Big Horn Lounging

I do enjoy it when we see animals. We encountered these big horn sheep enjoying a grass field lying in the shade and munching away.

It was almost as if they were talking to one another, laughing and telling stories, while others just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Most of the ones in this herd were males, or rams, with only a few female ewes. The boys demonstrated their dominance by locking horns, but seemed more affectionate than fierce.

While I tried to keep my distance, they didn’t seem to mind that I was there and got closer to me than even I was comfortable. I took every advantage of their presence.

Passion

The dictionary defines passion as: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; strong and barely controllable emotion. I consider myself a passionate person, which actually can be a mixed blessing. Sometimes it gets me into trouble. My emotions can run strong and people tend to take my intensity the wrong way.

On the flip side, however, it’s that passion that drives my ambition and love for excelling at the things I take on.

In terms of photography, it’s that passion, which has driven me to get published. So it is with pride and joy that I share my recent contest win from the National Park and Public Lands. I won 3rd place out of over 15,000 entries. Check it out here…

https://www.nbcrightnow.com/news/state/the-winners-of-the-national-park-foundations-2020-share-the-experience-photo-contest-learn-more/video_82c929b7-d741-51ba-bcf8-a36f5d1bc92a.html

The award is humbling and feeds my passion further, and gives me validation of my work and growth as a photographer. It makes me want to be better and strive to work harder.

I guess it goes to show, you really can do anything you set your mind to. With determination and hard work, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve great things.

Mogollon Sunrise

Mogolllon Rim is littered with amazing views. One can pull over just about anywhere and be awestruck by the spectacular scenery.

It’s a special place for us, and we enjoy sharing it with friends.

Sunset / Sunrise are often difficult, as the Rim has a southern exposure. Unless one gets a spectacular sunset or sunrise that wraps around the sky, the color is either to the West or East. If you’re lucky, the clouds are with you, and great views follow.

Schnebly Hill Vista

We love to explore the back roads and take in the fabulous views we find along the way. We have traveled the Schnebly Hill Road on numerous occasions over the years.

Schnebly Hill road

The 12-mile road cuts between Flagstaff and Sedona. If one didn’t know better, they might think it a short cut. In reality, all the wind and lack of rain has continuously deteriorated the road.

Sunrise at Schnebly Hill Vista

You may know the road – it’s that really rough road the Pink Jeep Tours drives through out of Sedona. The bumpy road from Sedona to Schnebly Vista traverses over rugged rock shelf terrain. It takes around an hour to go just 6 miles, dependent on how much one wants to beat up your lifted truck or Jeep. It is not suited for passenger cars.

Little mouse collecting food

We even caught this industrious little mouse foraging through a cactus. It’s wonderful the things you see if you get out there. You can see more of my mouse pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2021/06/11/industrious-mouse/

Sedona city lights from Schnebly Hill Vista

We were delighted to have some clouds for some beautiful sunsets and sunrise.

Little Horn Sheep

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.

I guess we need to get out more!

Alstrom Point

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.

By the time we got home, we were greeted with 2″ of snow. Go figure! (Check out snow pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2020/12/12/blizzard/)

Sometimes magic happens when you least expect it. Stay the course. Stay positive, and keep on doing what you enjoy.

Sun star

Call ’em what you will – sun star, sunburst, starburst, sunray, or just plain fun.

I love doing sunstars. A sunburst adds a dimension to any photograph and point of interest.

Sun bursts through the trees to reflect through the Aspen Trees

I am often complemented at my use of adding sunrays with a a star filter, program, or app. The truth is, sun bursts are very easy to do in camera. No apps required.

All one needs is a wide angle focal point and small aperture. I love my Canon 16mm, set at f/11 for these great results. Sometimes you have to take a number of photos to get the sun poking through the trees just right.

You may have to split a tree to showcase the sunburst, rather than just looking directly at it with full intensity.

But, it’s an easy thing to do, at sunrise, sunset, or even mid day.

As with any photograph – look ahead, look behind, look all around, and look up. Sometimes the best things are just ahead of us.

The Bucks Have It

While I love when we see any animals, the most coveted are the most unique and least often seen. Big animals, boys (bucks and bulls), and babies bring the most attention due to their illusiveness.

Aside from that, gestures and action, garner more interest, like this floppy eared buck.

I try to capture their personality and individualism in their environment to share.

These animals are here and gone, so it’s important to me to make their moment shine. I keep telling ’em, smile pretty for the camera – sometimes they actually listen.

Hopi Chipmunk

During our last visit to Carnero Lake (kritterspaw.com/2020/08/16/carnero-lake/), we encountered some playful chipmunks.

I watched them for hours as they got used to me being there, as I inched closer and closer to them.

Once they got comfortable with me being there, I watched them run around and play, chase each other around the rocks and through the forest.

It’s amazing what you can get if you sit still long enough and exercise a little patience.

I think there’s a lesson there.