I spent last Sunday enjoying a drive through Yellowstone where I hadn’t been for some time. The park has only been open a couple of weeks, but the remnants of the harsh winter are already visible. Carcasses lay across the land as Elk, Deer, and Bison who couldn’t handle the cold long winter perished. Nature is a cycle and while it is sad to see all the ungulate remains, the benefits of the dead are all the scavengers have plenty to eat. This particular Coyote didn’t seem to be interested in those carcasses but was sure intent on catching a mouse next to this creek. He walked up and down the creek for a good bit, pouncing occasionally as he was trying to find a meal. While I was watching he never did catch anything but he was photogenic.
I feel like one of my coworkers calling something cute but honestly, it’s the right word to describe this little guy. I was on my way back home from a fun day out and about in Madison Valley and I happened to see this Porcupine in a field just munching away. Spring finally arrived in Montana and the snow has melted away to reveal what’s growing in the ground. Well, I wasn’t equipped to photograph this Porcupine because all I had was the Nikon Z6 II and Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 which doesn’t have the range even when I switched to DX from FX. Now seeing that the ground was an ugly brown and wanting to show more of this animal’s world I tried to get lower and to be on a more level area with it. The results were…..
Nope, I’m out of here. Oh well, a brown butt is better than one stuck with quills. Since I haven’t photographed Porcupines very much I considered this a win.
It feels like Spring is around the corner with the bluebird days and warmer temps but I wouldn’t count winter out yet. Anyone who has lived in Montana for more than a year knows that we can get snow storms until June but I think the days of negative double digits are over. People aren’t the only ones right enjoying the long days of sunshine. All of the furry critters out there are spending their days warming themselves in the sun. This Mountain Cottontail spent the morning lounging in the warm morning sun after spending a good time cleaning its paws and face. Unfortunately, it was pretty bright out at the time and the range of light between the dark green background and those dead grasses in the foreground meant I had to underexpose to avoid a lot of bad highlights. This meant losing a lot of the detail in the fur along the rabbit’s back. Still, a lesson was learned and a morning of fun still had.
A good friend called me over one day to tell me about a new visitor he had at his ranch. Well, it’s not exactly a new visitor, this particular Meadowlark has strangely been hanging around all winter despite having some of the coldest temperatures in recent years. Naturally, he’s become one of the family. Of course, when I heard about him I had to see him for myself. Well, he’s become pretty accustomed to the ranch and meal worms so he tends to follow Mike around as he works his cattle. The Meadowlark wasn’t as used to me but it was a cold day so we put some worms out and waited. After a while, he finally approved of me and the 600f/4 on the tripod so he came close enough so I could get a couple of photographs.
As I mentioned last week I was enjoying using the Nikon Z6II and 24-120z lens while working with some patches of ice on the Madison River. Well, the ice wasn’t my only subject I was working on the river that day. Now I’ve seen lots of waterfowl on the water when I go out but I’ve never seen this many Goldeneye in the Beartrap Canyon before. It was a very warm almost spring day in February so maybe that’s why but I wasn’t complaining since they were somewhat cooperative. Being in a heavily trafficked area this flock of ducks was pretty workable from the bank but as you can tell I only had one lens so I made lemonade out of lemons and use the light in the background to be as much of the story as the ducks are as opposed to trying to get closeups of the Goldeneye. It’s like a wildlife landscape piece all rolled into one.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.
Springtime is such a fun time of the year. The dark dreariness of winter is coming to an end and new life has begun again. More sunshine, more colors, and more opportunities are bound. With the excitement and opportunities that come with spring, responsibility is also important. It’s to get sucked in with everything and forget to be mindful of the fragile state some of nature is in. Nesting birds, newborn critters, fields of wildflowers, are just a few examples but it’s important that if you are going to go photograph them then you do your homework and know what is safe for the subject.
They say the view from up top is pretty good but I doubt that’s what these three were thinking when they decided to take an afternoon nap on top of this null. Elk tend to sleep in covered areas but in the afternoons they’ll bed down in between meals in plain sight. With the wind howling that day I have no doubt that where they were positioned they could’ve easily detected any predator that might be in the area.
I had the chance of meeting Brutus many years ago and I still remember that sunny January day when he came out for a photoshoot. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, as you can see, he made a nice little hole to curl up in. Brutus has been a part of the Montana Grizzly Encounter for the last 19 years but sadly passed away last week. He was a joy to work with and be around and he will be missed by all that met him.