Today, I want to share the story behind a particular photograph of a hare I took at the end of May. This experience wasn’t just about capturing a great shot; it was a lesson in patience, adaptability, and the surprises nature has in store for us.

Some images are born out of pure luck. Other photos are molded out of meticulous planning and execution of a detailed plan. And this is the story of an image where the carefully thought-out plan failed utterly, and luck needed to jump in to save the day.

This is the story about the hare in the photo All Ears.

The Preparation – Hares … Hares everywhere

For weeks leading up to this photograph, I had been watching hares in a specific area, quietly observing their habits and routines. This wasn’t a casual endeavor; it involved careful scouting and planning. I even sacrificed some of my weekends for this pursuit.

It all started when I was tired of my regular morning walk routes with our dog, Kuha. We had walked them day in and day out during the whole winter, and even though it is a beautiful walk with a lake and many birds, you get tired of seeing the same thing every day.

So we started to take the car to get out of the city, and one place in particular was extra exciting. We saw foxes, hares, buzzards, raccoons, and even tracks of beavers. One thing that intrigued me was the hares. We had seen them graze, and we had seen them fight, but since I had our dog with me, they were immensely wary of us and moved away before I could get a close-up shot.

So I made a plan to go out early one weekend morning, without the dog, and get a beautiful photograph of a hare. I used all the tools of the trade to plan for a position – I went there and scouted ways to get to good photo spots silently. I used apps to see where the sun would be and at what angle to get the best backlight possible. And I, of course, noted where the hares used to hang out.

And one day at the end of May 2023, the weather was just right – wind from the right direction, clear sky. I prepared my bags in the evening, packed some sweets to keep my blood sugar high, and went to bed. And I hardly slept due to the excitement.

The Early Morning Disappointments

On May 27th, the day of the photograph, my alarm went off at 4:30 AM. I got up, geared up, and went out. I drove to the location and sneaked to the first position I had scouted. I prepared my tripod and my camera, put down a sleeping pad to lie on, and waited. The first hares started to show up, but they were on the other side of the field. I waited for a while, and the frustration began to grow. I decided to go to the opposite side of the field, an endeavor that would end up taking about an hour.

On the other side of the field, history repeated itself. There were hares, but they were at my first spot where I spent the first part of the morning. Needless to say, my frustration grew even larger.

The Turning Point

I decided to give up on the hares. The creatures didn’t want to grace me with their presence, so why should I dwell on them? I saw some birds some 100 meters away. White wagtails, zipping around on the newly plowed field, picking seeds and insects from the still cold ground. I moved to that spot, ready to capture these winged creatures, but after a couple of mediocre shots, they went away, too.

Frustration. I contemplated packing up, and that’s when it happened.

The Magical Encounter

I was about to reach for the lens cap when I noticed a couple of hares in the distance. They were hard to see due to the brown against the freshly plowed field. They ran around, unbothered by my presence. Sure, they were still a couple of hundred meters away, but they didn’t seem to have a care in the world and certainly didn’t pay any attention to me.

I took some pictures, but nothing extraordinary – just brown blobs against a brown background. You could barely see that they were hares when you zoomed in. And then …

One of the hares seemed to notice me. But instead of showing fear, it got curious. It moved towards me, fast. I got a couple of photos as it approached. And then it came even closer. And closer. And closer. In the end, it was just about 4 meters away. I even had to pull back the zoom on my 300mm lens to fit the hare in the frame.

It moved in a semicircle, keeping one eye on me, all while grazing in the golden morning light that provided a perfect backlight.

We shared about half an hour that morning, the hare and I. I got photos, some videos, and an experience I will remember forever. And the hare … well, he probably got a good laugh at the strange figure (me) lying half in the grass, half in the mud.

After a while, I got cold and slowly started to move. This spooked the hare, and he ran off in the distance. I dusted off my clothes and started walking back to the car, filled with adrenaline and endorphins. I knew this morning’s coffee would taste extra good.

The Takeaway

This 20-minute encounter taught me something invaluable: while scouting and planning are essential, sometimes you must sit still, be patient, and let nature come to you. I walked away from this experience with some great shots and a renewed sense of respect for the unpredictability and beauty of nature.

Ultimately, this wasn’t just about capturing a photograph but about experiencing a moment of connection with the natural world. I want to thank that hare for reminding me why I picked up the camera in the first place.

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed living it. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my newsletter for more stories and photos!