1 day ago
A staring contest with a jaguar under a beautiful starry night at #RefugioLosVolcanes
I’ve been planning since last October to shoot this in early June and thankfully, the weather conditions were perfect and then some. The clear skies above and the layer of fog that rolled in around midnight to blanket the cabins below created a really picturesque scene. The only unfortunate thing was that the Milky Way was already way too high to include it in the image. While up on this cliff and happily shooting away, I noticed a pair of glowing eyes staring at me from around 10-15 meters down below me on the trail. I initially thought it was a fox, as I had seen a few before, so I made some noises and stomped my feet, but strangely, the animal did not scare nor did it move. So I took out my Maglite to get a clearer look and lo and behold, there it was standing, a mid-sized jaguar. Sensing that all the ruckus I was making was of no use, I just stood there and had a little staring contest with it. It probably went on for about a minute or two (kind of hard to tell in the heat of the moment) and then it just nonchalantly strolled way—no growling, no flashing of the fangs, no ready-to-pounce posture. I was rather relieved, to say the least and went right back to my shooting (constantly looking over my shoulders more than I would like to admit). Truth be told, I was rather reluctant to go back down that trail the jaguar had disappeared into, but I really had no choice as it was the only short route back. After a few more hours of shooting and as it was nearing 3:30 am, I was feeling quite tired, so I decided to make a run for it. Thankfully, nothing happened and given the rather docile nature of the jaguar, I decided to go back up the hill for a second night of shooting (Ah, the lengths we Milky Way chasers will go for that “one” shot simply baffles me). Again, I saw a pair of glowing eyes, but this time just a quick glance. I assume it was the jaguar taking its nightly stroll and looking up to say hi.