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!

A world of friends

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 Got Snow

Storm brewing on the horizon over Moqui Draw
Snow coats trees over Moqui Draw

After a long dry monsoon season and cold barren winter our forecast seemed bleak. We were desperate for some precipitation and moisture for our thirsty forest. The weather guys swore we were really in for it… Monday, no Tuesday, wait maybe Thursday, or Friday. Nothing. For sure Saturday. It seemed everyone else started getting it, but we were passed by. Flagstaff was getting pounded we heard. Hmmm. We got maybe 4″, and were waiting for this monster storm.

Snow clings to trees in the forest outside of Flagstaff after January snowstorm.
Elk grazes in Northern AZ

Finally, Monday the storm hit. Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we finally got some much needed snow. It came and came, yay! We figure we got around 24″ all together. It’s hard to say exactly, as the winds were blowing so hard, drifts were high, and actual measures were difficult to estimate.

Snow collects in depression outside of Flagstaff, AZ
Elk roots around into fresh fallen snow

No matter. We are happy to have it. I guess good things come to those who wait.

Snowy road outside of Mogollon Rim.
Snow coats the trees after a Northern AZ winter storm.
Snow falls over previous burn area.

See my other posts, here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/29/a-world-of-friends/ and here… https://kritterspaw.com/2021/01/27/snow-foraging/.

Snow Critters

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This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.

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With it, brought animals looking for food.

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It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow.  It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.

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There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.

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I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff.  Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting.  Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place.  Bring it on.

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Late May Snow

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If you are from AZ, you no doubt heard about our late May snow.  Just as we were preparing our gardens for the Spring / Summer season, we got predictions of 5″ of snow.  This is the West coast, not the East coast, we’re not supposed to get these late snow storms… nonetheless, here it is.

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While we didn’t get 5″, we did get 2 separate snow storms over several days that amounted to maybe 2″.  It was unexpected, but always welcome and provided us a blanket of white on the ground and over the trees.

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No matter.  We’ll take what we can get.

Snow storm over… 70F today here on the mountain.  Go figure.

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Bob

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Sometimes, even when you’re not looking, you encounter the unexpected.

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Such was the case when we stumbled across this scrawny bobcat wandering through the woods after a morning snowstorm, looking for supper.

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He reminded me of a friend who recently lost her beloved cat, Lucky.  He was curious, intent, and full of life.

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I watched him hunt through the lens of my camera edging up to him ever so cautiously, trying to get as close as I dared.  He was much more interested in catching supper, than he was in me.

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I hope he finds peace, tranquility, and a fabulous supper.

Bob Lake_IR.jpgWe felt lucky to cross paths.

Snow Elk

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We got quite the winter storm this week…. and I don’t know what it is, but storms always seem to bring the animals.

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Of course, we are always delighted to see them.  I always tell them… ‘I’ll make you famous’… if only they knew!

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These poor little guys were hunkered down looking for warmth and food.

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Even the dry twigs seemed like tasty food for these guys who were rummaging through the snow looking for something to eat.

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Of course, kids will be kids, and all they cared about was playing in the snow!  Typical! : )

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You can check out more snow pix here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2019/02/23/snow/

 

Keep it Clean

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Fall colors had me ga-ga like a little kid with a new toy, wandering around snapping shots of all the beauty everywhere I looked.  But when I got home and looked at my photos, I got a lot of ‘scraggle’, like that below.

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While I tried to be aware of all my photography rules: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify,  I pulled out contrasting yellow leaf color against dark trunks and green backgrounds.  But what I got was ‘scraggle’… busy, busy, busy.  Somehow when running around snapping the photos I didn’t see the little twigs that added clutter and distraction.

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Instead, I should have been keeping it CLEAN, by pulling out singular subjects and isolating them for a more interesting and uncluttered shot.

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The shots I took that CUT THE CLUTTER, took the prize and won my favor and the viewer’s eye.

First Snow

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We had already scheduled a trip to check out how fall colors were coming along when we got 6″ of fresh heavy snow.  The cold snap helped the colors along, bringing out brilliant reds in the maples, and golden yellows among the oaks.

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The ground was covered with a blanket of fallen color on the fresh white snow.  It was a thing of beauty to walk among nature and all her glory.

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We even found these fresh bear tracks leading through the forest, who surely must have been enjoying the cool weather and the awesome environment we were witnessing.

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For more Fall Color photos check out my blog here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/20/snowfall/

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