The Ones that Didn’t Make the Cut

You may have seen my Best of Landscapes 2019, here…. https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/  or my Best of Wildlife 2019 here… https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/ .  Below are some of the ones that DIDN’T make the cut.

1. Pismo Beach, CA... wish I could get sunset shots like this in AZ! PismoSundown_IR.jpg

2. Lil Buck… If only AZH had published THIS pic  _40A9745_IR.jpg

3. Hawley Lake ….  Through the Fog is Clarity  _40A4245_IR-2.jpg

4. Javelina … not a common sight in this neck of the woods  Javifurup_IR.jpg

5. Snow Elk…. Animal behavior can be so much fun to capture, sometimes these little guys do the darnedest thingsrest_IR.jpg

6. Moqui Snow … I need to work on getting more landscape snow pix  snoburst1_IR.jpg

7. Oak Creek Fall … Gotta love waterfalls & fall, such an amazing combination BoulderBed_IR.jpg

8. Morman Lake Elk Pool …   While this is a busy pic, lots of fun interactions to look at morman lake elk pool_IR_IR.jpg

9. Kaibab Daisies … I had never been to Kaibab Lake before, I need to get out more _40A2967-HDR_IR.jpg

10. Babies Rule … love me some baby wildlife!  Cuddle_IR.jpg

I could go on, but I think the exercise of limiting oneself to only the best forces one to be critical of oneself, encouraging growth and improvement.  Something we should all heed in our lives.  Happy New Year!

My Best Wildlife Photos of 2019

It’s been a great year for wildlife for us.  We have seen a wide and varied collection of birds, waterfowl and big beasts – including our first ever mountain lion.

Below are those I consider my best of the year….

1.  Sandhill cranes, Whitewater Drawsandhill hills_IR.jpg

2.  Deer in falling snow_40A7919_IR.jpg

3.  Bobcat, Lake MaryBob Lake_IR.jpg

4. Hawk stare _40A3440_IR.jpg

5.  Pygmy Owl PygmyEyes_IR.jpg

6. Sea OttersSea Paws_IR.jpg

7. Blue Heron Wide Eyed Blue_IR.jpg

8.  Monarch Butterflies B Comming In_IR.jpg

9.  Big Horn Sheep Ram Portrait_IR.jpg

10. Baby antelope runIMG_0440_IR.jpg

AND the number 1 top photo of the year, despite the fact that is isn’t the most technically perfect shot (would have better if he was coming toward me) is, solely for the thrill of it:

11.  Our first mountain lion

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We saw fox and javelina, elk and deer, eagles and turkey, but these were the ones that excited me for one reason or another – and sometimes not just for their expression or technical merits.  Sometimes a shot can just emote an emotion or a feeling that brings us back to it.  Maybe it was the place or the experience, but anything that keeps us coming back is worthy of a nod.

Check out my best landscapes here… https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/

Sea Critters

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Having just gotten back from the CA coast, we saw lots of cool ‘critters’, including the sea otter.

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I’m not sure I have ever seen a sea otter before.  I could watch them for hours.  They were just too adorable.  I didn’t realize that they are actually an endangered species.  There used to be some 150,000 – 200,000.

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In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s they were hunted for their fur.  They are now a protected species.  Their population has dipped to 1% of what they once were, at a low of only 1,000 – 2,000.  Now they are hovering at around 3,000 as they have plateau’d in their decline.

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Their facial expressions and mannerisms were priceless.

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We saw buzzards and blue herons, seals and sea lions.

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Even caught a sunset or two….

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Sometimes its good to get out of the woods and see the sea.

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We don’t get too much of this in our neck of the woods.

You can see more of my pix from my trip here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/

 

 

 

Got Snow?!

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Yep!  First snow of the season, measurable snow anyway.  It was only 2 -3″, but it coated the trees and left it’s impression.

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There is something about new snow as it clings to the trees with all it’s white beauty.

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It’s a beautiful sight to behold  One which has been an acquired taste for me, as I always hated snow – too cold!

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But I have come to appreciate it for it’s beauty.  Living in the mountains we aren’t faced with the same dirty snow as big cities have as it piles up along the roads, mixed with cinder and asphalt.  Our’s is pristine and wild.

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Our snow is here… and gone.  It doesn’t last long.  So we enjoy it for whatever time we have it.

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And if we’re lucky, we brave the winter elements and get out and take pix… as we did for this brief snow storm.

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We were the only one’s on the road, and we felt like we were in our own world as we drove through the abandon forest roads in this magical winter wonderland, with all it’s peacefulness and untarnished spirit.  It was a thing of beauty.

 

Weather – Finally!

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We have had quite the drought this summer, with no rain.  That finally changed with a quick storm that rolled in and gave us some rain, hail, and a little snow!

_40A9766_IR.jpg  We took the opportunity to run out to the rim to see if we could get some storm pix.

We loved the sky opening up and raining on the valley below.  It made for some spectacular views.

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When it rains on your parade, look up not down.  Without the rain, there is no rainbow.

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_40A9822_IR.jpg Bad weather always looks worse through a window…. gotta get out there and feel the storm and it’s intensity to live life to the fullest.

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It turned out to be a great day for storm watching.

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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.

 

 

 

Late Arrival

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I was just talking about the animals fattening up for the winter..  https://kritterspix.com/category/pix/

I know, it may not seem like winter just yet, particularly for those in Phoenix.  But it was 39F here this morning… so winter is coming.

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Yet, somehow, we got our first little visitor.  Usually the babies show up in June – not September.  This scrawny little fawn, still with her spots, made a brief appearance.

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She’s got a steep learning curve ahead of her, and a lot to learn in a short time.  Not to mention that she needs to put more fat on her little bones!

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Momma, you hear that.  Bring her back for a visit more often.  We’ll do our part.  : )