Sunshine & Gorgeous Scenery

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As I watch the news of CA on fire, my heart goes out to those in harm’s way.  Having been through our own fire, stamping it out in our neighbors yard, watching the flames from our back deck, and still in the midst of the aftermath and burn area around us – I feel their pain more than ever.

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We wandered around Oak Creek and West Fork Trail enjoying the gorgeous environment of Sedona, and I couldn’t help but think of all the gorgeous countryside around the wineries of Sonoma that we have been to many times.

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I hope and pray that the fire fighters are safe, homes are saved, and these terrible fires can be controlled, put out, and CA can move on to the repair, restore, and heal from this awful time.

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Check out more of my Oak Creek / West Fork pix on kritterspix.com…. https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/31/oak-creek-fall/

 

 

Potato Lake

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My friend, Maureen, asked me the other day if I had ever been to Potato Lake.  I promised her I would take some pix to share so she could see it.

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It’s been quite some time since I was last there.  Last time the small circular lake was surrounded by yellow quacking aspens making the lake aglow.  It reminded me of Lockett Meadow with the burst of color on a smaller scale.

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Unfortunately, on this visit, I think I could count the aspens, as there were very few left.  Most had burned up or fallen down.  Such a pity.

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In the absence of aspens, a ton of new crawdads have taken up residence.  Always fascinating how where one thing falls another rises up.

 

East Clear Creek

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If you’ve been to Mogollon Rim by way of Forest Road 95, you’ve passed over the bridge at East Clear Creek.

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The road itself is dusty, windy, and beautiful.  It’s kind of like a suspense thriller – and I don’t mean spooky guy at the end.  In fact, for me it’s a plot that thickens.  It starts with boring tall forest to pull you in.  It’s nice enough, but sorta drab.

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Then it sprinkles in some cool craggy oaks, and the occasional fir.  Then.. just as you turn the corner, it grabs you with more breathtaking views.

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It’s a suspense thriller with a happy ending.

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… and sometimes unexpected twists and turns.

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Wildlife Sightings

People ask me, ‘where do you go to get your animal pictures?’

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It’s actually not an easy question to answer, as there is no straight forward answer.

I can tell you that ZERO of my wildlife photos are taken in a wildlife park or zoo.  They are 100% taken in the wild.  As all things wild, they are unpredictable.

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Many wildlife photographers get a lot of their photos through their livelihood, as biologists or working in nature conservatory for AZ Game & Fish or Forest Service preserving an animal’s habitat.  These sorts of jobs help the photographer, often early in their career, to learn the habitat and tendencies of their subject.

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I have not had that advantage.  I have had to learn the hard way on my own.  While, I have stumbled across various animal habitats, like the pair of great horned owls at Whitewater Draw, that’s the exception more than the rule.

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Sometimes it’s easy to go to where you know there will be animals, like Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where the sandhill cranes flock to every November / December.

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But for me, that’s more the exception than the rule.  Sometimes, I get animal shots in my own yard.

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Often, though, it’s a matter of getting out there.  You have to look, to see.  We make frequent trips to the rim, leaving early morning when it’s still dark out, to get to the rim at first light when the animals are still moving around.

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Besides the rim, we go out on photography trips just in search of that great landscape or animal shot.  Knowing that antelope can be found in the plains, or that there is a herd of big horn sheep that frequents the Greer area, can be helpful.

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Other than that, one just has to get out there.  You don’t find animals sitting on the couch eating bon bon’s, unless you’re watching the National Geographic channel. Ha! : )

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In any case, luck favors the prepared.

Just this week, we were wandering around the woods (as we often find ourselves), actually looking for water where there was none.  We found lots of dry holes instead of Lakes, but we did encounter well over 1000 sheep crossing the road.  That’s not something you see every day – or ever before!

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Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.