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.

 

 

 

A Whoosh and a Tale

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We got about 8 inches of snow out of this last storm.  I am loving the beautiful fresh fallen snow on the trees.. and this sweet deer taking it all in.

Then… in a Whoosh, 1/100th of a second later, to be exact.  From right behind the tree came quite a surprise to me… and this lucky deer.

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OMG!  What the HECK was THAT?!?!

In a flash, this mountain lion thought he had dinner.   But in just a matter of minutes, he was back empty-pawed.

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Dejected and hungry, he left the scene of the near miss, not to be seen again.

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The deer have since been back… but are a lot more cautious and alert.

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It was the first mountain lion I have EVER seen in the wild.  I felt so fortunate to get a shot of it.  As it was… I was looking through my viewfinder when it happened…. and it was over in less than a blink of an eye.  Life happens quickly, it pays to know your path and be prepared.

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Buck Personality

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The more I study the animals, the more I am convinced that they each have their own personality.  The males of the species are much more spooky, while the females are more docile.

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We caught this nice little buck enjoying the day after a recent snow storm.  He was soaking up the snow looking for food and water.

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He seemed very content, and not in a hurry to get anywhere…. and I was happy to watch him and take it in.

 

 

 

Deer Level

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They say that some of the best photos are taken from your subject’s perspective.  So if you are taking photos of a child or pets… to do it from their low vantage point.  It brings more story telling to the photograph, seeing the world from their eyes.

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One of my recent favorite subjects are these baby deer I keep seeing.  There must be 4 families, with one mom and one baby each.  Sometimes I see them all at once… sometimes only one at a time.

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However I see them, it’s always a treat, and something I never tire of.  The little fawns are each different.  Some more playful, some more timid… some more scrawny, some more filled out.

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Mom is ever watchful and protective of their new little ones, and quick to sense danger.  It has been fun to watch their behavior and individual traits.

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For more deer photos see my photo … here.

 

Yellowstone National Park

buffboy halfPSiWe just got back from our big trip to Yellowstone National Park.

For more photos check out my photo blog, kritterspix.com.

We were less impressed by the scenery than by the animals.  We got up close and personal with over a dozen animals, from the big three (bison, elk, and bear) to fox, marmot, pika, deer, antelope, moose, and numerous birds (eagle, osprey, and white pelican).  It was a lesson in humanity to see how people stop on the road, and get right up in the animals faces taking selfies… and the animals tolerance of this stupidkind.   We witnessed one couple charged by a bull elk when people got too close.. they tend to forget that they are wild animals.

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For our part, we are trained in our environment (living in the woods), to be respectful of animals and keep our distance.  No doubt we could have gotten closer… or a better angle.. but we didn’t want to interfere with the animals.

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It was just cool to see them… and the variety we were fortunate enough to witness.

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Yellowstone is broken into a circle-8 scenic byway.  People warned us how crowded it would be.. but it was less crowded than we anticipated.  Maybe it was just the build up from all the ney-sayers.  The upper northern loop (on the west side) was far more crowded.  This section one can find Old Faithful, and  is ‘hot’ with geyser activity… and people.  The geyser sections were much more full of people.steamtreesPSi

gpyPSiAdmittedly the geysers were fascinating to observe. But we were happy to stay on the south eastern loop, in the Lake Village where there were less people, and more animals.  Which by the way, was also where there was a deadly bear attack the day we arrived, making everyone, locals and tourists alike, bear aware.

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Next stop, Grand Tetons.  We hope to see moose.

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