June 25th, 2015
Springtime in the Rockies brings whole new life into the world. This spring and early summer we have been blessed with the time and energy to photograph Elk, Moose, Red Fox, and numerous bird species and their young. This young elk calf was photographed on a trip through the central Rockies of Colorado. It was hanging out in a nursery of several spotted elk calves while their mothers browsed nearby, always on the alert for danger. A gentle rain had just stopped, and the light was soft and mysterious. We quietly enjoyed the moment for some time before moving on our way, leaving them to their day. Retirement is good!
May 12th, 2015
It has been a treat this spring to be able to follow a family of Red Fox in their nearby den. We have had a female fox in our neighborhood for years, and she has successfully raised several litters of kits. This is the first year I have been able to get close enough to get some memorable photographs. Tonight this young kit, one of four, was on the lookout for its mom's return with supper (usually a mouthful of voles.) It played, stretched, napped, and in general totally ignored my presence and the clicking of my camera shutter. My husband Tim and I stayed for a very short time, not wanting to keep the mother fox away from her den or babies. I felt so fortunate to catch the eyes of this young one in this photo. All too soon they will disappear into the woods for a summer learning to hunt and feed themselves. But for now they are fuzzy and vulnerable. It has truly been a gift to follow them in play and in sleep...and in their wait for Mom's return.
April 14th, 2015
I titled this photograph, "The Stories You Could Tell." This abandoned homestead, high in Park County, Colorado, looks out on a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains. Nestled against a huge outcropping of boulders, it is easy to imagine the hard life these homesteaders must have lived. Summers are short, and some years the summer passes in a blink. Growing season is only for the hardiest of plants. How did these homesteaders survive? What drove someone to carve a life out of this harsh terrain? Where did they go? There is at least one question for every empty window. But despite being long abandoned, I am drawn to this house's stories. This old cabin still invites me to spread out a picnic blanket, photograph a few summer flowers, look out over the mountains, imagine animals shapes in the clouds above, watch the hawks soar, and dream of a long-ago life.
April 11th, 2015
Friday, April 10, turned out to be the best day of owling ever, and it almost didn't happen. A group of four of us, who all share a passion for wildlife photography,were trying to coordinate an outing, but struggling with other obligations, errands, and appointments. We finally all decided to make our schedules work, and decided to meet at a local nature center to go in search of owls. It was a gorgeous Colorado morning with cloudless blue skies.
The first owls were owletes that are at least a month ahead of most of the nests in our area, and the babies have already branched and moved to a new location. These babies are being closely monitored by one of our group, and she was able to locate them quickly. It involved several mad scrambles up and down steep embankments, but we quickly set up our cameras and tripods and shutter clicks could be heard all around. These babies were so adorable, you could not keep the smiles off our faces.
While we were there enjoying these three owletes, a man happened by on his morning walk. He mentioned a nest site to us that we hadn't heard about. With a few clues as to the location, we quickly packed up our camera gear, and we made our way back to the cars. This was not so simple as it involved using old skiing techniques of both side stepping and butt sliding down one particularly steep hill...no mean feat when you are toting multiple cameras, tripods, backpacks, etc.
There is always this sense of urgency when searching for a new nest. The four of us began working our way through this new terrain, spreading out with all eyes searching. I was making my way up a path when I suddenly saw waving from two of my friends across a small ravine. Success! More mad scrambling down and then up steep inclines, all the while hoping there was no poison ivy to which I am badly allergic. The first sight of that nest brought on such an adrenaline rush. Tucked into a hollow in a dead Cottonwood tree, this mother and her four owletes were perfectly protected from the elements. As always, keeping a safe distance, we were able to spend some time photographing her, and the father owl in a nearby pine tree, for some time without causing any stress or alarm. A few of the resulting photographs can be found for sale on my Fine Art America page.
It was hard to tear ourselves away, but it is also important to give nesting owls their space, so we said our goodbyes knowing we will be able to make future visits to watch these babies grow. Altogether this day, we visited fives owl nesting sites to see young owletes at different levels of development and in very different style nests. Owls are opportunistic nesters. They do not build their own nests but move into old tree hollows, abandoned stick nests built by hawks, crows, or magpies, or pretty much any place they can fit. So you have to keep your eyes wide open, because you never know where you might just find them. This day, despite afternoon clouds coming in making for difficult light, was a great day indeed!