirrels. They tend to come in all shapes and sizes. From little ground squirrels to their larger cousin, the groundhog.
If you’re looking for a groundhog, well you might also want to look up in the trees. Contrary to popular belief these critters tend to spend time out of their den and up in the trees. They are very closely related to their smaller cousin, the squirrel.
Large wild cats like this Lynx are absolutely magnificent on snow. Actually I find them magnificent period. However they cautiously avoid man. When they chance an encounter with man you have to know what you’re doing. There’s a great deal of precaution to take so you don’t provoke an attack. Behaving like prey won’t help your case. If you’re in large cat (Mountain Lion, Tiger, Lion,…) and/or bear territory make sure you have the experience and knowledge to take care of yourself. If not, be cautious and hire a local, experienced guide.
Not to insult my dear friend Fardoche, the Alaskan sled dog, but as this is Nature and Wildlife, domesticated animals and house pets aren’t on the agenda. Try to get out there, enjoy the outdoor and bring back a great image!
Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.
The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity
The rules are pretty simple:
- Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.
I wish you all a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! I’ll see you next year with a new formula for the 2015 PhotoChallenge 🙂