Departure day and what do I see when I looked out the back window of the trailer at 0630 but a moose cow and calf next to the pond in addition to two of the beavers working. I grabbed the camera and went out, staying well back from the water. She spotted me and was leery, disappearing into the bushes quickly. She eventually came into sight as she left the area.
This was such a wonderful place I returned to it after leaving Denali. A lot of time has been spent observing the residents. This Northern Harrier has a female chick who has fledged. Four times I’ve seen the adult fly around with something in its talons and heard calling between her and the chick. Then the chick would fly up and catch the food in mid air as the adult dropped it. I’ve seen and photographed falcons doing this (2016 OR coast) but didn’t know hawks would do it. I was never able to capture the action, not surprising since the adult’s territory covers a large area and they are usually high up and away when it happens. Binoculars made seeing it possible.
The beavers have been industrious as usual, but they don’t keep regular hours, I have to watch for them. One afternoon I was able to capture one eating off a branch it cut down and dragged into the water. Every once in a while it would stop to either scratch or groom. Great fun to watch and every time I look at this image I grin.
Did manage to see a cow moose relatively close and as she was moving away I realized she had a calf with her, but it was even further away.
This January trip west was delayed in southern LA by an ice storm. Sitting it out until I 12 and I 10 were opened in a mall parking lot behind a Cracker Barrel was interesting. After setting up a solar panel I made the best of the record breaking cold as I watched the area fill with 18 wheelers. Nearly 32 hours later we all got back on the road and the trip west to AZ was uneventful.
Once in AZ I stopped at Whitewater Draw to spend some time observing the Sandhill Cranes that winter there. The cranes number in the thousands and have a very different schedule than those I watched in Bosque del Apache over two years ago. IT was cold in AZ, too, but worth it to see the birds.
When I left the Tetons I headed south to Moab, figuring it had to be warmer there. When I got to Moab late on Thursday afternoon, all the BLM campgrounds were full so I decided to go to the bare bones place just off 191 where I’ve seen lots of rigs with ATVs/ORVs parked. Turns out the land owner has realized he has a good spot there so it is now set up as a basic campground. Pros, large sites, level, small gravel, neat and clean, $15/night. Cons, if you need any amenities don’t bother. No water, shade or dump, 1 portapotty. Since the Casita is self contained, I use solar and it wasn’t an extremely hot time of the year the site worked fine for me. It is also very close to the entrance to Arches and to Moab so instead of traveling several miles in windy roads it was very convenient, worth it to me. The site is backed by grand high red cliffs and a nice spot for the sunset and early morning images.
I’ve been to Arches and posted images from those visits so this time I decided to concentrate on other places. Also, the park is open only Friday and Saturdays nights now because of road work and both nights were cloudy. Anyhow, I drove out 128 along the Colorado River one morning and made several stops. Not only was I enjoying the day time drive I was scouting for night images, too. I’d been through Castle Valley once several years ago and wanted to check it out, too.
On my way to Yellowstone I stopped in the Tetons for only 4 nights. Got another great site at Gros Ventre CG. There is a lot of smoke around, sometimes you could be at the south end of the Tetons and couldn’t even see the north end of the range. Last year the fires were raging in both Yellowstone and GTNP, this year they are not in the parks but still affecting them.
The second night I was there it was wonderfully clear so I went out to see what I could photograph. First stop was one of the old Mormon barns. There were a couple of guys there already and they were using some LED flashlights to light the barn. Not the best light since it tends to be a very cold white but I warmed it up a bit in the processing.
The night was so clear I wanted to take advantage of it so I headed down to Schwabacher’s Landing unsure if the setting would work or not. Yes! Just the spot to capture the Milky Way over the calm waters.
Night photography is a passion of mine and one of the challenges can be to try for lightning images. Summertime in FL usually means plenty of storms. Unfortunately this summer while it has been wet the evening storms have been infrequent and the opportunity for lightning even less. Last week we finally got a break. After checking the radar often it appeared a line of storms to the northeast was heading south. I called a friend and her first words were “I wondered when you’d call.” I grabbed my gear and swung by her house. I’d heard about a small park with picnic tables that had shelters over them and the bonus was it faces east over a lake. Perfect for us. We got there as one storm was passing to the east so we each picked a table and set up the tripods. There wasn’t a lot of rain but the shelters enabled us to keep on shooting without risking the cameras.
After a while the storm passed and it appeared that part of it was heading west, towards the Gulf. We hopped in the truck and headed west. Deciding to go straight out to Ft. Island Trail Beach. There are tables there with shelters, too. The beach is lit by large sodium lights, so the sand looked pretty orange in the images, but I toned it down a bit. It was a good night all in all.
Bullard Beach SP is a really good location to use as a base. The campground itself is really nice and it’s handy to so many interesting places. Soon after I arrived I took a drive up to the Charleston area, to Sunset Beach SP and Simpson’s Reef. Photographing wildlife is always a draw for me and I spent about 3 hours watching the sea lions (both California and Stellar) and seals (harbor seals and Northern Elephant
seals). The N.E. seals were pretty lethargic, laying on the beach and occasionally using their flippers to toss sand on themselves. I never did get to see one in the water but the others were having a great time of it.
This morning there were some clouds with sunlight breaking through so I spent some time photographing some of the sea stacks. I haven’t used ND filters much and decided it would be good to play around with them. Very interesting results I think.