2019—Majestic Bighorns

The week I spent in Nevada’s Great Basin with Desert Bighorn Sheep this past September made me realize that Bighorn Sheep are my favorite four-legged animals to photograph. Their tan coats blend into the rugged steep habitat in which they exist making it a challenge to find them standing or laying still among the crags and crevices. But once located, their behavior is a sight to behold and fun to photograph. They climb and descend without a stumble. Watching a band of Bighorn Sheep leaping nimbly from foot hold to foot hold as they come down a sheer cliff on their way to forage for food and water inspires awe. The arching curl of the ram’s horns makes an elegant display of strength and power. During the rut, the rams clash for dominance and the pick of the ewes for their harems. The sound of those huge horns crashing together echoes and reverberates through the mountains. Watching the young sheep cavorting gleefully for the sheer joy of it brings a smile. The young rams learn skills they’ll need as they mature.

This ram looks down cautiously. We spotted him from the highway. He was heading down the mountain toward a large water source across the road.

Nikon D5, 500mm PF.

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