Photographers know that when it comes to getting amazing shots, tracking down the perfect subject can be half the battle. So when Tim Newton awoke one morning to find lynx cubs playing on his front porch, he knew he’d been given a rare opportunity.
Newton was awoken just before dawn by the sounds of something (or somethings) moving around on his front deck.
Living in the outskirts of Anchorage, Newton knows from experience that it isn’t unusual to find anything from moose to bears on your property. But when he heard a sound like “huge pads sticking to the deck like Velcro,” he knew it was no bear.
Peeking his head out, Newton saw what he thought was a group of cats. But on closer inspection, he realized the animals were something much more rare. “I look closer, and… my gosh! Their feet are about the size of their head,” he said in an interview with the CBC. “Talk about serendipity!”
An entire litter of lynx kittens, seven in total, was jumping and playing on his deck. Aware that he had an elusive subject literally right at his front door, Newton, a landscape photographer, went to grab his camera.
Newton said he’s only ever seen lynx a few times in his life, and only for a few seconds at a time. He half suspected the kittens would be gone by the time he got his camera. But instead, they stayed and played for about an hour – “a rare privilege.”
“They’re very elusive and they don’t seem to stick around,” he said. “So I was just thrilled they were still there.”
At one point the mother appeared, calling the kittens to her. Then the entire family returned to the deck.
The resulting photos are intimate portraits of these generally shy animals and the images capture close family ties and a playful spirit. Newton told the CBC that the cubs turned his deck into a “romper room.”
After an hour’s observation, his takeaway about the oft-mysticized animals was: “I’ve concluded that lynx spend one per cent of their time chasing rabbits and 99 per cent of their time chasing their siblings.”