Photography by Jim Doty

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Lawnmower Blind

Several rabbits live in some of the backyards in our neighborhood. They are skittish due to all of the backyard activities and the presence of dogs in several backyards. I have tried to photograph them but they take off as soon as I go outside or come around the side of the house.

A couple of times when I have been mowing they have let me get much closer than they usually do. This gave me an idea. I was mowing recently and a rabbit was in the back yard. I got my camera and lens, slung it over my shoulder and grabbed a cord to tie the mower control bar in the on position. As I approached the rabbit with the mower, he held his ground. When I got fairly close, I tied the mower in the on position, took my camera and took a photo.  Then I moved closer and did it again. I repeated this process as I got closer and closer. I knew a ground level shot would be more effective. I could kneel down beside the mower, but when I started to lay down on the ground the rabbit took off.

I now have a new photographic blind, at least for my own back yard. The rabbits have grown used to mowing so they allow me to get much closer with a running lawn mower than without.  By the way, the minute I turn off the mower, they run away.

Now if I could just get my neighbors to periodically lie down next to their lawn mowers, the rabbits would think that is normal and I could get a better angle on future shots. Animals almost always look better when you photograph them from THEIR eye level, rather than your own.

June 12, 2003

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