In the wild

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I spend a number of hours carrying camera equipment through woods and fields while chasing photos of small birds. During these excursions I often encounter “non-feathered” wildlife, but anything larger than a chipmunk or squirrel can be difficult to shoot because of the long lens I’m using (Canon EF 600 f/4L with a 1.4x teleconverter, the equivalent of 840mm of glass).

At 840mm, something the size of a deer needs to be about half a football field away for me to get anything other than a head and shoulder shot.

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But occasionally I get lucky and catch the right animal in good light at the proper distance to get something usable.

My featured gallery for October includes a variety of those “lucky” wildlife shots.

The image of the raccoon that leads the gallery is a good example of shooter’s luck. 

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I was walking through a very dark patch of woods while looking for birds to photograph in Blendon Woods Metro Park outside Columbus, Ohio, when I startled a raccoon that was beside the trail (it startled me, too, because it ran right under my foot). The raccoon climbed a nearby tree, but seemed curious about my camera and me. It kept looking around the tree and between the leaves to see what I was doing. I was able to click off a few frames. (For you photo tech freaks: I’m surprised I was able to get a somewhat sharp image shooting wide open – f/5.6 – at ISO3200 and a very slow 1/50th of a second using the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L and Canon 2x teleconverter on a monopod. This was before I bought the Canon EF600mm f/4L that I use for wildlife now.)

After a few minutes the raccoon climbed down the tree and walked to within about 10 feet of me, stood on its hind legs, stared at the camera, then moved into the woods.

I add a new featured gallery the first of each month. Last month’s featured gallery, with close-up photos of kitchen utensils, has been moved to my featured gallery archives

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