Animals shelter when the temperature drops and the snow flys. They hunker down and protect themselves from the elements and predators seeking food sources.
So when the storm is over, we go out searching for critters coming out of hiding to gather food.
I always laugh as we bundle up to be the first ones out in the fresh fallen snow looking for animals. It seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but we are more lucky than not, and often find a number of wildlife, and even manage to get their picture (though not always).
… and luck is the apropos sentiment, as we leave our home and debate, ‘which direction should we go today’?
I admit to being very fortunate when we go out, but we also go out a lot, are prepared for what we might encounter, and tenacious enough to keep trying even if we aren’t successful the first time. They say, fortune favors the bold, in our case it favors the tenacious photographer.
I have to say, with all that is going on in the world, and our lives right now we have felt very alone. I know we are not the only ones. Having not seen or talked to so many friends we have (or had) during all this isolation seems so sad. Will it be different when the world opens back up? Or will they be gone forever? That I can not answer, but suspect it is a combination of the two.
So, without getting too sappy or melancholy, today I feel thankful for the my many friends and supporters of my photography. It’s times like these that we should immerse ourselves in those things that make us feel joy and happiness when all the rest is falling by the wayside. I have had many folks who have asked to see pix of the snow. So it is with that encouragement, that we braved the storm and trudged out every day to get what pix we could.
Snow photos can be difficult to get. First off, the snow itself is white and blindingly bright. Having no ‘color’ it is hard to take photos of and exposures can be tricky. The snow storms bring bleh clouds and gray skies, drab and not very photogenic. Here on the mountain, most of our roads are closed. Snow plows have created berms along the main roads making pulling off the road impossible.
Animals are scarce, as foraging through the snow can be difficult for them. See my post here… https://kritterspaw.com/2021/01/27/snow-foraging/ . But with the encouragement of friends, we were persistent and somewhat successful in our quest to find some decent photos.
We went North toward Winslow looking for snow and animals. We went out into the forest behind our home to see if we could find some snow views. We headed toward Flagstaff to see if we could catch some animals. We ventured toward Pine to see what that might yield. See post here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/
We ran into road closures, icy slick roads, dead animals, stupid drivers, impassable areas, ugly skies and bright harsh light. But we also found bull elk standing in a meadow blanketed with snow staring back at us wondering what we were doing there. We saw trees caked with snow on the windward side majestic and satisfied with new found water. Ponds and waterholes previously dry were filled with fresh fallen snow, thirsty grass poking through the hill surrounding her.
There is beauty when we look for it, both in the environment around us and those in it. Be thankful for what you have and who you have to share it with, as we are today and everyday.
We were lucky enough to see this beautiful herd of big horn sheep as we left Alstrom Point. We saw the herd in the distance, so drove ahead of them, and I walked out behind a rock to see if I could sneak up on them. I’m not sure who was more surprised when we saw each other as I crotched down from behind a ridge – me or them. It was a fantastic moment.
Admittedly, I am not a big fan of coyote. They are scavengers and corral & hunt my precious deer and elk. So I’m just as happy not to see any. But I did this year, and got a decent photo that makes the cut.
We don’t see many fox, so I was thrilled when we saw this pup this year. So cool!
All babies are cute, especially the 4 legged animal variety!
Speaking of babies… it was super cute to get so see this affectionate family of javelina with new born babe.
And elk baby, or calf.
The next best thing to new animals (at least for us), or baby animals, are those big boys… elk bulls
The cuter and better expression, the better!
I got a ton of chipmunk pix this year, they were just too darn cute.
Deer Doe and fawn
And finally, pretty much any animal in the snow. Just wish we had more of it!
People often ask me, “what kind of camera do you have?” Or my favorite statement, “you must have a good camera!”
It reminds me of a story I heard some time ago, about the photographer who goes to a gourmet chef’s house for dinner.
The well known published photographer shows up at the woman’s house for dinner. The home owner & chef goes on about how beautiful his photographs are and as she invites him in she adds, ” I love you photographs. You must have a great camera.”
After a lovely evening and an amazing gourmet meal, as the photographer is leaving, he tells the woman how wonderful the meal was, and in parting “you must have a great oven!”
The right camera gear is essential, skill… is priceless.
A year wouldn’t be complete without my wildlife photos that I strive so hard to capture. This year has been especially unique with some terrific ‘up-close-and-personal’ shots of a wide variety of wildlife, including bison, antelope, and big horn sheep. Picking the top shots is the hard part… what an awesome problem to have. : )
One of my favorite things about living up north in the mountains is the wildlife we get to see. I never saw wildlife in the big city. Here on the mountain we see a wide variety of species.
Like this elusive fox. I have seen fox on occasion, but have struggled to get a good shot. This one was no exception, taken in the dark with a high ISO, spotlighted with a flashlight. I had a hard time focusing in the dark, even with the flashlight… and today’s camera’s aren’t intended for manual focus.
We also saw this curious raccoon. He was searching for grub.
We watched him (her?) for quite awhile (albeit difficult in the dark)…. another animal we rarely see, particularly as they are nocturnal.
Incidentally, the fox came at the same time… but didn’t stick around. The fox seemed quite put off by the raccoon, and quickly circled the raccoon then made haste and left. Pity, I would have liked to have gotten a better shot.
While I like the action in this photo, as this buck was spooked. It is not a great photo because it is too constrained. It is instead, a perfect example for what notto do. I have left no room for the buck to run. Since I cut off the action, the viewer is left to wonder what spooked him… or where he is going. It lacks that sense of place.
A better photo that shows a sense of place, and includes the subject (my buck) and his environment – the forest and trees. One where the subject is looking at you, and it’s eyes sharp are a bonus. Having the subject well lit, and not in the shadows help to draw the eye to your subject…. albeit often hard to get everything to line up, particularly when working in the wild.