People have often asked me, ‘how do you get so close to the animals?’, or ‘where do you find them?’. It’s not rocket science. The short answer is, I go out A LOT. It’s not like the occasional trip I get lucky on. It’s a whole bunch of trips… and every once in awhile I get lucky.
Luck definitely plays a part. But the more I find myself in a situation, the more I can use my gear, the more I can practice. All these things allow me to be better prepared when an opportunity presents itself.
I do find that the storms bring out the animals, and add more interest to the photographs. So we go out after most storms, whether it’s rain, sleet or snow (kinda like the postman). Where I find certain animals, I tend to go back, hoping I’ll get lucky again.
Having warm gloves that aren’t too bulky helps, making sure I can still operate my camera. When I encountered this herd of big horn sheep after a recent snowfall, it was 19F. I could barely feel my fingers, let along depress the camera release… and that was with good gloves and hand warmers. Being prepared allowed me to stay the course and get some nice shots.
Being able to take action photos, hand held, was a matter of having had proper settings, fast enough shutter, and panning the scene and composing the photo on the fly.
I know I need more practice to continue to improve my craft and to pay attention to what I do wrong, so that I can get better. It’s always a challenge, and I welcome the opportunities that may come my way so that I can.
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.
It’s not very often we see big horn sheep. But this past week we went out to take pix of the snow and ran into a herd of big horn sheep, including 7 babies. Woohoo!
I can probably count how many times I have seen big horn sheep on 1 hand. They are one of the less common big animal encounters. We were lucky enough to not only see big horn sheep, but babies… and in snow on top of that. It was like a 3-fer.
It made my day, if not my year! I was very happy to have a positive jolt of goodness in what has been a difficult time for us personally. You take joy where you can get it.
We have had more trips cancelled this year than we have gone on. Such is the year 2020.
We had put off our trip to Alstrom Point, overlooking Lake Powell, due to weather. Not bad weather, but too much blue sky! With little rain or clouds on the horizon, a beautiful typical AZ blue sky can be less than photogenic.
So when forecasts for clouds came out, we packed up and headed out. Unfortunately, there were none. While we were there, the weather forecast called for clouds the next day (when previously it had called for Clear and Sunny). So we stayed another day. All we got was more blue sky. So we headed for home.
On the way home though, we were gifted with a great little surprise: big horn sheep.
I anticipated where they were headed and stalked into them. Fantastic.
A funny thing happened to us on the way home from Vegas… we ran into a herd of big horn sheep!
There must have been 2 – 3 dozen of them, walking down from the hills to graze in the grass.
They were beautiful to watch as they grazed and played.
I spent hours trying to catch their activities. They didn’t seem to mind that I was there, and posed for me… though it was hard to get their attention, as they were keen on the lush grass they came for.
A ewe after my own heart – it’s all about the food! :)
When I started getting serious about photography I kept reading that one should pick a ‘genre’. I was like, ‘what the heck is that’? Why can’t I take any kind of photo I want?
As I read more and photographed more, it made sense. A wedding photographer needs certain skills and tools to take beautiful wedding portraits, just as a sport photographer, and they are each different.
So, I thought – I want to be a landscape photographer.
So, I was surprised when the first photograph I got published was wildlife.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We just got back from a trip to the beach from AZ, and these are the pix I brought back – all wildlife.
Do what you’re good at… and what you enjoy, and you’ll be good at it.
Every once in a while you get the opportunity to be a part of something truly special. That’s how we felt this week when we got the chance to witness (and photograph) the release of 30 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep into their historic habitat along Leonard Canyon.
An amazing helicopter pilot with one eye on the sky, hands on his controls, and one eye on his precious cargo, lifted crates of bighorn sheep that had been collected from another habitat in Morenci.
By moving this selected grouping of rams, ewes, and lambs, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep can become diverse across Arizona assuring their continued growth and health.
Not only is Leonard Canyon / East Clear Creek a historic habitat for the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, but ironically, our recent Tinder Fire makes for ideal conditions.
In the aftermath of our Tinder Fire, vegetation continues to grow back, which is full of nutrients for the wildlife that will return to our area for the new growth.
Hopefully these bighorn sheep will make Leonard Canyon and the surrounding area their new home, and thrive and flourish in their new environment.
I was delighted and honored to be part of such a tremendous and joyous event, where many hard working, caring people worked hard to bring these bighorn sheep back ‘home’. It was a beautiful thing to witness the many professionals who brought this all together through their hard work, dedication, and expertise. My sincerest thanks go out to AZGFD for allowing us to be part of this special treat.
It’s not very often we see ram (otherwise known as mountain sheep). I think the last time we saw them was on Canyon Lake in Mesa. We have never seen them in Northern AZ. There was a time ww saw some in Utah, in Zion National Park….
But during our trip through Greer / Hannigan’s Meadow area… an area between 8500 – 9000 feet in elevation, we saw a whole herd (of 4).
I was ready at the camera to get some shots. They didn’t pay much attention to me when I told them they should go into the light, as they gravitated to the shade (who can blame them?), or look toward me… say cheese, er, grass?