BetterPhoto.com - Become a better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
     


BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Animals, Pets, & Wildlife Photography

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.

 
Photography Question 
Leanna Fehr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/20/2006
 

Shooting Rabbits (With a Camera)


Has anyone been able to get a shot of a wild rabbit (jack, cottontail or whatever) in which the animal looks like it doesn't have a care in the world? If someone has, could you tell me how you did it?
Thanks!

4/18/2007 3:47:23 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Get a car-window mount and drive to where you have a good chance for a close encounter. A telephoto lens of at least 300mm will give you a nice-sized image in the frame. ... And when you see one, don't try to get out of the car to get closer. As soon as you open your car door, Ol' Buggs will surely scoot to the nearest thicket.

4/18/2007 4:03:31 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Tell the rabbit he has the winning powerball ticket. :)


Pete

4/18/2007 6:52:30 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  And how do they look different when a rabbit is stressed?

4/18/2007 9:45:01 PM

 
Leanna Fehr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/20/2006
  Thanks to everyone who responded:) Gregory, when a rabbit is "stressed" It'll look like it's frozen until it thinks you've noticed it then it'll be going the other way. I liked your idea Pete, I had to laugh:) Bob, thanks for the suggestion, the only thing, is my camera doesn't zoom very far, so that won't work for me. Does anyone know how to get close to a rabbit without it noticing you? Leanna

4/19/2007 10:43:11 AM

 
Stephanie M. Stevens

member since: 4/20/2005
  I was in a campground once where there were rabbits everywhere, and I guess they were fairly used to people. I got really close to them by going one step at a time. Take a step, then stop. they perk up and look at you but eventually go back to eating or whatever. when they go back to ignoring you, take another step. It's slow, but it works with tamer animals.

4/19/2007 11:17:24 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Leanna,

From my hunting experience, when you are in a truly wild situation, i.e. the woods, you are usually going to walk right up to them and not even see them until you get so close that they run (very very fast). They will usually scare you too because you are not expecting the rabbit to be there and it is almost impossible to get a shot, oops, better say photograph.

In a more tame situation where they are used to people, as Stephanie explained, you can creep up on them step by very slow step and maybe get close enough for a photo.

There really is no way to go out and call them in as you would a turkey, so you are going to probably have to depend on a lot of luck.

4/19/2007 11:40:31 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  What Todd said is true, since most small game animals who have grown accustomed to having strange things pointed at them usually wind up as dinner that evening.

What I've found effective when stalking skittish critters is to get down to their level...on the ground and literally crawling closer to get off a shot or two before they scoot.
I've never tried this approach with rabbits or hares but I've used it on other species that have evolved to fear ANYTHING that walks upright and looms over them from above.

(Just take a quick glance around first to make sure no one is watching you.) ;)

Bob

4/19/2007 4:23:46 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Sharon
Sharon 's Gallery

member since: 6/27/2004
  If you want to go to the trouble of using a blind that's one way of getting animals closer to you. I've had wild rabbits in my yard and had I wanted to take pics of them I would have tried feeding them then sitting inside something until they got within shooting distance.

There are also wild animal calls you can get at a from outfitting stores such as Cabela's. They are digital and make a noise like a distressed animal would. I have never used one but in nature magazines I've read you can even bring in deer with those. They say they'll come out of curiosity. I don't know any of this first hand. Good luck!

4/19/2007 5:03:19 PM

 
Leanna Fehr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/20/2006
  Bob, may I ask what type of creatures you've tryed this on? Thanks Stephanie, Todd, and Sharon, for the good ideas. Todd, you said something about not being able to call rabbits, this I can understand as rabbit are prey, but do you know of a bait that might work? Thanks everyone!
Leanna

4/19/2007 6:17:52 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  I guess you could try buying some rabbit food at the local farm goods store. They mainly eat grass, grains, and fruits and vegetables. They love clover, (remember Thumper in the movie Bambi?),

http://courses.ttu.edu/thomas/classPet/1998/rabbit1/new_page_3.htm

Heck, I've seen them in my back yard eating fresh cut grass/weeds.

4/19/2007 7:03:03 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  I don't know if this link helps any at all.

http://www.gardensafari.net/english/rabbit.htm

4/19/2007 7:20:22 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Leanna,

Where are you going to try to get photos at these rabbits? Back yard? Woods/forest?

I've been sitting around thinking about this. The problem with sticking some bait out in your back yard is you never know when they are going to come to the food and eat. You'd have to sit there for hours and probably wouldn't see one rabbit. When you left and came back the food and the rabbits would be gone.

When we hunt deer, we plant food plots for them. Things they like to eat like wheat, oats, rye, etc. We plant it before the hunting season so that the crop comes up 3 to 4 weeks before the actual hunting season comes in so that they have time to establish an eating pattern if you will.

After going through all this work, we still may sit there for several hours before even seeing a deer. I'm talking 24-48 hours total time sitting in a deer stand before even seeing a deer.

So, I guess the point is, you'd have to put out some food at regular intervals, or plant a plot and monitor what happens.

I usually see wild rabbits (mind you this is during deer season which is October through January) between dusk and dawn. They seem to eat early and late.

But; if you could get them a steady food source, like with a food plot, they would be more apt to come out in the day light hours.

I know that rabbits really like White Clover. Even more so than Crimson Clover. I've watched them many times eating the white flower and green leaves of the clover.

I hope this helps and hasn't been too graphic. I understand there are a lot of people sensitive to animal rights.

4/19/2007 7:46:00 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  I would not recommend baiting wild animals with food. They can become accustomed to being fed and may alter their lifestyle around what they find waiting for them at timed intervals.

I like Todd's approach of actually planting a grain field. It will remain, and all animals can benefit from the food source long after the hunter (or photographer) has left the woods.

To address Leanna's question:
I've used a low-level approach to sneak up on fawns, marmots, ground squirrels, waterfowl,...even snakes.
I once crawled to within 10" from a basking black racer to get a full-frame head shot.
I got my photos and as soon as I stood up, he took off like a shot.

Bob

4/20/2007 4:12:16 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
 
 
 
First; let me say that I believe it highly unethical to bait animals simply for the purpose of making it easier to photograph them. If you study the work done by the real wildlife masters you will find that all of them strongly oppose such practice.

As someone who photographs a lot of wildlife, let me share a few ideas;

If you want to photograph any animal it pays to learn as much about that animal as possible. Know when they are most active; what they eat; when they are mostly likely to be sluggish, etc.

A long lens (telephoto) is essential to capturing realistic wildlife images. Even rabbits who have grown accustomed to people will move very quickly if you get too close.

Unless you are using a point and shoot camera, set your controls shutter speed priority and select a fast speed so that you can capture the image should the animal move – and they will move

A car, when practical, makes one of the best blinds. Either use a beanbag (my choice most of the time) or a car tripod for stability

Good luck!

Irene


4/20/2007 5:26:53 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Irene brought up a very good point and my suggestion was not to advocate baiting. I too do not agree with this practice. I don't do hunting and I'm not about to do it photographing. The food plot practice, though, is not baiting and as Bob stated, food plots provide a steady source of food for all wildlife long after the hunter/photographer are gone.

4/20/2007 5:37:23 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Baiting and food plots are the same thing. Providing food in a place that didn't have it before to attract an animal.

4/20/2007 11:33:32 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Greg,

I respectfully disagree with you; but, you are welcome to call it what you like.

4/20/2007 11:38:36 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Todd –

I understand your point about food plots versus baiting and to some degree I can appreciate the need. However, the problem is that once a food plot is available animals become conditioned to finding food at that location. They alter their behavior and territory to take advantage of the easy pickings. In many of the areas in which I have worked over the past couple of years (I do travel and nature writing) they have encountered serious issues related to the establishment of food plots. I don’t know where you live; however, in most of North America previously open land is being gobbled up for development forcing many species to alter their behavior in order to survive. Then either a hunter (usually a group of hunters) or, IMHO worse yet, a group of “animal right activists” establish a food plot. Good hunters do this in a knowing and planned manner that can benefit both hunters and their prey – well, to some extent their prey. No matter the reason for these plots and no matter how well planned and managed, they do alter the behavior of animals. This is not always negative, but it can have unexpected and unwanted consequences. In my area of the country combined factors of over-development and lack of open space has given rise to a real problem with predator species such as coyote. Then someone plants a foot plot and this brings in even more coyotes to feed on the species who visit the plot. You get the idea.

This is a very hotly debated topic among hunters, naturalists and others, including some real nuts on all sides. I’m not about to argue this point too vehemently since I am not an expert. I just think that it is something that anyone who is concerned with wildlife needs to at least think about.

Now, let’s get back to photography!

Irene

4/20/2007 5:39:03 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  If I liked to call it something else as if that gave me some kind of pleasure or put me at ease, I'd still be wrong because it's not about liking one name over another.
If you find spot X on the first day of hunting season and drop a bale or rye there and then go set up somewhere, it's no different than finding spot X and dropping some rye seeds so that by the time the first day of hunting season comes you'll have a bale's equivalent of rye so you can go set up somewhere.
It just saves you having to carry some more bait to spot X the next hunting season.

4/20/2007 7:27:01 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Irene,

Thanks. I agree with all your points. I am a hunter; but, I also try to protect the rights of these animals. Most of my time in a deer stand is spent sitting there with a camera pointed at them and not a rifle. Just ask my buddy that I hunt with. He still rags me for not shooting.

I don't shoot more than I will eat. (Sorry, that sounds bad; but, is really good.) You are right, the coyote is becoming a problem in the U.S. and here in Georgia and didn't start untill about 6 or 7 years ago for us here. They are getting more active.

I see your point. I will not suggest the "food plot" idea for photographing animals any more.

Good job. And by the way. Wildlife is very important to me. One of the greatest sights I've seen are Osprey's diving for a fish and their tallons coming out of the water with a fish in them. Unbelievable! I honestly would rather watch.

4/20/2007 7:28:01 PM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Again Greg. Call it what you like. I'll not get into an arguement over this because neither you nor I will be able to convince the other they are wrong. And it's not worth my time!

4/20/2007 7:32:48 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Some things like math aren't involved with convincing.

4/20/2007 8:07:54 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Todd –

I live in New England now, but I grew up in Montana. Around here far too many so-called “hunters” have no clue as to how to behave in the woods; how to track or how to safely handle a rifle. I find this somewhat incomprehensible because where I grew up you learned to handle a rifle as a young kid and grew up in an environment where safety and responsibility were natural. Anyway, I am far from being anti-hunting; I believe that some of the best conservationists are hunters. What I worry about is the irresponsible misuse of land; resources and animals.

The issue of food plots goes back and forth among conservationists and environmentalists and I suspect will always remain a point of argument among these folks. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I suspect we are pretty much on the same page.

Hey, get out and shoot with that camera – it’s spring, finally!

Irene

4/21/2007 10:49:09 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/8/2004
  Irene,

I actually spend more time in the deer stand with my camera than I do actually hunting them with a rifle. You are correct about a lot of the hunters. They are unsafe. I am very particular where I hunt, whether it be with a camera or a rifle because of this.

A kind of funny story as a side note here. Georgia has a hunter safety course that is required if you are under a certain age or born before a certain date. When I started hunting, I missed that date by a few months. Now, I was taught by The Marine Corps how to handle a weapon and I was an expert marksman. I still had to take that course. I could have taken the test and passed it without even taking the course. I called the DNR to see if they made any allowances for prior or active military and they didn't. I probably knew more about handling weapons and the rules for identifying my target than most of the guys teaching the class.

My wife and I are flying to Key West in the morning for a week. I can't wait. And yes, the camera is going with me.

I have a friend that is an avid turkey hunter and he and I went out a couple weeks ago when the season first opened. We had just arrived at the spot we were going to hunt, I had my camera and not a shotgun, and he made a call. 2 toms gobbled and were only a few yards away. We set up facing the way we thought they would come and as luck would have, they came in behind us. All I could do was look over my shoulder and watch this 1 tom put on a show I had never seen before. It was truely amazing to watch him strut. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to set up correctly next time.

Some day I hope to make it to the New England area. Think I've got to get a faster plane before I do that though. I hate flying commercial so I try to plan my vacations within a decent flying distance of my home airport.

4/21/2007 11:10:55 AM

 
Jill Love

member since: 1/16/2006
  I live in the country on a dirt road. In the spring the bunnies are so busy chasing each other around they hardly notice me. Out on the dirt road, they scamper and chase each other and I can see them really well from a long distance away. I got down low in neutral color clothes and slowly moved toward them as they chased each other around. I got several shots of them nose to nose, and even one hopping right over the top of the other like leap frog! It's amazing. They knew I was there but didn't care because I didn't move and didn't make any sounds. Eventually they chased each other off into the woods. I'd be happy to send you the pics to see or post them. Just go for a walk down a country dirt road. You'll be amazed what you'll find.

4/24/2007 5:31:22 AM

 
John Nunziato

member since: 1/27/2004
  Hi Leanna,
I just approached very quietly..
when I spot something on the side of the road...
please have a look..
John Nunziato's Premium BetterPholio™
Thanks
John

4/24/2007 6:37:35 AM

 
Sonja 

member since: 11/4/2007
  I have pet rabbits not quite the same I realize, but rabbits are crepuscular, meaning that they generally sleep during the day and during the night, but are ready to play at dawn and twilight, so you might have good luck trying to shoot during that time, when they are most active. I know thats when I get better pics, unless I just want pics of the buns napping (so cute!)
Hope that helps, Sonja

1/31/2008 7:48:54 PM

 

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.
 

Copyright © 1996-2014 BetterPhoto.com, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.