Summer Hares and Purple Heather

September 02, 2014  •  2 Comments

Summer Hares in Purple Heather

This summer I had big plans to photograph both the Mountain Hares and the vibrant and glorious purple heather; the aim was to get them together. The preparations started a way back in May when I started to recce a few potential locations. I now find myself taking a similar approach to that of a landscape photographer, research a location, determine where the best light will be and watch for a desirable weather window. The main difference would be the all important final element, the hare! This unsurprisingly proved to be the trickiest part of the project, photographing Mountain Hares is difficult enough in the summer months without having to stress about the other elements.

I was very fortunate, as my beloved hares didn’t fail me and gifted me some brilliant photographic opportunities. The last session involved spending over five and a half hours with one individual, one and a half hours of which entailed lying out in the a rain storm on cold and damp and uncofortable ground, towards the end of the session I was shivering so hard I could barely hold the camera steady.

 This hare proved to be an absolute dream come true, she was relaxed, entertaining and knew exactly how to pose, on three occasions she positioned herself in near to perfect spots.

She preened, scratched, stuck her tongue out at me and at one point lay down and slept and all this just a matter of metres away from where I lay. It’s extremely difficult not to become emotionally attached to a creature that is so confiding and trustful and I will freely admit I really do love these creatures.

It was also interesting to see the jowls of this hare were just starting to turn white, this first indications of the autumn moult, I’ve noticed that the first areas of the hares to change colour are the ones most frequently scratched. It’s nice to know they’ll soon be lovely and white, saying that I like them in every stage of their amazing coats of many colours!

I’ve got a few more projects lined up for the hares but for now I’m keeping those to myself, I’ll keep you posted!


Colin Blanchard(non-registered)
Terrific work Andy! I've been working on hare subjects lately too, sometimes including words in my prints. This time, thinking about doing something with the blue hares that come very close to the grouse butts (when I'm loading guns for rich men!) I've ended up with a full poem first!

'Blue Hare - Lammermuirs'

Here he is.
In the quiet wait for September's early packs to lift and charge.
Wide eyed. Like he's just walked into a room
And can't remember what for.

His white tail bounces after him - the ghost of last winter
That won't leave him alone.
Soon it will catch up with him
And spread its baby soft blanket over his back.

But now he's a blend of summer and winter
A flake of the moor's skin.
Elven grey brown fading to silver.
With pencilled details that focuses my eye on his.

I'll just go this way. If that's okay? he says.
And with a freeze-frame lollop passes the butts.
Turns at 90 degrees down the rubber scarred stones.
Then back to the tussocks to continue his lazy days.

He too gives himself a hug every morning.
Andy Howard Nature Photography
Thanks Rob, I'm sure if you keep at it you'll succeed in your quest. It does take a lot of time and commitment to capture images like this. I'll be offering a guiding service next year for Summer Hares, you'll need to plan a trip up to the Highlands!

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