At Cape Saint Mary’s in Newfoundland, we watched Northern Gannets soaring above the waves in a seemingly endless ballet in the air. At times, we wondered if they did it for the sheer joy of soaring over the Atlantic. The steep cliffs, the crashing waves, the blue waters—what beauty to behold beneath their wings.
Northern Gannets in Newfoundland nest and roost on small crowded rock ledges that jut from cliffs and sea stacks in the Atlantic Ocean. This Northern Gannet seems to be quite pleased to be settled down on its little piece of the rock. It appears to be prime real estate with no other birds crowding close.
This past April, Moose Peterson invited me to join him and his wife Sharon at a fly-in for antique aircraft being held at an airfield near my home. I had never done any aviation photography and the experience was invigorating. I can see how easy it is to get hooked on aviation photography. The airfield had recently added a grass landing strip so the experience felt all the more authentic as the brightly colored biplanes and other flying antiques landed and took off on the grassy strip. I was able to photograph these airplanes as I stood just a few feet away from them on the edge of the airstrip. What a thrill. This is a 1944 Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing biplane.
In the fall, maples turn glorious bright reds, oranges, and yellows. But in order for their leaves to turn those gorgeous hues, the weather needs to cooperate. The weather conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains in mid October were dry and warm, conditions that kept the maple leaves from turning color. It looked like summer rather than fall while we were there. This maple has a few brown leaves and spots but is mostly bright green even though it was mid October and in other years it would probably be orange or red by this time. I think this tree is a Sugar Maple but it could be a Norway Maple and since my skills as an arborist are extremely limited, I could be very wrong. I was attracted to this tree because of its horizontal layers that seem to emerge from the forest and distinguish it even though it is not yet wearing its autumn coat.
We visited Yellowstone National Park last week hoping to see wolves but in the days I was there, we heard wolves, but did not see them. We did see Coyotes in their lush winter coats. I loved watching the coyotes hunt for voles under the snow. They either see or smell their prey, home in on it with an intensity, then, jump, jump, pounce. More often than not, they emerge from the snowbank with their target clenched in their jaws with snow covering their faces. This Coyote is starting to search for its next meal. The snow still on its snout and forehead from plunging into the snow after its prey is still prominent on its face.
When I visited the Great Smoky Mountains a couple of weeks ago, fall foliage was not at its peak and there were few red leaves in the park. One afternoon, we experimented with using a polarizing filter to remove reflections from water, so that the water surface disappeared. One of the few red leaves I saw that day was submerged in several inches of water at the edge of a stream. The leaf was barely visible at first because the sky reflecting on the water’s surface obscured it. Using a polarizer to remove the reflection caused the red leaf to suddenly “pop” and become visible despite being submerged.
Male Pronghorns have distinctive black horns that, when viewed from the front, sometimes form a heart shape. This curve of this buck’s horns isn’t quite heart-shaped but his horns are quite distinctive. Photographed just inside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, MT. Nikon D5, 500mm PF.
It was cold as the sun rose over the Gallatin Range. We stood overlooking the Yellowstone River off Highway 89 on the way to the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and watched the brilliant reds color the clouds.
What a marvelous week I just spent in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Winter storms blanketed the area with snow and the temperatures dropped to the single digits and even below zero. One day, we were fortunate to watch as a band of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep made their way down a slope, across the road, and down to the Yellowstone River to drink. They quickly acclimated to our presence and we were able to approach them without scaring them away. This ram posed for quite a while on the edge of the road. Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.
The Rocky Mountain Elk has the largest antlers of all of the elk subspecies according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This Rocky Mountain bull shows off his huge set of antlers. We saw him a few times in Yellowstone National Park last week. It is hunting season now in Montana and we saw hunters each day on our way into the park. Hunting is prohibited inside the boundaries of Yellowstone Nzational Park but hunting is allowed on National forest lands near the park boundaries. As long as this magnificent animal stays within the park boundaries, we might see him next visit.