The Great Escape

As most of you know, it is not my nature to not (a double negative) comment on the world around me.  Just the same, we all need a little relief (escape) from time to time, and for today, let’s just talk about photography.

Wildlife photography, is not a cut and dry exercise. It is not just about a clear image that shows what an animal looks like, or capturing a photo of some great action or behavior. It can be about that, but it can be more.

The Bighorn Sheep rams you see below, were photographed at Wind Cave N.P. in South Dakota. There as well as Custer State Park, and The Badlands N.P.,  reside in South Dakota, and are great locations for the capturing of images of this species.

Two rams (three really) chowing down provided my pal Ron and I some nice opportunities. I tried to get down low for some shots, as to put us and future viewers, on the same level as they were.

Of course, at some point we all want to have a nice look at their faces.  I try to find naturally artful poses when I can. Sometimes I may crop at home as I did here, so there might be a rhythm in their actions.

Ultimately, the face and especially the eyes, will tell us as much, maybe more about a wild animal than will action and behavior.

Of course, as we visit them in their world, they must also navigate in ours.

It is often the case, that action, behavior, and “artfulness” all come together.

The image of a Ruddy Turnstone shorebird below, is an action shot. If a still image “implies” action, then it is an action shot. The bird is obviously stretching as countless birds an other critters do. Like us, they just need to stretch out every once in a while. That is behavior. To me, this pose is living art. A gift from the subject. Action, behavior, and art.

You thought I would not mention the fact that I cut off (photographically) the tip of the outstretched wing didn’t you?

Alas, we or at least I, am far from perfect. I made the decision years ago to share this image (but not market as an art print) with the world despite the missing wing tip.

Can we do everything right and still be wrong? The whole time I was photographing this wonderful Common Yellow-throat Warbler singing (action and behavior), I kept saying to myself, that background is going to ruin the picture. You have to stare at the bird, and become oblivious to the background in order to appreciate this photo. Now if I had the patience, which I do not, I could clone the background during the editing process into one simple tone, and then share. That’s way too much precision work for my nerves, although I can picture the results in my mind and it would be a very cool image.

So, take it or leave it, the image shows life as it is, not as I envisioned it artistically.
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Less is more. This female Red-winged Blackbird provided me with an opportunity for a simple, elegant background.  I prefer this picture to the previous one, despite the lack of music.

Recently on an interstate highway fairly near here, a young man saw a turtle attempting to cross that super highway. He pulled his car over and went to rescue it, and was hit by another car and killed. I love turtles!  He was much braver than I would have been, but his judgment was poor. He could have caused a crash that killed children. He had a kind and helpful nature, not great judgment.

In memory of his courage, I will finish today with some turtle images.

Painted Turtles



Mississippi Red-bellied Slider

Blanding’s Turtle


Common Snapping Turtles
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While turtles are legendary for their slow movements, I have made photos of them from as close as two feet, turned my back for five seconds, and it was gone.

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Let us finish today with a few sunrise images. While I loved creating both sunrise and sunset photos, it is the sunrise that celebrates the “new day”.  A rebirth, or better said, a chance to be born again.  There’s nothing more important than that.



I thank you for helping me to forget my/our troubles for at least a little while.

God Bless,

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2 Responses to The Great Escape

  1. Beautiful images! Especially love the sunrise picture with the boat.

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