As spring awakens in the upland birch forest of Vauldalen, tensions between mountain hares grow. One night, two hares came to blows in front of Erlend’s hide, squabbling over food he had left out to attract them. Snowflakes flying, Erlend froze the action, later converting the image to black and white to accentuate the drama of the moment.
As their Latin name, Lepus timidus, suggests, mountain hares are timid creatures, cautious after a lifetime of being hunted by predators and for human sport. In spring they become more active and, under the cover of darkness, scrap over food and females.
Nikon D800E; 300mm f2.8 lens; 1/1600 sec at f2.8; ISO 3200; Gitzo tripod and UniqBall head; two 1000W lamps.
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Erlend Haarberg, Norway
Erlend has been working as a freelance nature photographer since the early 1990s, specialising in photographing wildlife in the Nordic countries. He met his wife Orsolya in 2004 and they have since worked on both joint and personal projects. They have authored four books and been published in GEO, BBC Wildlife and National Geographic magazines.