03.10.24: Raccoon in field

A raccoon stands in a fall field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

A raccoon stands in a fall field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Raccoon curiosity created pose for photo

I liked how the raccoon’s color coordinated with the browns of the fall field. The morning sun provided a semi-backlight effect (the sun was to the left and slightly behind the raccoon), helping to separate its brown from the surrounding brown. 

I spend quite a bit of time in fields and forests and swamps and along lakes. I enjoy photographing birds and these excursions provide ample opportunity to do that.

It also means I see — and photograph — other wildlife. I have plenty of photos of deer, rabbits, frogs, squirrels, snakes, chipmunks, alligators … whatever I see I shoot.

But encountering raccoons is always fun. The raccoons seem very curious about what I’m doing and, unlike most other animals that scamper off when I move, they hang around to watch. I’ve photographed a number of raccoons in trees, sometimes peering through holes in hollow trees.

But this one was different.

I was in a park north of Columbus, Ohio, on a December morning. Park maintenance had recently cut an overgrown field — part of a vegetation rotation to allow the field to regenerate in the spring — so I decided to cut through the field to reach a tree line that had previously been inaccessible. I thought there could be some birds on the sunny side of the trees.

As I moved toward the trees I saw a raccoon stroll from forest to field. Its back was to me so I stopped and focused the camera on it, hoping it would turn and I could get a photo before it scurried off.

The raccoon did turn. When it saw me it raised up with a “what’s up?” expression. I took some photos. Every time I made a slight position change the raccoon would change its head position to follow me. It didn’t seem concerned or threatened. It just seemed curious.

I liked how the raccoon’s color coordinated with the browns of the fall field. The morning sun provided a semi-backlight effect (the sun was to the left and slightly behind the raccoon), helping to separate its brown from the surrounding brown. 

I knew I had enough shots and lowered the camera to walk off. The raccoon kept watching, so I waved as I backed away. It seemed to understand I was leaving because it lowered onto all fours and began exploring the field.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Dec 3, 2013 10:27 AM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D
  • Lens: EF600mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x 
  • Focal length: 840mm
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/800 second
  • ISO: 400

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