Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Lynx Fight

The first three words I blurted out were swear words.  Which is fine if one is not in the middle of chatting on a walkie-talkie radio with paying clients on a photography tour.  But I was....

And not only did I swear on the radio in front of paying clients, but I did so with a tremendous amount of gusto and volume.  It was high-pitched, it was even feverish.

Thankfully, none of my clients remember a thing about me reciting several of the most commonly used words in the English language into the radio.  I guess that's what happens when you're driving along and suddenly come upon a couple of lynx on the side of the road.

You know...just a couple of lynx. Nothing major, right?

And now let me provide a little insight into what goes on a professional wildlife photographer's mind when a couple of lynx are encountered on the side of the road:

What the wow get your window down no open the door no stop the car park pull over sh%t no time please please stay there grab camera open door no window down no door theyre crossing the road mother of pearl change aperture focus oh my gosh theyre gonna fight get both in should i change lenses no do it no concentrate stop shaking get both in wow theyre gonna fight get both in get both in GET BOTH IN!!!!

So that was what happened in the first half second or so.  Haha!  Note that I did not think even once of what exactly my clients were doing or if they were even getting shots (ulp, forgive me John, Kim, and Don!).

In all, the photo experience was probably two minutes worth of lynx, though it seemed like an hour in comparison to the rest of my lynx encounters over the years.  This time I actually had time to think (sort of) and managed to get my breathing and shaking under control (though it took me most of the two minutes to do so!).

I'll never be sure, but I think the two big males were squaring off in what was either a fight over a lady or a territorial dispute.  For much of the encounter it looked like they would fight right there in front of us, but instead they wandered back into the bush where we could hear them screaming and howling at each other (at one point we attempted to follow them in, but the snow was too deep). I don't know if they actually fought, but it sure sounded like they did!

The first male hustles across the road right between our cars, I shot this with a 500mm hand-held out of my car door
 
As the first male walked up onto the snowbank opposite us, it became obvious that he was pretty ticked at the other male!

At this point he was visibly upset and was hissing loudly as the other male approached him

Still shooting with my 500mm, the first male changed his body position and continued to stare down the male below him

Getting very aggressive now, feet splayed out, scowling and hissing!

Face-to-face hissing away at each other!

Taking a swipe with his front right paw

Head-to-head making a bunch of angry noise!


Walking away into the trees, two minutes after we first spotted them

Thanks for looking everyone, let me know which ones are your faves in the 'Comments' below.  Happy shooting!

John

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Royal BC Museum talk - March 27th

For those of you out on the west coast of British Columbia and on Vancouver Island, I will be speaking at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria on Wednesday, March 27th at 7 p.m. as part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.

"A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Photographer" - Wednesday, March 27th at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, B.C.

Please join me for a fun evening of tall tales and lots of wild images!

John


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Jasper Wolf Tour - First Image!

After nearly two weeks on the road in Jasper National Park and beyond, I'm finally back in the office today full of tall tales and great new images from my first-ever officially unofficial 'wolf photo tour' with a few friends that happen to also double as some of my best tour/workshop clients.

And while I'm going to save the tallest tales and best images for another post (for those of you that follow me over on my Facebook wildlife and nature photography page, you already know that we came across not one, but TWO wild lynx in Jasper, and I've got the photos to prove it!).

A beautiful wild wolf photographed in Jasper National Park last week
While you're waiting for the next images and post, please take a moment and sign a very important online petition from wildlife photographer and colleague, Brad Hill, asking the BC Government to put an end to the use of wolf killing snares (please see my original post about just how dangerous and unethical these snares are to wildlife) and to see an immediate shift in how wildlife is managed on our public lands in BC (so that instead of protecting private businesses like ranches, the government moves to a management model that puts a priority on developing, maintaining, and protecting natural ecosystems that include apex predators such as wolves).

Again, you can check out the petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-use-of-killing-neck-snares-against-wolves-in-b.html Please take a second and sign it and please feel free to pass it along. The petition will be active until the British Columbia elections begin in May of this year.

Thanks everyone, happy shooting!

John

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