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/

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.