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Friday, November 5, 2010

Can You Find the Animal?

Another one from this past spring, though this shot certainly wouldn't stand out in a crowd.  But that's exactly the point...can you see what's in this photo?  Hint: it's not a sasquatch.

Camo cat in Jasper National Park, Spring 2010

So did you spot it?  Crazily enough, I took this shot with a 70-200mm lens.  I was only about 20 feet from the lynx (just in case you did not spot it, the lynx is in the dead center, its head poking up by that light-coloured twig).

And did you spot the second lynx in the back right?  Now that's amazing camouflage!!

You may wonder why I've even kept images like this on file.  Well, there are two reasons behind it.  One, I love images that tell a story or inspire a story.  How exactly did I spot this?  Is there really a second lynx in the background?  And do you think you would have spotted this as you walked by it?  Doesn't it make you wonder just how many lynx or cougar or bobcat you've probably walked and driven by over the years, all well hidden, watching calmly from the shadows?

And the second reason I've kept this image?  Because somewhere, long in the distant future, I may be doing a book about animal camouflage.  Pretty good chance, actually.  And in that book I'll be trying to keep everyone honest by pointing out things that do exist (one lynx) and things that don't (I was kidding about that second lynx)!

So what is the story behind this image?  Half an hour before the shot was taken, I drove around a corner and spotted a lynx casually strolling across the road.  As I pulled up, it meandered off the road and into the bush, setting off a frenzied attempt by me pacing up and down the roadside and the edge of the bush with my big lens, hoping against hope to get another glimpse of the lynx.  After thirty minutes of lugging the big lens over my shoulder and my smaller 70-200 around my neck, I suddenly spotted the lynx watching me through the undergrowth.  I slowly lifted up my 70-200 and fired off this shot (along with a few others), before setting up the bigger lens and trying to find an angle to get a clearer shot.

That's it for today, hope you all have a great weekend!



  1. I was squinting away at my monitor wondering why I couldn't see the second cat! It's funny that sometimes the critters are as interested in you as you are in them. Great story John!

  2. Funny, I kept looking for the second lynx thinking that I really need to make that eye appointment. Interesting story and I think you got something there for a book idea. I'm sure it would do well.

  3. You had me too. I was starting to think there might be something wrong with my eyes.

    Good story, I love hearing about these kind of encounters. They are the kind that I'm always looking forward to!

  4. That is a great picture, the best part is that its not your "ordinary" wildlife shot. Every time I go out hiking with camera in hand I think about how many animals I probably walked right past while looking for something to photograph. That's the way it works though, when you go looking you usually cant' find anything and when you're not prepared is when you stumble across a great opportunity like the Lynx shot you have posted here.

  5. Thanks Eagle Eyes,
    Glad I'm not the only one thinking these obscure shots show wild things in proper context. Although if this was my image the twig would be sharp as a tack - not the cat!

  6. i really thought i could see the in fact i am sure i did. Awesome photo because to me it is what you would see on most days if you saw a lynx that often in the bush. Very realistic. Thanks John. John, we used to live in Canmore, now in Lethbridge. I met you in pre op surgery in the hospital in Canmore. After years spent in the bush I have begun a journey in outdoor writing. I enjoy your photographs. Thanks!

  7. Fantastic camouflage. I like the image, and the story that goes with it. No wonder wildlife can be so hard to see.