Mountain Hare Kingdom

Mountain Hare sitting in its form, among a vast snowy landscape. Cairngorms, Highlands, Scotland
When photographing wildlife it’s easy to get hung up going for the biggest lens possible and shooting tight portraits. While this is a great option most of the time with bags of detail, it never really conveys the animal’s habitat. Sometimes the landscape in which an animal lives isn’t always picturesque but in the case of mountain dwelling mammals in the Cairngorms, the landscape can be just as interesting as the subject itself.
On wildlife outings I’ll always stick a wide angle lens in the camera bag in case a subject is tolerant enough; firstly of me getting closer and secondly whether the opportunity greets itself to capitalise on. This is the same Hare from the ‘Spindrift’ image. I must have spent around two hours with this one individual, allowing me to move around trying out different shots at different focal lengths. First challenge was to change lenses from the 500mm to the 24-70mm without covering the camera internals in snow, then to move around to a position above the Hare so as to shoot back into the mountainous backdrop finding a pleasing composition. With the wind blasting across the hillside, the clouds were really shifting across the scene and I must have shot over 50 images, all slightly different as the sun went in and out of the clouds, finally settling on this one as I prefer the subtle lighting on the hills and colours in the sky.


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