Category Archives: Nature

Portraits

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White Lion at Shambala displays his teeth.

Most of the time photographing wildlife is done at some distance. Depending on the animal and the environment that may be as close as a few feet, but more likely twenty feet would be considered close and 50 to 300 feet not unreasonable.  While most of the animals we photographed were free running on game preserves, there were some that were captive and allowed for closer shots.  The male White Lion above is at Shambala and is fenced in at the owners property along with two females.  They’re fed and cared for, but are certainly not pets.  Their human interaction consists of being fed from a distance and being hopeful that one of those tasty looking photographers will fall into the enclosure.

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Water Hazard

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Only the eyes and nostrils break the waterline. The crocodile moves barely disturbing the water.

As a youngster I remember seeing old black and white movies on Saturday afternoon television.  Aside from all the World War II dramas, Johnny Weissmuller playing Tarzan were the movies I most remember.  A required scene in all those Africa adventure movies were the crocodiles splashing into the water.  What better way to show the dangers of the bush.  While Hollywood usually stretches artistic license to the limit, the Nile Crocodile is indeed one of the most dangerous animals on the continent.

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Havasupai

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Havasu Falls the evening we made camp.

Last week we took a five-day outing with Arizona Highways Photography Workshops to Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. The workshop was led by Suzanne Mathia and supported by Tyler, A.J. and Todd from Arizona Outback Adventures. It was a great trip with some excellent hikes, spectacular photographs, and lots of fun!

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Field Trip

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White Sands National Monument

One of the few down sides to the photo trips we take is that we have to leave our dog Trix behind.  True, she stays in quite the pet resort and seems to enjoy herself but we still have that pet owners guilt thing going.  We’ve talked about bringing her along on some of the shorter trips, and since she’s been successful going on our day hikes with us we thought it was time for a camping trip.  White Sands National Monument is about an eight hour drive from here, so after a little research we decided to give it a try.

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Some little stuff

Tarantula

A Tarantula showing a little leg…

We did a little macro photo shoot a couple weekends ago, with plenty of interesting subjects to get a close look at.  OK, I confess… shooting flowers and butterfly wings bores me to tears.  Yes, they’re pretty and have nice detail, but the live stuff is much more interesting to me.  As a result most of my shots were of spiders and other bugs.  The lead shot hardly even qualifies as a macro shot since a tarantula is a pretty good size critter.  This one was about four inches across as he was posing, probably another couple of inches bigger if he was trying to go somewhere.  He was very docile, pretty much taking a nap which made for easy photographs.

Tiger Gecko

This colorful little guy was pretty cooperative.

The Tiger Gecko was a little more mobile and made for a little challenge for a good capture.  I decided to not worry about the tail going out of focus to get a natural looking shot.  It seemed more interesting than a view from the side.

Jumping Spider

He kind of reminds me of Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

I would have never thought of a spider as being cute, but the Jumping Spider did have some personality.  It was quite animated and seemed to be almost posing for me.  It was quite fascinated with its reflection in the lens, and seemed almost puzzled by it at times.  The two large eyes in front which are its main vision are mobile, the other six eyes are apparently more for warning.

Northern Arizona/Southern Utah

Navajo Mountain overlooking Lake Powell

Navajo Mountain overlooking Lake Powell

Last weekend we took a trip up to Page for a workshop with LeRoy DeJolie.  While the main purpose of the trip was to shoot some slot canyons, the entire area is beautiful.  Rather that try to capture it in words, I’ll just let a few of the photos speak for themselves.

Just east of the Waterholes Canyon

Just east of the Waterholes Canyon

Vermillion Cliffs near the "Toadstools" hoodoos

Vermillion Cliffs near the “Toadstools” hoodoos

Morning at the Vermillion Cliffs

Morning at the Vermillion Cliffs

Inside the lower Antelope slot canyon

Inside the lower Antelope slot canyon

Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River does a 180.

Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River does a 180.

Another formation in the Lower Antelope

Another formation in the Lower Antelope

Entrance into the Lower Antelope slot canyon.  You wouldn't think there's much underground to look at it.

Entrance into the Lower Antelope slot canyon. You wouldn’t think there’s much underground to look at it.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley as seen from Hunt's Mesa

Monument Valley as seen from Hunt’s Mesa

A place that should probably be on every landscape photographer’s bucket list is Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border.

Anasazi Ruins - One of many cliff dwellings in the area

Anasazi Ruins – One of many cliff dwellings in the area

Anyone who has seen any John Ford westerns will immediately recognize some of the landscape made famous in countless John Wayne epics.

The" Mittens", one of many prominent formations in that area

The” Mittens” at sunrise, one of many prominent formations in the area

We were fortunate to be part of a group led by Navajo photographer LeRoy DeJollie who grew up in the area.

The Totem - seen in many classic western movies

The Totem – seen in many classic western movies

Much of the area requires a guide, and some of the spots like Hunt’s Mesa are difficult to get to, but it’s worth the trip!

Water under the bridge

The Susquehanna River near Apalachin, NY

The Susquehanna River near Apalachin, NY

Our visit to New York state brought us to the banks of the Susquehanna River where surface ice was starting to form.  This was a beautiful clear day, just warm enough that the frozen mist on the tree branches was just starting to melt in the sun, giving everything a jeweled look.