Wildlife Photography

Long and Lean Katmai Wolf

Long and Lean, Katmai National Park, Alaska
Wolves are notoriously wary of people. That’s why this encounter is so unique. In the vast wilderness, this wolf was trotting along the opposite side of a creek as I headed back to camp at the end of the day. She seemed curious. I stopped and knelt down to make myself smaller and less imposing. She crossed the creek and warily approached. We regarded each other at a close distance, each trusting the other, for just a couple of minutes before she continued on into the trees.

Dreaming Fox

Dreaming Fox, Louisiana
This vixen looks so at peace that I feel my body relax every time I look at her. I love the way her thick, soft, golden coat contrasts with the rough bark and sharp palms.  This image is a best-seller.

Young Sea Otter

Curious Otter, Cook Inlet, Alaska
This lone male otter lives around Puffin Island.  He’s been there for years. He greets the boats that come to see the puffins, peregrines, eagles and auklets.  He bobbed along like this right around the bow of our boat when we arrived and then disappeared.  Our captain said he had a lady friend one season, but she didn’t stick around.  Sea otters look so cuddly, I can’t resist them!

Jabba

Jabba, South Dakota
Around Badlands National Park the prairie dogs own the terrain.  They are so common that their natural predator, the black-footed ferret, has been reintroduced to try to attain a healthy population.  Just outside the park, a roadside establishment sells bags of peanuts for tourists to feed these habituated, wild prairie dogs.  when people approach they come running.  They will even tentatively take the food from people’s hands.   I hope this practice is no longer in favor, although I did capture this image of a content, well-fed prairie dog there.

Wild Cat

Bobcat, Point Reyes National Seashore

I went to Point Reyes specifically to photograph bobcats.  Wild cats in North America are notoriously difficult to find, let alone photograph. I’d heard this was the best place in the US for bobcats.  It took two days to spot the first one – far off in the mid-day glare of the sun.  You’d recognize those images I have as a bobcat, but no one would hang them on their wall.  Later that day, in the warm afternoon light I spent a fair amount of time with this tolerant, relaxed, relatively close big guy.  I was ecstatic!  This hangs on my wall.

Stalking

Stalking, Yellowstone National Park
A “spring” wolf watching trip to Yellowstone provided a daily opportunity to watch this yearling wolf at a winter-kill bison carcass exceptionally close to the road. It’s a special, rare treat to be able to watch a wild wolf this close.  They prefer to keep miles between us, but food is a powerful motivator.  A family of coyotes playfully sparred with and harassed this lone wolf so they could get a share of the bison, too.  His bright gold eyes contrast with his dark grizzly coat as he stalks the coyotes who are feeding on “his” meal.

Snake River Beaver

Snake River Beaver, Moose, Wyoming
I was on a float trip when I saw this guy along the shore, sitting on his tail, contemplating life in the evening light.  There’s so much character in this ordinary guy!

Town Moose

Town Moose, Homer, Alaska
Moose are comical creatures of mismatched parts. Their long, gangly legs support a hefty, barrel-shaped body. Their ears are half the size of the faces, rotating like radar dishes atop their heads. Their necks are as thick as their skinny rumps and their slender horse-like heads end in a wide, bulbous protrusion of a nose and almost prehensile lips.  I’ve never seen anything finer.


Spring Velvet

Spring Velvet, Estes Park, Colorado
Resting against a rubbed ponderosa pine, this big elk is lazing away a hot June day in the shade. He is along a hiking trail just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. I photographed him from the other side of the meadow and gave him a wide berth. The velvet on his rack is soft and thick protecting his growing antlers. Come fall, the elk will rub the devitalized velvet off to reveal impressive alabaster tines suitable for wooing and sparring.

Sheer Cliff Walkers

Sheer Cliff Walkers, Glacier National Park
Mountain goats have specialized feet that grip these rocky slopes like magnets allowing them to move effortlessly over this steep, rugged terrain.  They are amazing to watch as they move with careless ease.

Pronghorn Ewe

Pronghorn Ewe, Custer State Park, South Dakota
Pronghorns are so exotic-looking they seem more likely to be found in Africa than on North American plains.  Those dark, mascaraed eyes get me every time.

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