After waiting a number of days for dense fogs to clear up, I decided to go check my favorite wetland area not too far from my house. I was cruising around the area searching for waterfowls without much expectation, when I spotted a River Otter sitting on the ice. However, before I could even pull my gear out of bag, it went underwater.
I’ve always dreamed of photographing River Otters in winter. So, missing an opportunity to photograph a River Otter on the ice was very frustrating. After kicking myself for not being prepared, I sat quietly inside my vehicle hoping to get a glimpse of it again.
Hours passed, and I finally spot not just one, but five River Otters.
I covered my car window in camouflage and sat quietly inside the vehicle. The otters approached with caution but later presumed their daily activities. After years of photographing wildlife, my gut told me that this was going to be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
My choice of lens was Canon 800mm f/5.6 IS and 1.4X teleconverter, which allowed me to get a lot closer than 600mm or 500mm. Besides, 800mm lens is very sharp even when used with 1.4X teleconverter. River Otters have high contrast with darker coat, so overcast light didn’t hurt. I over-exposed by +1 ½ stop over a camera normal recommendation.
Several times the Otters came so close as it caught a fish underwater and brought to the ice to feed on. The light wasn’t great, but it was a unique opportunity to capture a close-up of River Otters hunting, socializing, and playing in front of me all morning.
Actually it was a dream come true in the most unexpected bad weather.