July 5, 2012
Both the Yosemite Safari on May 30th as well as the two
back-to-back safaris to Yellowstone were awesome. The water levels in
Yosemite were as expected and allowed us to shoot incredible images, the park
was lush green. Yellowstone is always amazing. All the usual cast of
characters made themselves subjects at one time or another, though we did
photograph a short-tailed weasel (ermine) hunting in a Uinta Ground Squirrel
colony at the Soda Butte Picnic Site. That was my first opportunity to
photograph an ermine, though I have seen them before, just no photos.
For the third (and final) year running we photographed the quad grizzly sow with
her surviving two cubs on Swan Flats. It came on the last day of the two
safaris and the bears came so close to us that for the first time we were forced
back into our vehicles, with one cub standing up against a car with its paws
(and claws) on the hood. The cub tore apart the bear warning sign, the
image is featured at the bottom of my website homepage. Baby pronghorn
near the Gardiner Gate provided another unique opportunity to photograph these
fawns at close range both with and without their mother.
As usual, the bighorn lambs on the cliffs above the Gardiner River between
Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs put on a show every late afternoon.
Another unique encounter were the mallard ducklings in a small pond right off
the park highway on the Blacktail Plateau. We went back three times and
each time got great shots of them.
The lower hills and mountains in California are golden brown now, but the tops
of our national parks are green and still covered with flowers. Upcoming
safaris to Sequoia should provide great wildflowers and landscape views, and so
if you feel depressed by the valley heat come up to the top of Sequoia National
Park and Sequoia National Forest to shoot in the cool of the high mountains.
May 16, 2012
It's only a couple weeks now until the
beginning of my annual wildlife photo safari to Yellowstone. While the
temps are rising into the low 90's here in Tulare, mornings in Yellowstone will
be very cool, followed by cool to moderate temps during the day. There
will be the tangy smell of sagebrush, the occasional jolt of sulfur gas from a
passing thermal area, and the clean smell of pine - all creating a bouquet of
Yellowstone smells. While I don't go for the fragrance, what a great side
benefit to the trip.
I will have a blog article out soon on the Morongo Valley safaris I did over the
past two weeks. Wow. I've put a lot of great images in an album on
Facebook. This safari will be coming back every year for those of you that
love photographing birds like I do. Like diving in the Olympics, there is
a high degree of difficulty photographing small birds. They never land
where you want them to, they never stay for more than a few seconds, and many
times they won't even look in your direction. But when the stars align
like they did this year at Morongo Valley (and what if this was an average year?
it could be even better!) the photography can be incredible. I've shot
incredible birding hot spots before, like Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico,
Farmington Bay WMA in Utah, Pinnacles NM in California, the Cape Canaveral Area
of Florida, the Saguaro Desert near Tucson, Arizona, and the South Texas
mesquite country around Laredo, Tx. Morongo Valley is right there with the
best of them.
I've begun blogging about various photography subjects for Black Star Rising,
which in times past was the main stock agency for Life Magazine. At the
bottom of my homepage you will find links to the first two articles. I've
self published my first book on Wildlife Photography (A Wildlife Photographer in
the American West) and have another coming out on Landscape Photography
locations. I'm planning on taking these two books, along with a text, to
publishers in the hopes of putting out a great book on photography in the
American West. This is where I live and shoot, these are the animals and
locations I know best. My fingers are crossed.
The valleys of California are beginning to brown up, the grass getting long
enough to hide hunting bobcats. Last year my Yosemite Waterfalls safari
was inundated with high water and difficult conditions, but this year the water
run-off is a little lower than normal and should provide tremendous photo
opportunities. Thanks to all of you that read the blogs and check out the
website, go on the safaris, and attend the seminars. I hope I've helped
you move along the never-ending learning curve that photography is. Get
out and chase..... BRP
© 2012 Brent
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