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on Jan 23, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Winter – Respect Their Space

Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep
captured by D2H / 600f4

One of my favorite times of year to photograph big game is in the winter. The two main reasons are all based on their pelt. They have their winter coats and often extra fat levels so they look their best. At the same time, those pelts which any other time of year help them blend in, really make them stand out. And in the winter, the basics of getting close physically really pay off big. Food is an obvious attraction but water, not so obvious, is even a bigger attraction. Free water, water not frozen, can be really scarce and they still have the same needs in the winter and summer for water. Knowing this basic biology can really produce some great images.

Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep
captured by D2H / 600f4

It takes very little to stress a critter in the wintertime. The same old mantra, calories in, calories out, still counts. This is even truer in the winter when both food and water helps keep them warm as well as functioning. I’ve seen too many times in a photographer’s desire to get “the” photo pushing a critter so they can’t simply eat or drink. Or the critter has to expend more energy than normal to take in that food or water. Learn a little basic biology, use a longer lens or, just take a deep breath and pass by that photo so the next time you go out, the critter is still there. More than any time of the year, in winter, respect their space!

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