Lewis Johnson was lucky enough to catch a photo of a beaver swimming in Yesler Swamp. Here’s his story and the extraordinary pictures Lewis shared with us:
On September 28, I searched for the Barred Owl in the swamp near dusk. After traversing the back trail through Sidles Swamp, I wandered out along the west branch of the loop trail to the lagoon and was greeted by the tail-slap of a startled beaver. They’re often wary, sometimes the clicking of a camera shutter alone is enough to send one diving for cover. After a few minutes of waiting and photographing reflected light from the sunset, they re-emerged. I quietly snuck into the cattails while the beavers were near the entrance to the lagoon, hoping to catch them with sunset light in the background.
As three beavers foraged in the distance, I set up such that only my lens was easily visible, and within a few minutes, one of the three beavers began swimming back to the lodge. It circled in front of me—unaware or unafraid, tantalizingly close. However, I faced a conundrum as I’d switched to a 50mm lens for the sunset: stay silent with the wider lens, or switch to my telephoto. I chose the latter, carefully sliding my lens bag off my back and laying it between clusters of plants, extracting the lens, and juggling both lenses as the beaver came back. The lens was fitted with seconds to spare, before one of the beavers swam within about 8-10 feet of me in the fading light. A few more photos later, we both quietly went our separate ways to forage for dinner.