Yesterday, I went out hiking for the first time in two and a half weeks. Far too long, but well worth the wait. On the way home, I came across an open field where a big group of deer were hanging out. The females were running around teasing the males, and the males were sparring. It was great fun to watch, and a great way to get me back into the hiking mood!
Two weeks ago Kelly and I went to Safari West in Santa Rosa, CA. It was a belated birthday gift for me from both her and her parents. We spent the first night in Calistoga, CA at a natural hot springs resort. It was very nice to wake up early and jump in a 100 degree pool. Safari West was awesome! We spent the day looking at all the animals on our jeep ride through the park. They had many different types of antelope, monkeys, and an extensive variety of birds. The night was spent in their canvas tent cabins with the sounds of cranes and other birds in the backdrop. I’m not a very big fan of zoo shots, but I think I got a few good ones in. If you are in the Santa Rosa area, I suggest you stop by for a nice jeep tour, and spend the night if you have some time.
Last weekend my buddy Ian and I went to Point Reyes to check out the elk during rutting season, and go camping. When we arrived on the Point Reyes Peninsula, we came across a lot of cows, a juvenile Coopers hawk, and finally, a couple of buck elk. Unfortunately, they were too far away to get a good picture of and not in an accessible area. After admiring the animals from a distance our excitement kept us driving along, to hopefully cut them off (it looked as though they were heading for the road ahead). As we drove along, Ian noticed a female run across the back of our vehicle. We stopped and I snapped a couple of bad shots. We then looked to the left and saw she was running towards her herd. Again they were too far, although I was able to get a photo of the herd (pictured above) next to the ocean. We arrived at the parking area and hiked along, looking for elk in good light to get some photos of. We finally came across three young bucks with antlers not big enough to be intimidating to the mature males. As we began walking back to our vehicle a large buck stood near the trail along with his harem of females. We spent around an hour with the heard, snapping away under a falling sun, giving us good light. The photo above is the seven point buck bugling. It was both exciting and intimidating photographing such an amazing animal. Every once in a while he would turn towards me, and I would try to make myself look as non threatening as possible. Luckily both Ian and I were able to get close enough without getting trampled. That night we slept under stars and woke up constantly, to the beautiful sound of coyotes yipping and yapping away.
Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to take some photos of my lovely girlfriend and our friend, the most talented Natalie. I am trying to break into the world of portrait photography and took a few solo pictures with Natalie as well. Hope you all enjoy!
I finally found a fox! Ever since I got into nature photography, I have been searching for foxes. Last weekend I took a walk through Baylands, Palo Alto, CA, and came across a couple of foxes, but they were to quick for me to shoot.
Yesterday I went back to Baylands, but to another spot where I have some friends who had recently seen a fox. I walked around for a few hours with no fox (but I did get some nice shots of a moth and egret). I was taking my last stroll back and forth to try to see the fox and then like magic, the little guy came out of the bushes and right up to me. I was able to get a few good shots of him before he got tired of me and left. I decided to stay a little longer and kept walking around. Again I was planning on leaving, but decided to walk back to where I saw the fox.
There he was again, sitting, waiting for me. He was so calm and stayed with me for twenty minutes (enough time for me to almost fill my 32gb sd card). It was fun and exciting finally to see and capture the illusive fox with my camera.
Even though it was a fantastic experience I can’t help but worry for the young fox. Why is he so tame, and let me get so close? The area where I saw the fox has a decent amount of foot traffic, and I cant help but wonder if people are putting this fox at risk by feeding it? It’s great to have such an amazing encounter with such a beautiful animal, but hopefully our interactions aren’t making the fox dependent on us.
To see all the photos I took of this little grey fox, visit myflickr page.
For the past five months I have not seen a single coyote while out on my hikes. Not only is it frustrating, unable to see one of my favorite wild animals, but also a bit odd given the time of year. Coyotes typically make a den for their pups around the months of April - June. When the pups are born, coyotes become more active as they have to find more food to feed their pups. This means I should have been seeing coyotes in abundance every time I have gone out hiking, but unfortunately this has not been the case. Even though I enjoy hiking very much in different natural environments, an emptiness due to the lack of coyotes has been building up inside of me.
Thankfully, just when I thought all was lost and coyotes would forever avoid me, I came across a young male today In Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, CA (above photo). I was heading back to my car defeated again, when a young male popped out in front of me. He didn’t stick around too long but I walked to where I thought he would emerge again. Low and behold, there he was. I watched him for a little while as he made his way up the recently burned hills and finally out of sight.
Unfortunately it looks as though the young male might have mange. Mange is a potentially deadly skin infection caused by mites. Although Mange seems to be becoming more common in Bay Area wildlife, this is the first coyote I have seen with the parasite. In the photo, you can see he has patchy fur on his face which is a sign of mange in this little guy.
I then proceeded back to my car when I heard a ground squirrel let out a warning call. I turned around and looked at the squirrel in the distance. Could I have triggered the warning? For some reason I didn’t think I was the cause for alarm, so I stood and watched for movement of another possible predator. On the corner of my eye I spotted yet another coyote. A female with a beautiful summer coat (below photo). Unfortunately she didn’t stick around for quite so long and quickly disappeared into the coyote brush. What a great feeling it is to see my favorite local predators after all these months without them. Maybe it’s possible the coyotes have had a late year, and are just now begging to feed their young, but who knows? I’m excited and hopeful that I will begin to see the coyotes a lot more often like I used to throughout the past year.
Yesterday, I went for a bike ride around San Francisco. I spotted these photographers on California St. taking photos of the cable cars on the steep hills. I took a shot of them from the sidewalk, but the shots weren’t coming out like I was hoping. I quickly jumped in front of the group and took a couple shots. I am much happier with this end result. It’s always fun photographing the photographers.