Otters at Play

Two river otters play in Bower Slough

At the dog park this morning two young dogs were playing when suddenly in their rough play a line was crossed and things got more serious. Their owners separated them and the aggression quickly dissipated and hopefully each dog made a little progress in their socialization. These two otters were part of a family group catching fish in Bower Slough, and thus were quite familiar with each other, but even so when one otter grabbed the other by the scruff of the neck I wondered if this playful move was a bridge too far. But as you can see the otter’s skin is loose with plenty of fat underneath and the victim took it all in stride.

At the End of the Trail

Our 2000 Subaru Outback parked at the trailhead of the Storm Point Trail in Yellowstone

I became intrigued with the Subaru Outback while in graduate school so when we moved to Oregon and were ready to replace my wife’s car, it was our first choice. It was my wife’s daily driver for fourteen years and I took it on all my hiking trips, near and far. It was always a welcome sight when I arrived back at the end of the trail, in this case the Storm Point Trail in Yellowstone.

Late in its life it got hit a few times, once by someone who ran a red light and twice by people who inexplicably plowed into the back of it. I suppose one sign of how much we loved it is not just that we drove it for so long, and not just that we replaced it with another Subaru, but that we replaced my Honda with a Subaru too.

We bought this model when it first came out and fell in love with the color, which had literally just arrived at the dealer (they hadn’t even had time to take the protective wrapping off). Apparently a lot of other people loved the color too so we ended up seeing them everywhere, including a few nearby in our neighborhood. There are still enough on the road that I frequently get a nice reminder of our dependable little wagon that I took to so many of my favorite places.

Shake It Off

Raindrops coat the back of a sooty grouse

Water drops coat the back of a sooty grouse on a rainy afternoon, but it has shaken most of the water from its head. I wish Canon would build teleconverters into all of its telephoto lenses like they did with their 200-400mm lens, as it would be very helpful on days like this. I was photographing multiple grouse who were moving all around me as I sat on the trail, sometimes walking right up to me as they fed, but I was also keeping my eye on a marmot that was feeding nearby. I would have preferred to switch my teleconverter in and out as my subjects moved about, but given the heavy rain I was hesitant to take the lens off the camera.

Pika in the Clouds

A pika sits on a rock in a talus field

I had been watching this pika for a while and decided to use the rocks of the talus field near me to blur the bottom of the frame and make it seem almost as though the pika was emerging from the clouds. Unfortunately I only had a moment to attempt the shot, trying to get my tripod positioned in the jumbled rock field at just the right height while sitting uncomfortably on the rocks, and I ended up blurring its ears a little more than I would like.

Nevertheless one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite creatures.