Marmot, Yoho National Park of Canada, Summer 2006

Marmot, Yoho National Park of Canada, Summer 2006

I told this story elsewhere, but I think it worth repeating:

I spent two or three hours shooting a pair of marmots in Yoho NP (Canada), not because I particularly wanted to shoot them for that long, but because the rock the marmots were sunning themselves on was very near the road, and I, with a tripod and long (70-300mm) lens, was conspicuous as someone shooting wildlife. For someone who has never been to the Rocky Mountain National Parks, any wildlife spotted on the road will lead to a long lineup of stopped cars and people crowding around the animals, ussually with stupid little digicams lacking appropriate zoom capabilities to get reasonable shots. While this should excite the elk and cause them to charge, the local elk sseem remarkably inured to such treatment, contrary to the much more aggressive elk I have seen in other places.

After spotting the marmots grazing somewhat near the roadside, I had parked down the road and approached quietly, waiting for them to reappear from the underbrush and go onto their rock, standing very still for stretches of time. This behavior was essentially unique, though: mostpeople, upon noticing me, pulled off right there, including a whole busload of Japanese tourists. One couple insisted on walking up to try to get a shot of them with their P&S, and couldn’t be argued out of it, despite the fact that they had to be so close to them they had to essentially be standing on the same rock, with the predictable result that the marmots ran away and hid (it had to be a 20mme lens…).

I took up deliberately misleading people by pointing my camera at the nearby mountain vista whenever I heard a car coming. This worked for the most part (but not on that last couple). The result was that I could never coax both the marmots into a good position on the rock before they would be scared off. When I got home, I noticed that the mountain vista was actually quite an attractive subject in its own right, though I didn’t make anything good with it, and I have seen the same peak featured in sevveral photos since.

This is my favorite of the one-marmot photos I managed to get. It is perhaps oversharpened in post-processing, and may have acquired a slight yellow tint–I need to work on that.



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