Tale of The Take – Porcupine


Getting this photo was one of my most amazing experiences.  Ann and I had driven to San Angelo State Park to check on the bird blind, back on January 19, 2009.  We usually put seed out so the birds will be attracted to the area.  This is for the benefit of birders and photographers who come to observe.

Porcupine in tree

We had just turned off the main road on to the little lane that leads to the blind when we spotted this round, bushy looking blob in the fork of a tree, about 25 feet from the side of the road.  Not realizing at first what it was, we put our binoculars on it and discovered that it was a Porcupine.

I had my camera on my lap, as usual, and took a couple of quick shots out the window of our mini-van, to make sure I had something in case the animal made a quick exit.  I then got out and started walking through the weeds and brush, much to the chagrin of my wife, Ann, who started to yell at me to watch out for rattle-snakes.  I called back, and told her to worry about whether I was going to get the shot.  After all, there things that are more important than others. 🙂

I was able to get close enough to the porcupine that I could have reached out and touched it as he/she was only about 5 feet off the ground.  I found that if you are going to pet a porcupine, don’t move your hand against the “grain”.  Those quills are very sharp.

A face any mother would love

I was able to shoot pictures to my heart’s content.  The porcupine probably had just awakened as it was about 8:30 AM.  He just sat there and stared at me for the whole time I was there.  Of course, I was in awe.  Most porcupines I ever see are usually slabs of road-kill on the highway.  This was by far, the closest I had ever been to one, especially a live one.

Photo information.  Canon 40D camera.  Tamron 28-300mm lens.  1/250 sec. @ f9.  ISO 400.  Zoom lens set at 105mm.

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13 thoughts on “Tale of The Take – Porcupine

  1. Thanks for the advice on how to pet a porcupine. 🙂 But mostly thanks for the story. It’s such a thrill to get close to wildlife and to have him pose for you is quite a bonus.

  2. Wow – that’s so cool! I don’t think I have ever seen a porcupine – alive or dead. I have seen quills in a dog’s muzzle, however, and I must admit that experience instilled in me quite a healthy respect/fear for the animals, so much so that I might not have been as brave to get as close as you did.

  3. Ah, the great porcupine. I was in Lakeview Oregon where we were working on a ranch many years ago and I was roguing wheat (pulling weeds). The wheat field was about 3 tall, and you could get sea sick looking at when the breeze was blowing. I was working away took a step and stepped right in the middle of big porcupine who was sleeping. It scared me as much as it did the animal. Needless to say I went home..enough excitement for the day…

  4. What luck!! I often try to sneak up on birds or other critters, hoping to get the clearest shot possible (taking photos along the way, of course). How fortunate that he stayed still for you – I’ve never seen a porcupine face so up close before! He actually might be kind of cute if he didn’t have all those quills. GREAT shots!!

    • Thanks, Holly. Perhaps I can give you some advice. You may already be aware of this, but if you can set your camera so you are using only one center focus point, it is much easier to get those shots of bird in those trees. I know how difficult it is to focus through tree branches, so this makes it easier. Just put that focus point on the bird, and ignore the branches. Being from Michigan, myself, I know how dense those trees are. Forgive me if I sound like a know-it-all. 🙂

      • Bob, you are anything BUT a know-it-all! I have appreciated every bit of advice you have ever given me!! I do actually use the single focus point, but I need to work on the technique. Like everything else, once I learn it, it’s practice, practice, practice (and remembering to do it in the first place)!!

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