Not So Close

A male bighorn sheep stands on a boulder and grazes from a bush beside a river in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in July 2004

This is a wider shot of the bighorn sheep I posted a while ago, the telephoto shot made it look like I was rather close but not only was I a ways away beside the road, there was a river between us. He came down the cliff behind him to graze at the river’s edge then went back up the cliff. From my trip to Yellowstone in 2004.

The Forest Was Dead, the Land Was Not

A moose cow walks through a dead forest at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in July 2004

A moose cow walks through a dead forest at Yellowstone National Park. I find that pictures don’t properly convey just how large these creatures are. In this case I was standing at my car beside the road but in the Tetons I sometimes met them on the trails, I never had any close calls but the big bulls during the fall rut certainly demand your attention. I’m thankful for each time we met, it was always a special treat.

Unexpected Delight

A close-up of the orange and green colors in Mammoth Hot Springs in diffuse light beside the Beaver Ponds Nature Trail in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

On my first trips to Yellowstone I knew I’d love the animals but I was surprised by how much I came to love the hot springs. It was this little part of Mammoth Hot Springs, taken from the Beaver Ponds Trail, that not only spurred on a desire to photograph the springs but to look for what I call little landscapes but are more commonly called intimate landscapes, small scenes inside of larger ones. Thankfully on my first visit I photographed it both in the evening light and in the soft diffuse light after the sun dropped behind the hills (shown here), as when I went back in later years the mineral deposits had changed and this spot lost its color.

Yellowstone was a long drive from Portland so I only went every handful of years, it’s further away now and there’s so much of the Southwest I want to explore that I’m not sure when I’ll go back, but I’ll always treasure each of my visits there, I’ve never been anyplace like it. I used to tease myself that I should visit once and only bring a macro lens and take nothing but close-ups of all the things I could never see at home but of course with so much wildlife on display I never did it.

Kneeling, Standing

A yellow-bellied marmot stands near Yellowstone Lake, mostly obscured by the tall grasses of a meadow on the Storm Point Trail, taken in July 2004 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Fifteen years ago on a trip to Yellowstone, I found a colony of yellow-bellied marmots in rock formations on the Storm Point Trail. This marmot was standing to get a better look at its surroundings so I kneeled down to show the meadow between us with Yellowstone Lake beyond. I was a little nervous editing this picture for fear of a relapse, I have only just trained my brain to stop looking for non-existent marmots and pikas in the rock formations here in the Phoenix area!

And Who Might You Be?

A lesser sandhill crane stands in a meadow near the Beaver Ponds Loop Trail in Yellowstone National Park

I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I came across this crane in Yellowstone National Park in 2004. I was only aware of two species of crane in my country, the sandhill crane and the whooping crane. It looked like a sandhill apart from the brown coloring on its body, so I wondered if it might be a juvenile. Later research showed this to be a subspecies of sandhill, the lesser sandhill crane.

We’re moving to Arizona soon (we’re in Arizona at the moment, we found a house yesterday we’d like to rent), so I’m going to have a lot to learn as I explore my desert home. No matter how long I live here I’ll still come across identification puzzles, I still do even after being in Oregon for 21 years, a combination of my lack of skills and nature not always being so easily pinned down.