Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit – Wildlife Photography on the Outer Hebrides

Rabbit Kit in a sea of green
Rabbit (Orytolagus cuniculus) Kit in a sea of green

Wildlife Photography on the Outer Hebrides

I love wildlife photography and it is a passion of mine. I thought I’d write a quick blog about a fantastic session I had photographing some adorable Rabbits whilst on my recent trip to the Outer Hebrides. I realise there are far rarer and more exotic animals to be found than our common Bunny but if the conditions are right I enjoy photographing anything.

Rabbit (Orytolagus cuniculus) outside its warren.
Rabbit (Orytolagus cuniculus) outside its warren.

Staking out a Warren

What made these Rabbits so perfect was the design and position of their warren. Most Rabbit warrens have multiple entrances and exits to allow the Rabbits to move around safely. This warren appeared, after watching the animals for a while to not have interconnected tunnels. The rabbits would always appear out of the burrow they went into. So by quietly getting into position the Rabbits should come out roughly where you’d expect.

My Photography Environment

I’ve created a very very basic graphic of camera/rabbit/background positions, for any camera techies out there.

My very basic diagram of Rabbit warren.
My very basic diagram of Rabbit warren. (Side view)

The other fantastic thing about these Rabbits was the position. The warren was in a steep field. So by positioning myself at the bottom looking upwards, shooting with my 400mm wide open was like looking into a sea of green. In the middle of the field it levelled off briefly and this was where the burrow entrance was. If a Rabbit sat in this section it would be perfect.

Usually the first indication that a Rabbit was coming out of the burrow was a pair of ears. I captured quite a few images of ears as I think they really work as a photograph. You don’t always have to show all of an animal.

A Rabbit Kitten just venturing out of the warren.
A Rabbit Kitten just venturing out of the warren.

Having Kittens

After a while there were up to 4 Kittens around the burrow, most moved away from the very small photographable space, but at one point there were 3 lined up perfectly. The only technical issue was that because I was relying on the shallowest depth of field, giving this wonderful dreamy bokeh, I wasn’t able to get all 3 sharp so chose the centre Rabbit as the in focus animal. I still love it as a picture but wish all 3 Kittens were in focus.

3 Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Kittens
3 Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Kittens

I’d tried to photograph Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) earlier in the week but with little success, as they are renowned for being a little skittish. Whilst sat motionless waiting for the Rabbits to emerge I noticed a Wheatear much further up the field. It seemed either unaware or not bothered by my presence. I watched it for a good 20 minutes, gradually it moved down the field and I hoped would come into an area that I could photograph it. Thankfully it did and here’s the result.

Male Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Male Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Back to the Rabbits and here’s a Kitten as it makes sure there is no danger in the area. Ears standing up tall and sniffing the air.

Looking and listening for danger.
Looking and listening for danger.

Overall Thoughts

I took 100’s of images of the Rabbits during this session, it was fantastic. I would have loved some images of the Rabbits preening and cleaning, which can look so cute! Alas they didn’t, it’s the luck of the draw. My favourite, I think, is another shot of just a pair of ears! Shooting downhill this time, late in the day, backlighting through the ears with the light catching the hairs on the tips.

Backlit Rabbit Ears
Backlit Rabbit Ears

It just goes to show that sometimes the more common animals we have around us can give so much enjoyment.

Thanks for reading my Blog, there are others from my trip wildlife photography trip to North Uist, just visit the Vivid Photo Visual blog. Please share to others if you think they’d like to read it.

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