Young Raccoons, Green Island Wetlands, Iowa -------- 

When it’s time to leave the Green Island wetlands I usually drive slowly down the gravel road on the left hand side and scan the water canals, ponds, trees, and bushes for any sign of wildlife with my eyes. The camera rests in my lap, turned on, and ready to shoot. Don’t worry about me driving on the wrong side, the road is straight and wide and there is not much traffic at all. If another car shows up on the horizon or in the rear view mirror, I stop and wait until the car has passed and the dust from the road has settled again.

Yesterday evening on my way out I saw some movement in one of the trees ahead. First I thought it was a mink but as I came closer it became clear that a gang of four young raccoons had a feast on the berries of a mulberry tree.

I hate to crank the ISO at the camera beyond 400, but I had no choice and went up to ISO 640, still shooting as slow as 1/80 s at 600 mm. Noise reduction in post means loss of detail and with the fine hair of a raccoon it has its limits, at least for my own photography.

Most of my previous photos of raccoons were taken around the house, on the roof or balcony, or catching them while they robbed our bird feeders. With other words, I’m very happy to have finally some images that have no men-made elements in the frame.

The four little guys were obviously listen pretty good to their mama. I never saw her, she stayed somewhere below in the bushes, but after five minutes of watching the gang they all climbed down at the same time and disappeared in the underwoods.

The “cuteness factor” of young critters is always high and I hope you don’t mind seeing a couple more photos sometime in the near future.