Jill, the jack rabbit, and Papa, the tree squirrel, have known each other for at least as long I have have known both of them. But seeing them meet face-to-face to discuss life was a treat beyond measure.
This was an unusual circumstance since I was off work but went by to try to get Jill when she was napping again for better shots. Sure enough, she was napping; the ground where she had been laying was all cleared out and left as ‘recently disturbed’ by the somewhat startled jack rabbit when I walked up. I had announced my arrival, as usual, so there was probably that moment or two of “what the heck…? OK, how’s my fur look? Are my teeth brushed? Do I need to refresh my deodorant? DAMN, I hate uninvited guests popping in on me!!!”
And she looked surprised but not scared as I approached, softly calling out her name. The one who DIDN’T look surprised was Papa and he made his way thru three trees to get to where I usually hide the peanuts under some dirt and pine needles. (Now that I know they can smell them a lot better than they can see them, hiding nuts unmarked doesn’t make me think they will rot there. LOL!) The twist was the Jill was sleeping almost on top the hiding spot – an unusual place for her to be, at least as long as I’ve know her. It would have been a complete bummer if I hadn’t been prepared for something unusual because I customarily walk right to that spot and then look for her.
But there she was, ears up and pointed towards me instead of down and in the ‘hiding position’ for a quick departure. When Papa came down the tree truck, I was already in position to get The Shot, then the silly furball moved around the tree and got silhouetted by the bright background. Arrgh! It was only when he was within sniffing distance of Jill that he came out of the brightest background light and allowed me to capture a strange (for me, at least) moment in Weedy Field history.
The second funny moment was missed because the light wasn’t right and I wasn’t trying to get a bad shot rather than none at all. Evidently, one of the male jays also knows where I “hide” the peanuts. When I called Jill, I also called the jays; I make a whistle as well as using my voice to calm Jill and warn her of my approach. Well, this male jay is now as familiar with me as JJ was so he comes without screeching when I call. But since I was already INSIDE Weedy Field instead of walking towards it, he assumed the nuts were already ‘hidden’ and dived for the spot. At about 6 inches away from a rabbit nose, he and Jill realized they were a bit too close for inter-species comfort. Jill jumped in the air and “JJ junior” made a mid-air course change directly backward, something I’ve never seen a scrub jay do before. They obviously don’t practice it cuz he almost fell out of the air on his back. LOLOLOL! He righted himself just in time and hit the dirt on his feet, saving his dignity and some dirty feathers in the process. :-D But I missed capturing that half of the Weedy Field interaction. Hehehe!
I’m fairly happy with what took less time to edit than I thought because I used the Nikon D90 to do some pre-processing. Nikon has a feature called D-Lighting. It rounds out the highest and lowest light levels, removing both blown out spots and black areas. When I saw that I wasn’t going to get usable shots when checking them while still on location, I copied them automatically with D-Lighting and edited the copies. Sure enough, I could see a bit more than I could see before in ALL the truly bad shots and almost completely fixed some of the marginal ones. The bugger is that you can’t use D-Lighting if you’ve done external editing to a file; the camera says it’s no longer a valid image to edit. But that’s easily bypassed by the copying – within the camera – the original file before D-Lighting is applied. The above shot was a combination of internal D90 editing and external Corel editing.
I have only this single file of the chat between Jill and Papa. None of the others came close to this one so shooting 150 errors to get just one shot was actually a good percentage. LOL!
All the vital stats to get it accepted in a technical group or two:
Nikon D90 with kit lens (18- 105mm)
Focal length: 70mm (I was close, too close for using the full magnification of maximum zoom)
Exposure time: 1/1000 sec
ISO Speed: 720
Metering mode: pattern
Exposure compensation: 0
Creative exposure: none
D-Lighting: off during shooting, on for post-processing in the camera
Full manual mode
Conversation between rabbit and squirrel was confidential. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you.
Jill is easily ID’d by her ratty ears and other pro rabbit watchers use that same technique so it must be fairly accurate. :-)
Jill now knows I feed her sunflower seeds: her tongue comes out like Pavlov’s Dogs when I rustle the bag. :-D
Yes, I got a shot or two of her with her tongue out and eyes have closed as in dreaming about “tastes to come”. LOL!
Papa wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated but the much larger rabbit. The rabbit wasn’t showing any apprehension either so I’m assuming they have seen each other before and all is cool.
I still forgot the Nikon D90 DSLR has video! >:-( I could have gotten a lot more frames of usable images had I remembered to use it too.
My back went spasmodic just before this shoot and I was forced to sit down while shooting Jill at close range. It didn’t phase her at all and made the squirrel a bit more eager.
I didn’t try to walk past Jill to refill the feeding bowl so I dumped the seeds and some peanuts on the ground where I was instead. I doubt they complained about it to each other later. If they did, the ungrateful furballs, I might add some pepper to the nuts one day to see if they sneeze alike! LMAO!
Preceding line was a joke. I wouldn’t make an animal sneeze unless I knew I could catch it on video.
Preceding line was also a joke.
OK, where’s my rum? I deserve it now, right?
Are you STILL reading?
I hope this was worth it. LOL!
PS I stuck my hand in another bee hive and got The Shot Of all Idiots’ Shots! Kids, do try that at home! I’m a real life PROFESSIONAL idiot. Amateur idiots can get stung to death being amateur idiots.
PPS The preceding comment wasn’t written to demean people under the age of 21 years old. People under the age of 21 years old can demean themselves quite easily.
PPPS Rum should never be consumed by anyone under the age of 21, PERIOD. I’m a little over twice that age so I can have the rum and you can have those nasty hyper-caffeinated “energy drinks”.