This week’s challenge was easy for me. I’ll take you back to Tanzania on one of our last evenings there. As usual, we were still out with the wildlife at Sundown. We had been watching a group of female lions getting ready for their nightly hunt but we had also been watching a group of Elephants a few hundred yards away. I decided to try to get a ground level shot of an elephant with the sun going down over his/her back. While I couldn’t quite get that photo framed due to the brush in front of us, I kept moving to try and catch the beautiful sunset along with these gentle giants. When I look at this capture, it immediately brings back a sense of excitement (in trying to get the shot) but also the quiet calm and beauty of the scene and this magnificent creature standing in front of me….
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…..