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Sneaky Mink

December 30th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve wanted to photograph Mink ever since it had snuck up on me about 2 years ago.  It literally ran between my feet while I was sitting in my hiding spot.  Not only it was rare to spot a wild Mink, but also it was highly unlikely that this shy animal ran right towards me.

MinkA funny thing is that it always seems to have a mischievous grin on its face.

So, one day when a biologist informed me a spot where a Mink had been regularly spotted, I was quite excited about the chance to photograph them.

Many times (or most of times) successful capturing of wildlife images depend on how much you know about the species.  So I did my research trying to learn about their eating habits, living environments, etc. as much as possible.

The American Mink (Neovison vison) is a North American member of the Mustelidae family found in Canada and most of the United States.  It is related to Weasels, and Otters.  Just like their cousin, Otters, Minks are particularly fond of crayfish and spend most of time in the water searching for food.

As with any other wildlife, it wasn’t easy to photograph a Mink.  It moved quite fast and constantly between water and land.  In addition, its small body was well blended with the environment, which made it difficult to keep track while looking through my camera viewfinder.

After spending some time watching how Mink moved around, I found a temporary burrow or a tunnel, where it would carry the food in and out.  So, I sat and waited.  As I predicted, the Mink immerged from its burrow with surprise expression of its face.   I only had few seconds to capture this before it retreated back inside.Mink

With such a shy species like Mink, my choice of lens is a Canon 600mm with a 1..4X teleconverter.  I prefer ISO setting at 800, which gives me a shutter speed at 1/250 sec for the early morning light to stop any movement of the Mink.   If the light improves, I may change it to 400 ISO.  Most new digital cameras now have a good capability of high ISO.

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