I was out in the woods at dawn yesterday, with two primary missions: 1) shoot imagery of frost flowers, and 2) engage on some bird photography. Success on #1 and I'll post later about these strange ephemeral ice formations.
By 8:30 am or so, I was about a half mile back in the tangled growth of an old reverting clear cut. This is a good spot for several woodpecker species, including Red-headed Woodpecker. Lots of fruiting Staghorn Sumac promised Hermit Thrush, and there were at least two, but they never presented themselves well. After an hour or so the wind started coming up, and as I wasn't getting much action I headed back for the car.
Fortunately, I had pulled the Jeep far enough off the forest road that it wasn't glaringly apparent from down the road. As is my habit, when I arrived at the vehicle, I glanced down the road. Voila! The three cats were in the act of crossing, and I made the image above shortly after spotting them. They didn't make me, either. Using the rear of the vehicle as a blind, I dropped my tripod on the ground and was ready to shoot within seconds. NOTE: I almost never turn off my camera or disassemble the rig until I'm ready to stow it in the vehicle. Never know what might happen and you want to be ready for it when it does. ANOTHER NOTE: While it goes without saying that, when stalking game, one should wear colors that aren't conspicuous, it's also a good practice to try and walk quietly, something that seems to be a dying art. Avoiding even creating the crackle of leaves or the grating of pebbles might offer you an edge over wary targets. Outside heel down first, roll onto the foot, etc. By doing so, one can move along soundlessly. All this might have helped me from unknowingly alerting the cats before I had the chance to see them, although I was distant enough that that worked in my favor too. Fortunately, I had just been after birds, so my big 800mm was on the tripod.