Ever since I was a small kid I have wanted to see a wild Otter. At that time, in the mid seventies the otters were about to be extinct from the rivers in Sweden due to pollution from pesticides such as organochlorine and polychlorinated biphenyls so even though I spent lots of time by rivers I was never close to spot any otter. With the ban of most of the pesticides that caused the decrease in the otter populations they are now slowly recovering in Sweden and many parts of Europe.
The first glimpse…
Almost 35 years later, in 2012, I got my first glimpse of a wild otter in Sweden. By then I worked with wetland restorations in agricultural areas and I was on a field trip to have a look at an old drenched wetland that the landowner wanted to restore. The water from the wetland used to flow out in a river so when walking along the river we all of a sudden got an unexpected company for like 10 seconds. An otter swam up along side us and checked us out before it disappeared down stream.
As a photographer I also wanted to take pictures of the otters but knowing a bit about their behaviour I realised that it was going to be a difficult task. Over the years I got information on places where people have seen otters regularly and I spent many hours waiting and waiting but no otters showed them self for me. Sometimes wildlife photography can be very frustrating when there´s a “no show” but it can be even more frustrating when you here that a friend went to the same place the next day and got so many great shots…
Finally some images
They say that you will be rewarded if you put in the hard work and I guess it true but sometimes its great to have someone else doing the hard work for you. One day a friend of mine called me and said that he had been photographing otters at a small pond where they come every night because the dam was a part of a fish farm. My friend was more than happy to show me the place and he had a brilliant flash setup so we could control the light.
The first night I spent by the pond luck really struck. Had otters coming and going in front of me for more than three hours. They were feeding and playing. The memory card quickly filled up and I was happy with my images. After an hour or so in the hide it stared to rain and this really added something extra to the images. To get the rain drops lit up and out of focused in the foreground just made the images.
Heron in the rain
When the otter weren’t around I could concentrate my photography to the local Grey heron was always present in the pond. As soon as the otters left the pond the heron entered the scene and when the otters returned the heron left. With the ability to control the flash setting I could turn off the front flashes and only get the heron lit from behind. Think it added a lot of character to the image, especially with the rain,