The Coyote Chronicles

December 31, 2008  •  Leave a Comment

8B4A8202
CCP_0098

8B4A8203
A brief review: I decided I needed a new wildlife project, some sort of challenge, so decided the coyotes at my local park fit the bill perfectly. Turns out, they fit the bill a little too perfectly. They turned out to be quite the challenge - they're smart, sneaky, well-camouflaged, and extremely camera shy.

One of the big problems is that the coyotes are so smart and wary, it's hard enough to get a decent shot. I could use a TC to lengthen my reach optically, but the best time to catch them is right before sunrise, requiring me to shoot at high ISO with the aperture wide open, because of the low light - not the best for image quality, particularly with a moving subject.

This has forced me to raise my game a notch or two. I started to use the wooden blinds in the wilderness refuge. It quickly became obvious the blinds are designed for use with waterfowl, not coyotes. When I'm securely set up with the tripod facing the pond, the coyote would appear behind me on the trail; and of course when I was set up facing the trail, the coyote would be behind me on the pond.

Despite these frustrations, the coyotes would pass very close to me at times (10-15 meters) without spotting me. Not at an angle where I could get a shot, but still, a limited success. I needed to get closer to the coyotes normal path and still stay hidden, but with enough viewing angle to get a good shot.

Today I brought a camping chair and parked in the brush with the tripod. Not completely hidden, but not easy to spot either. This is the shot I could get today. I caught her (I think it's a her) by surprise - the only thing that gave me away was the sound of the shutter firing. It took her a bit to locate me - she kept moving positions while looking my way. She finally spotted me and moved off the ice to a higher ridge, where she sat watching me for 10 or so minutes. I never saw her again today after that.

Coyote (Canis latrans)
Crown Hill Park
Lakewood, CO
Sony Alpha700
Sigma 300/2.8
Giottos tripod, Acratech ballhead, Wimberley Sidekick

ISO800, f/2.8, 1/50sec

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