Afternoon in the marshes of Ibmer Moor (3 photos)

I went for a walk with Toni at Ibmer Moor – a raised bog not too far from Burghausen, in Austria, and the largest of the few remaining wetlands in Austria. It is home to many birds, including the Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and the near-threatened Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) – one of my favorite bird. I love its flute-like, melancholic song.

I also wanted to practice some real world usage with my new 70-300mm telezoom lens. There’s a bit of a story following below which doesn’t have much to do with the lens though – more with a rabbit, a dog and a leash, but if you came for the photos only, here they are:

I managed to make only one photo (the first in the gallery) before we scared off a rabbit that was trying to hide from us, but of course ran when we got too close. I was not paying attention to my immediate surroundings (trying to get a good viewing angle on a group of trees I think?) so I got startled by the rabbit’s sudden appearance and movement, and let go the handle of the leash – and of course, Toni started to go after the rabbit (hey… she’s a dog… that’s what dogs do).

It’s one of these “flexible” leashes that roll in and out of a small plastic housing, and as I was running after Toni, I tried to step on that housing – not so much because I wanted to catch the dog (she would come back anyway, because she doesn’t stand a chance against the rabbit) but because I feared that the leash might get entangled in some bushes, somewhere out of sight.

The camera was strapped around my neck, and since the moor was frozen through, I could actually keep pace with the dog. But then it happened… in slow motion… first I thought “oops, am I going to stumble or what?” the next thought was “damn, I AM going to stumble… and fall!”

Somewhere in mid air, I managed to grab the camera with my right hand and, landing elbows-first in the moor grass that somewhat dampened my impact, was able to protect the camera from directly hitting the ground. Instead, I hit the camera’s flash hotshoe with my upper lip. OUCH! That hurt. I had the copper taste of blood in my mouth. I was bleeding. Darnit, dog! Darnit, rabbit!

After I caught my breath I tried to ignore the thumping in my upper lip and started calling the dog, but she was out of sight and nowhere to be seen. And when I eventually found her (which took 1 1/2 hours!), the leash was of course entangled in some bushes, and the little rascal was hopelessly trapped and yelped for help.

The sun had set by then, a thin haze of fog crept across the meadows, the sky turned red and orange – a good opportunity to test the camera and lens function after my crash landing… and those are the second and third photo in the gallery. :-)

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2 Responses

  1. Glad everything came out with no damage aside from your lip! I’ve seen other canine mediated equipment tests in the field before. One woman in Vancouver’s Stanley Park had her German shepherd tied to her tripod leg. A squirrel ran by, and soon the equipment was being tested by being drug over sidewalks, curbs, and through a playground. She ultimately caught up to everything when the squirrel went up a tree. While she managed to get her camera off the ballhead before it went on its testing journey, the Gitzo and ballhead failed the canine drag test in spectacular fashion.

    1. LOL! That sounds far worse than what I experienced back then. :) I do have to admit that I put my tripod and ballhead through some unintentional testing too by now but, knock on wood, except for some battle scars, everything is still working fine.

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