Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Critter Captures

When I started out dabbling in wildlife photography many years ago, what drew me initially was animals. I had never, believe it or not, seen a buck up close. A friend had blown up a photo of a buck and showed it to me while I was over at her house for a visit. It was beautiful! I wanted to see in person what she captured, so I asked her to take me with her sometime. She agreed, so I dug out my college camera, which was a Pentax K1000 manual film camera. I had gotten a cheap 500mm zoom many years back, and I don't even know why I had it, but I am glad I did. We went out to her favorite deer areas, but didn't see a buck. Well, that elusive buck fueled the desire to capture one even more. I took shots of everything. Squirrels, robins, sparrows, you name it, just to shoot something, and the obsession was born. I wanted to shoot everything. Bucks, raccoons, fox, etc. were my focus, but to find them on a regular basis was a mighty tall order. Birds were abundant, so my lens shifted to the trees and skies. I didn't know a thing about birds. I knew your everyday basics, but even capturing, say a cardinal, was not what I could walk out the back door and shoot. I discovered all kinds of species along with their interesting markings, and absorbed every tidbit of information on them. I bought my first field guide. I bought my first digital camera. I bought my first printer. I bought my first everything from zooms to filters to remote shutters and tripods. I made a few mistakes. I bought plenty of junk and had to buy over again. I was now beginning to understand quality/price. What an expensive road I have been down, and I am still stepping...So I ask...What is your story?
Ahhh, the memories...But, I digress...What made me think of my beginnings was this series of photos. I saw alot of critters, and didn't photograph any birds, which is rare.

An up close opossum, which was exciting. Actually it's a first for me! The hair textures were interesting, and the delicate pink nose was intriquing. It's worth clicking on the photo to see the detail.

I've seen this particular coyote many times, as have you, so I wonder why? Are food sources scarce that he needs to be exposed? I don't know, but he looks very healthy.

I've also seen this buck many times, as have you. How can you not take just one more photo? I can't.


Craig Glenn said...


I love opossum! Especially with a little bbq sauce. Relax, I am just kiddin'! What do you expect from a southern country boy.

Thanks for sharing your story. Hard to believe you were not born with a camera.


Stacey Huston said...

Hannibal.. thank you for telling your story.. My husband always says that we all have a story.. and I would imagine that your story goes much deeper that just the camera.. I am still in the stumbling stage myself.. don't know if we ever get beyond.. do have a digital now.. film and developing was WAY to expensive and I never knew if I got the shot I was after...and now I don't have to "conserve" film.. wishing you a wonderful New Year to come..

jalynn01 said...

I suspect we all have a 'story' which leads us up to where we are now and why we carry a camera and blog what we see. Yours is familiar in ways and different in others. I loved hearing about it! And the opossom gets the 'ugly' award more often than not but I must say yours is quite pretty. I've not seen a coyote through my lens, but would love to. And no! we can never get enough pictures of bucks. Nice post Hannibal!

Tina said...

The nice thing about personal experiences that lead us to creation is that there is no end. We keep adding to them and growing..how wonderful to read that which inspired you to become the wonderful photographer that you are. I grew up on a mountain top of approx 500 people and was always outside..but college, work, a happy marriage, children etc. gently pushed my love of observing aside...and now with more time on my hands, a digital camera and people like you to inspire me..I am re-learning self-patience and how to see. What a nice post...thank u

Gardener's Garden said...

Your photo of the opposum is truly beautiful and I would frame it and hang it on the wall.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Fascinating story of how your photography and birding started.Guess we all have a story to tell,some day I'll tell mine on my blog.Love the pictures.

Bird Girl said...

Neat story, Hannibal - and I love the opossum shot! Your coyote may just be one of those that has no fear of being seen. Lucky you! And that buck - wow - post as many as you can!!
I am a spoiled rotten city girl who married a guy that was in love with nature and critters. He became a falconer and when we moved to the country he actually brought his red-tail INTO my living room to get her used to people (yikes) Once he found a Snowy Owl in May ...happened to have his falconers glove and brought it right into my bedroom while I was sleeping and said, "Is this that owl you always wanted to see?" Yep...I didn't appreciate his passion for many years. I had an Olympus OM-10 35mm and I did love it but I never learned to use the manual settings. I bought a Nikon F100 and a couple of lenses...same thing - pictures still not good a lot of the time. My first digital Sony F707 is the camera that lit the fire under my passion and as you say...it's been a long, expensive road and I see no end in sight ;-)
Nice post!

Shellmo said...

hannibal - I am hoping to have some of your experiences! I love my birds - but seeing your buck, opposum, coyote - makes me want to find them and get to know them closer. Your photos are a joy!

Wrensong Farm said...

I am far from a fan of opossums, but that photo made that one actually look kind of cute! Great pic!