Best of Animals, 2018

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. : )

antelopelk_IR.jpg1.  Antelope   Greens Peak Loop near Show Low

blue_PS_IR.jpg2.  Blue Heron    Carneros Lake

ramtree_IR_IR.jpg3.  Big Horn Sheep    Greer, AZ

deersmirk_IR.jpg4.  Mule Deer    Grand Canyon South Rim

_40A5780_IR.jpg5.  Mule Deer    Grand Canyon North Rim

bison fight_IR.jpg6.  Bison    Raymond Wilderness Area

Greatapproach_IR.jpg7.  Great White Egrets    Happy Jack, AZ

_40A6663_IR.jpg8.  Baby White Tail Deer Fawn    Happy Jack, AZ

daisibull_IR.jpg9.  Bull Elk    Happy Jack, AZ

pygmy on_IR.jpg10.  Pygmy Owl    Happy Jack, AZ

 

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Elk Profile

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I remember when I used to visit my husband’s folks in Morman Lake, AZ.  They would be all excited to share ‘their’ elk with us.  With a binoculars in hand, if you squinted real hard, you could see the little dots of elk crossing in front of the fire house, about 1/4 mile away.

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John’s mom still remembers fondly how close they got to see the elk.  I laugh.

If she had any idea of how close we see the elk today!

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Big Bull

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I keep hearing the elk bugle… a magical, majestic sound… but I had yet to see the big bull that bellowed.  That is, until this morning.  It was just after 5am… a little dark still, when he came in.

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I think I may have been a little late to the party, as he didn’t stay long.  He seemed merely to have come in to collect the last of his harem, and then he was off again.

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To watch the grace and ease at which he slinked off into the forest was a beautiful thing.  He was so quiet and confident in his graceful movements as he jumped over a ledge like it was a pebble and quietly disappeared.  Awesome.

Elusive Elk

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We go to the Mogollon Rim often just to look for animals.  Our elk have been very elusive lately.  On our most recent trip we saw a large herd of probably 100 elk.

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But with all our multiple sightings, they were very camera shy and spooky… and by spooky I don’t mean scary, I mean scared. They ran at the mere sound of us, and just wouldn’t stay still for a shutter release.

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I keep telling ’em… I’ll make you famous :).   But they don’t listen.

No worries… I’m persistent.  I’ll be back!

 

Happy Snow

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While the East coast is getting hit with repeated snow storms, Arizona is getting left out of the action.  Now I know most people don’t think of AZ as getting snow… but for Northern Arizona it is part of our seasons, and one we count on to get precipitation to keep our trees healthy and our forests free from wildfires.  For a  normal winter (October – March, or so) we would expect to see maybe 6′ – 10′ of snow.  While that may not be a lot for some Eastern states, it’s about right for us.  Thus far this winter, we have seen none.

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That is until this past weekend.  I’m happy to report we finally got some snow!  Woohoo.  We probably got about 8″ at our home.  Having been house bound, we opted to go to the rim to check out their snow and maybe get some pix.

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The rim probably got around a foot of snow.  It was beautiful.

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There is something special about new fallen fresh snow, clinging to the trees and their trunks.  It is a magical sight.  I never used to like snow – too cold.  But I have developed an appreciation for it’s beauty.

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… and it always tends to bring out the animals.  We were lucky to see a number of elk – all of whom where quite surprised to see our Jeep slogging through the deep snow.

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Elklings

 

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First it was the deer, now the elk.  We love the return of the animals.  It has been so dry.  No rain in the past or foreseeable future.  The weather is unpredictably warm.  Our plants and animals are confused beyond measure.  Bees are swarming late… baby animals are appearing late… and wild birds, normally migrated, are looking for food.

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Winter must be near… but the weather gods aren’t cooperating.  Maybe next week.  In the meantime, the animals are trying to fill up on whatever food and water they can get their mouths on…. including having elk and deer in the same space.

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We’ll enjoy what we get… when we get it.

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Picture in Picture

I learned this cool technique.  I learned it as ‘Picture in Picture’ which reminds me of that feature I never use on my tv.  Apparently it’s all the rage with Snapchat and such.  Being behind the times (where I pretty much live), I had never heard of or seen it.

The idea is you take a photograph of your hands holding your phone, and put them on a blank layer (transparency) in Photoshop.  Then you take a photograph and fit it to the background.  Cut and paste the same photography INTO (Paste Special) your picture of your phone. (Use the polygonal lasso tool to make the selection of your phone screen.) Don’t forget to blur background layer for best effect.

And wa-la…

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Cool, hunh?!