I have many hobbies, mostly normal ones like reading, drawing, painting, sewing, and knitting. But I have one extremely unusual one that earns me peculiar looks everytime I indulge my whim to practice it. I love to photograph roadkill.
I know what you're thinking: That's gross. That' s because you're thinking about it wrong. Taking a picture of a dead animal is not nearly as gross as peeling its rigid carcass off the highway and hauling it home. I've never had a desire to skin anything, no matter how perfect the pelt. A picture is so much cleaner.
I'm selective in what I shoot. I don't brake for any old dead animal. I whiz past squashed raccoons, pancaked possums and dismembered deer on a daily basis. No, something has to be pretty unusual for me to stop, grab my camera and run across four lanes of traffic for a keepsake photo - endangered rattlesnakes, piebald deer, bears.
Take for instance my Find Of The Day, a coyote. Coyotes are still a novelty in our area, where they started showing up about four or five years ago. Keeping a photographic record of the ones killed not only helps me keep a keep track of unusual wildlife in my area - another interest of mine - but gives me something to pass on to my biologist friends, who are genuinely happy to get such information.
I saw a rare, red-phase black bear (they can come in other colors than black) hit a few years ago, but we were in heavy traffic and I didn't have my camera. The bear had just been hit and, while dead as a doornail, all the injuries appeared to be external. The carcass was in excellent shape, and I was planning to go buy a camera at the next exit and come back for a few shots. But - as luck would have it - the guy behind us saw it at the same time, pulled over and threw the carcass on the back of his truck. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But it would have made a cool photo.
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