Sometimes you have to work your ass off to get a decent photo, and sometimes they just walk right up to you. This one just walked right up to me.

At the Fennessey Ranch, one of my favorite places on earth, they have an awesome wetland lake called McGuill Lake, full of birds and gators and all kinds of things that slither and slide. I could tell all kinds of stories of things swimming up to me and under me, etc., but this story is about one evening where I was out in the swamp in my floating blind until dark.

I finally made it back to the little nick in the reeds where I could exit and get out of the water. I got my blind up onto shore, and was loading my camera into my truck when I heard a little footstep in the grass. I thought, hmm, is that a gator crawling out of the water? A feral hog walking up to me?

So being the fool I am, I walked around my truck straight towards it.  I was curious!

Though it was pitch black, I saw that something was sitting there, at the edge of the water, just looking at me, not 20 feet away. A cat?!

So I backed slowly to the truck, fumbled for a camera and flash, and slowly moved back to where I had seen the cat and sat down.

He was still there, just looking at me, not 10-15 feet away. This curious bobcat.

I slid the flash on the camera, quickly dialed in an exposure, frantically focused in the dark and got this shot.  This was in slide film days, so this was with an ISO of 40 on Velvia, and I had to pray the focus was right, and I had to shoot with the flash directly on the camera, which I hate to do.  But it came out ok. (I could do without the green-eye from the on-camera flash, but I can live with it).

And though I was out there photographing many times that year, I never saw that bobcat again.

Bobcat portrait

Nighttime portrait of bobcat (Lynx rufus). Fennessey Ranch, Refugio, Texas, USA. Canon 1N RS. Fuji Velvia. 70mm? Full flash.