I have spent quite a lot of time over the last year photographing hares… or at least, trying to. These secretive and illusive mammals are surprisingly common around me. Unlike rabbits, hares don’t live or breed underground. Instead, they press themselves into impressions on the ground and trust that their camouflage will be enough to keep predators at bay.
They require a lot of time and patience to track and photograph. There’s a degree of luck involved for sure but mainly it’s about making sure that the wind is against your face and that you use the natural cover to get close enough without spooking the animal. From there it’s usually a waiting game. Despite the massive ears, hares aren’t particularly good with the whole “eyesight” thing… I’ve regularly kept still and quiet and hares have walked right up to me before seeing me.
That was what happened in my recent encounter. I saw Mr Hare from a distance eating the young corn. The channel of plants created really nice leading lines and so I set up and watched/waited. After about 30 minutes he started to come towards me. My camera has a silent shutter option which was invaluable and he came closer and closer until he was about 2 meters from me. All of a sudden he noticed me, looked carefully, edged around me, before finally running off.
I love the challenge in photographing these guys and I’m hopeful that next year I’ll get some decent shots of the famous boxing hares! You can find all my best hare photos in the project titled “hare today, gone tomorrow” (sorry!)