Pure Excitement

by Shane Coleman January. 31, 2019 431 views

It’s no secret to those that know me, I have been wanting to capture some amazing photos of coyotes. This has especially plagued me since the time that I lost some great images after a download error and a rookie mistake. Well recently, my hope finally came true... but it didn’t come without patience and perseverance.

THE DAY!

I arrived well before daybreak. I packed all of my equipment, my pop-up blind, etc. and hiked to a place that I had scouted and been to other days prior. After arriving to my spot, I was happy to shed all of the gear and it’s weight that was beginning to take a toll on my back. I then setup. My location and setup was done with careful consideration. I put my blind at the bottom of a levee, near the waters edge. In this way, I would be eye level or below the coyotes traveling on the levee. I would also have dead grass close to my lens that would make great foreground blur. I was facing the direction where I thought they would be coming, I was downwind, and if they came, they would be side lit. I did not have an option of setting up for front lighting because of the direction of the levees. Now I was setup and my work was done... I was inside the blind and the wait began. The sun began to rise, I was silent, and I waited.

THEN IT HAPPENED!

About 30 minutes after daybreak, I noticed a disturbance of birds in the distance. Could something be coming? Then silence... after a short time, I had the eerie feeling that I wasn’t alone and that something was looking at me. I saw a shadow move in the tall grass in the distance... it was a coyote! She did not see me but she saw the blind that she had never seen before. She began all the movements of uncertainty common to all elusive predators. She could not decide if she wanted to pass by this foreign object. There were three other coyotes trailing her but they stayed behind in the distance. As I shook with excitement and adrenalin, I began to work the camera... composition, double checking exposure and making adjustments. I did not want to lose this moment! After a brief time, which seemed like an eternity, she decided she would not pass where I was located but would seek another route. As she slowly disappeared on the levee behind the tall dead grass, I sat there shaking in excitement and truly awe-inspired about the beauty of what I had just experienced.

And now, I share it with you...

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Bethany Plonski 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Absolutely beautiful! So happy for you! The softness of the light and grass perfectly complement those beautiful eyes. It's really impressive that you achieved such an artistic effect with such a hard-to-catch subject. Kudos!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Bethany Plonski 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you so much... it means a lot. Everynow and then things kind of work out how you have them planned in your mind. Lol.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Victoria I. Strohschneider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

There are five documented blue-eyed coyotes in California. I have never heard about one with heterochromia, though!
Were the pictures taken in California?
There is a Natgeo article for reference, but I can't post the link here due to lack of posts.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Victoria I. Strohschneider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

These were taken in Louisiana. I guess I’ll have to do some more research about this.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Victoria I. Strohschneider Replied to Shane Coleman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I have found a paper called "Widespread occurrence of a domestic dog mitochondrial DNA haplotype in southeastern US coyotes", which claims that hybridization occured long ago and doesen't seem to affect their DNA – and its expression – all that much.
On the other hand, the hybridization of the eastern coyote with wolves left a distintive mark on them. Your subject seems to be of a very sturdy stock with a broad skull, which are signs of coy-wolf hybridization.
The mismatched eyes themselves are very likely a random mutation.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Victoria I. Strohschneider Replied to Victoria I. Strohschneider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I also found this thesis by Dalinda Lee Dennis, which you can read online: Genetic Analysis of Dispersal and Population Dynamics of the Southeastern
Coyote (Canis latrans).
Documents the admixture in the populations very well, but it was published back in 2010.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Victoria I. Strohschneider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the info. 

It is frequently thought here that coyotes and dogs interbreed. So, I wondered if this might be a cause. However, everything I’ve read from science based articles, claims that although dogs and coyotes can breed, it is a rare occurrence. I did read about the hybridization of the eastern coyote and the wolf. I’ve also read that in most cases when people assume they are seeing a coydog, what they are really seeing is a coywolf, which is a more common occurrence.

Bottom line, I guess it will remain a mystery without dna testing of the coyote in question. The eye color could be nothing more than a mutation or even an early eye injury from some things I’ve read.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Shane Coleman 7 months, 3 weeks ago
7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 7 months, 3 weeks ago

👍🏼 Thanks. I’ll check it out.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sensationel pictures, absolutely stunning! Such a characteristic eye color ...

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you so much... I can’t even express how much joy and happiness that I experienced... firstly, for having the opportunity to observe her and secondly, for being able to capture it!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue Replied to Shane Coleman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm glad, I shared the link about you incredible pictures with my daughter ... wink

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Me too!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Can G 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Superb pictures & a great story. I admire your patience and determinism! Most inspirational.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Can G 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Laurie Madsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I could feel your excitement! Thanks for the journey, it was almost like being there with you!
Great writing and photos! Thanks for sharing!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Laurie Madsen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you... for me, it was one of those awe-inspiring and memorable moments!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Laurie Madsen Replied to Shane Coleman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I can see why! 
Keep on sharing!smile

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith 7 months, 3 weeks ago

#2This is the first time I have seen one with 2 eye colors. It must have been such a great experience and well shot .

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Russell Smith 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It was... I think all the anticipation leading up to this moment made it even more special. 

Yea, the eyes were mesmerizing. I’ve only seen the different eye colors in dogs but then again, I haven’t seen a lot of coyotes.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Antonio Gil 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm speechless. These ones, especially #2, deserve to be published in NatGeo magazine right away. What an amazing work my friend. Absolute beauty in those wild eyes.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Antonio Gil 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks, Antonio. The eyes are what really caught my attention that day... at time, it was only the eyes that I could see peering through the grass.

Thanks again, Anotonio. Much appreciated.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Camellia 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I am in total agreement with Pete, you truly shoot awesome shots! The eyes of this beautiful animal has been captured exquisitely  by you. Because of your patience and perseverance we are able to enjoy these beautiful photos. Thank you!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Camellia 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you so much, Camellia. It means a lot. It certainly was a day that I won’t soon (or maybe never) forget. The beauty of it all, the opportunity to see/observe this, share briefly in an animals life, the pure excitement... this is why I love wildlife photography!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Pete Fitzgetald 7 months, 3 weeks ago

one day I am going to show up on your doorstep and make you take me shooting, you capture awesome stuff, your skill makes me envious. Great shots

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Pete Fitzgetald 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it. I’m really a newbie at all this, so your words are encouraging.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Heike 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, what an experience! Wonderful shots. I got goosebumps while reading! Looks like she is blue/brown eyed!

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Heike 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you. Yea, I wondered about that... if this was something common with coyotes. I’ve done some fairly extensive reading on them but have never read anything about their eyes. Either way, they are beautiful and they pierce the soul. 😉

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Sherry Hill 7 months, 3 weeks ago

she is beautiful.. i just keep looking into those eyes..

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Sherry Hill 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes she is. I actually think she may be pregnant too. From everything I’ve read, it would correlate to their typical breeding time. Or... she just eats well.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 7 months, 3 weeks ago

These are great Shane. Love  #2. You were rewarded for your patience. Well done

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Shane Coleman Replied to Berckmans Peter 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Peter. Capturing these really meant a lot for me. Nobody will ever really know the amount of time I have spent trying to make this happen. A lot of miles hiked with no photos to show for it. Lol.

7 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
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