People ask me, ‘where do you go to get your animal pictures?’
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.
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.
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.
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.
But for me, that’s more the exception than the rule. Sometimes, I get animal shots in my own yard.
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.
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.
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! : )
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!
Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.