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.

 

 

 

The Road Less Travelled

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Each National Park has it’s highlight.  For Yosemite it’s El Capitain; for Yellowstone it’s Old Faithful.  Some may argue their favorite sites for each park… or favorite of the Parks.  One of my favorites is Mesa Arch.  I always think Mesa Arch is in Arches National Park… but it’s actually in the Park across the street Canyonlands.

But it’s not Canyonlands or Arches National Park I want to share.  It’s actually ‘The Road Less Travelled’, the White Rim road.  We saw this road from an overlook, and thought… now that’s where I want to go.  I wonder if we can camp there?

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Well the answer is .. yes, you can camp there… with a permit and reservations made a year in advance.  Apparently it’s a much coveted trip… 100 miles in total of decent, sometimes rough dirt road that runs ‘beneath’ the park that ordinary folk see.  I wasn’t even aware that such a back dirt road inside the park existed.  So we got a day pass and embarked on a grand adventure.

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We felt like explorers seeing the park for the first time.  We were ants amidst there giant canyons.  It was like a John Ford film with stagecoaches baring the elements.  The landscape was vast and humbling.  It really made you realize how small we are in this great big magnificent world.

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Photos can’t do the grand majestic landscape justice.

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Along the way we saw few cars, but a number of bicycles making the trek.  Then we saw this little ram munching away on the side of the road, which was a real treat for me.

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Next time we’ll have to make reservations and take the entire road.  Since it’s a slow road, they say it takes 3 – 4 days to complete the 100 miles.  This seemed like the best kept secret around to us… now that we know it’s here, and have tasted it’s beauty, we’ll be back for the whole experience.

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