Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, but its been a busy time. We’re getting ready for a trip to Antarctica and Patagonia so I’ve been preoccupied. That being said, when I saw this week’s challenge, I couldn’t ignore it. We spent some incredible time with some young (3 week old?) lion cubs and their mom back in October and it was sooooo cute and soooo sweet that I never get tired of perusing those photos. Here’s one I thought captured a quiet and curious moment with one of the youngsters as she came toward our vehicle…..
Hope you guys enjoyed this sweet moment – I loved being able to share it…….
We have just recently returned from a wonderful safari trip to Tanzania. When I saw the subject of this week’s challenge, I immediately went to this photo. I took this after one our first days in the wild at Tarangire National Park. We were staying at a wilderness camp with just my wife and I, our guide, and 3 beautiful people to take care of our every need in camp. I selected this photo as it captures many glows – the fading sunglow on the horizon, the star glow appearing in the darkening sky, the moon glow almost directly overhead, and the glow from our campfire embers both on the ground and reflected in the massive Baobab Tree above. This is a scene to remember for many years to come.
I’m a little late on my photo for the week as I wanted to finish my political thoughts before I looked at the challenge. While this photo may not scream Against the Odds to you, it sure does for me. Back in October my friend Ross and I were out in Rainbow Canyon (near Death Valley) taking photos of military aircraft who often fly through that canyon. The photographic process for such an endeavour is a lot like fishing – hours of quiet boredom punctuated by moments of frenzy when an aircraft enters the canyon at high speed. While we were just sitting there waiting for the aircraft to cooperate we amused ourselves with trying to catch a photo of a kangaroo rat running in and out of the rocks that formed our perch on the canyon edge. The fact that the animals were very quick and very small combined with the reality that they can appear from anywhere to make this a very difficult photo shoot. After a plethora of failed attempts, we finally resorted with trying to bait the little fella out of the rocks. While that sounds like cheating, it still did not make for an easy shot – our “model” would still vary his approach direction and timing and also make all of his attempts with a very quick in and out run. We finally did get some pretty decent shots of the little guy but I though I’d post this one showing him on his way in to the Cheeto lunch table that we had prepared for him….
As someone who spends a fair amount of time photographing wildlife it would be easy to talk about the excitement and expectation of capturing a great image of a wild and unpredictable subject. Instead, I wanted to share a photo that is not uncommon but often overlooked – that look of anticipation and wonder on the faces of the wildlife we encounter – concerned about whether we are predators or just wondering what the heck we are doing in their domain. I chose this photo from a walking safari we did in Nepal – if that is not a look of anticipation, then I’ve never seen one…..
When I saw the subject of this week’s challenge, I thought of many photos but ended up choosing this one from a 2012 trip to Alaska. We had just landed and set up camp for a week with the Brown Bears in the Katmai. We took a short walk from our camp and watched as some of the bears grazed in the field. We eventually followed this bear as he made his way to the stream, plopped down, and immediately dozed off. He didn’t seem to mind at all that the 5 of us were nearby clicking away with our cameras – He was much too relaxed to care…
I took a photo earlier this week that fits the challenge “Tiny” perfectly. While leaving the house I noticed some hummingbirds feeding on a bird of paradise next to my front porch. I quickly got my camera and got a few decent shots of this tiny, agile flyer. The colors of the hummer and the bird of paradise blended pretty nicely…..
I went on the Daily Post looking for the photo challenge but there didn’t appear to be one – instead it featured a challenge for “here and now”. Since I had just returned from La Jolla Cove where I was trying out a new camera I thought I’d post some photos of that particular here and now (from a couple of hours ago). I went to the cove with the intention of catching birds in flight but there wasn’t much going on so I just took what interested me. Here are some of the here and now photos ….that I took…..then.
The sun was out at first but there wasn’t much moving so I walked over to where the sea lions normally bask by the water and found this little guy enjoying the sun and the surf.
When the sun was still low in the sky there were numerous cormorants nesting in a tree above the cove. I managed to catch this silhouette of one of them coming in to its perch.
The light got pretty flat after a while and there still wasn’t much flying so I caught this shot of the cormorants also enjoying the crashing surf. As here and nows go, this was a pretty nice one.
We had plenty of opportunities for this “mirror” challenge while in the Arctic region of Svalbard, Norway. I chose to use this photo from a glacier bay that was being fed by 5 different glaciers. The bay contained uncountable chunks of ice floating around – ranging from small icebergs that had calved off the glaciers to much smaller pieces of ice that the glacier had ejected. This “mini-berg” had been inhabited by many kittiwakes who were preening themselves in the mirror-like reflections in the bay. A beautiful late afternoon Arctic scene….
We’re just recently back from a photography trip to Svalbard, Norway – up above the Arctic circle and in search of Polar Bears (and other creatures of the North). We had great experiences with some of the Bears including one that spent several hours in our vicinity. Of course we all took bunches of images of the great bear as she went through her daily activities. In editing one of the photos, I started looking at an extreme close up and liked the detailed effect of her face against the white of the snowy background . Its pretty unusual to get that intimate a view of a major predator but I’m glad to share this one with you.
One of the most extraordinary experiences of my life was spending time with the mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. The entire process of starting early in the morning, hiking to their habitat in the mountains, fighting our way through the dense vegetation, and then being with these serene animals was amazing. I can’t adequately describe the feeling of catching our first glimpse of the gorillas and then sitting feet away from them as they went about their daily routine. There was something just incredibly peaceful about them and a feeling that we were sharing the morning with a friend or relative – at their place. It was at once both quiet and exhilarating – a moment of a lifetime. Pure.
When I think of the Earth, I immediately think of the myriads of living creatures that depend on what it provides. With that in mind I stopped by a local lake to see if I could capture a couple of quick images to remind us of those inhabitants. I think they are also a reminder that all those other creatures have no ability to change how we treat Mother Earth – only we humans have that ability/responsibility.
I imagine this “other mother” chiding us all to protect our earth for the sake of her (and our) children.
I imagine these little guys telling us to take the time to get close to the earth and understand what we are doing to it. It is the most important factor in all of our lives and we treat it like a given vs the gift that it is…..
Sorry for the delay in posting for this challenge but I’ve been working my way through the thousands of pictures I took during our trip to Japan. Our first wildlife experience of that trip was with the snow monkeys near Nagano – the ones that frequent the local hot springs to provide some incredible photo opportunities. We didn’t get the hoped for snow while we were there but the Macques were everywhere and provided us lots to capture. One of the scenes that everyone looks for is the interactions between the Mothers and the kids – a perfect example of “one love”. Here is one of my favorites…..
We’re getting ready for another trip and I bought a new Fuji 90mm f2 lens for the occasion. I wanted a portrait lens with just a little “reach” so I’ll be able to use it with the snow monkeys in Japan. This lens has received great reviews so I had to try it. Living only a mile or so from the San Diego Zoo has its advantages so I went over last night to take a couple of quick photos to play with the lens. The flamingos are one of the first things you see in the zoo so I used them as my test.
I always look forward to my next photo trip – new places, new people, new experiences and of course, new challenges. I always try to envision what the photographic opportunities will be and how I will capture the shots that I want. One of the things I always use are images that I’ve done in the past that I’ve been happy with. I try to build upon that experience and formulate a plan to get even better material this time around. That process builds the anticipation for a great time to come. We are currently preparing for a winter trip to Japan to photograph the famed snow monkeys near Nagano (among other things). While the environment will be much different than my previous opportunities to capture monkey images, I’ve been reviewing past photos to inspire me for this particular trip. In particular, I’ve gone back to our India trip and looked through MANY photos to pick my favorites and to see what I like about them. A great example is this photo from the “Monkey Temple”, Swayambhunath, near Katmandu. It was taken in the afternoon so the light was getting good, this particular Macaque was playing amongst the idols, and I took numerous photos to get one that I really liked.
This has turned out to be one of favorite photos from that incredible trip to India and Nepal (to the extent that I have a large print of it hanging in my house). When I look at it, it invokes the place and time, the spiritual element of the idols, and the amazing gaze of the Macaque – almost like he is meditating or talking to his own spirits. If I can duplicate those type of feelings/thoughts with the adorable snow monkeys in Japan it will be a great trip! Hows that for optimism??
Normally when we think of animals that defy the laws of gravity, we think of birds. While I’ve got lots of bird photos that would fit this challenge, I decided to post this photo I took today in getting ready for an upcoming trip. This little guy may not be able to fly, but the way he was running around on the branches of this tree (obviously during his lunch break), he sure seemed weightless to me……
Every year a gathering takes place in the Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese migrate to the ponds and fields of the wildlife refuge to enjoy the winter. Every morning there is a repeating ritual where the geese and then the cranes take off from the ponds and head for the fields to graze. In the evening, they return to the ponds for protection from the predators such as coyotes. This early morning photo shows the geese taking off in the background as the cranes huddle, watch and await their turn to launch. Its a spectacular sight that is well worth the trip to witness….OBTW – there is also a “gathering ” of avid photographers close by to document the daily movements of the birds.
We have been very lucky in “treating”ourselves to a couple of recent trips (hence my lack of posts). We first had the opportunity to go on a short notice trip to the Baja in Mexico to spend some time with Whale Sharks.
These incredible creatures come in close to the shore in the Sea of Cortez to feast on the plankton in the water. While that is great for the giant fish (not either whales or sharks), it is horrible for underwater photography due to the lack of visibility caused by the plankton. This photo was taken from our boat which was about 18 feet long – this whale shark was longer than the boat – about 22 feet in length.
From the surface they appear to be hardly moving but when you get in the water to snorkel with them, you quickly realize that they are hard to keep up with and that they can disappear in seconds with one flip of their enormous tails or by just sinking down into the cloudy water.
In any case, it was a tremendous treat to spend some time with these very gentle giants. I’ll post some other photos from our lodge tomorrow and explain a little more about this wonderful trip.