I followed the hunter around all morning. It was cold and wet. We’d walk for a short distance, stop, and then listen. Hear nothing and start over. This went on. Walk. Stop. Listen. Walk. Stop. Listen.
Coming over a low rise the hunter held up his hand. I froze. He slowly and gracefully knelt. He rested his left elbow on his knee and raised the rifle’s scope to his eye. A brief moment. I could feel my heart beating.
The blast from the gun reverberated throughout my body. I’d never felt such a force in my life. It’s funny, I don’t remember the sound. Only how the shock wave felt.
We walked down the hill to where the deer lay. My hands trembled as I worked the camera. I laughed that nervous laugh you have after a major adrenaline rush. As he began field-dressing the deer, the hunter laughed, too. I could tell he was proud.
It took him about fifteen minutes to finish the job. All that was left was to get the carcass up the hill and back to the truck.
The long, damp morning was a success … for the hunter. Not so much the deer.
I’m very proud to present, after many years of documentation and exploration, the Potomac River Gorge book. A real, actual, physical book to sit comfortably on your couch with while gently paging through the imagery of one of the gems of our National Park Service.
You can click on the link below to see a preview. Then click on the second link to go to the Blurb Bookstore and pick one up for yourself… or for someone you love. Or both!
I was somewhere in the Florida Keys. It was mid-afternoon and hot as hell with harsh, ugly light. But the White Ibis is such a cool looking creature there was no way I could resist. It may appear as if it is looking for a good spot to dig up a few crustaceans for lunch, but in actuality it was just seeking shade. Which is what smart creatures normally do.
White Ibis, Florida Keys.
Really smart creatures seek shade that also has beer!
According to the National Parks Conservation Association, if congress and the President fail to come to an agreement by January more than 200 million dollars will be cut from an already deflated NPS budget. This will mean various closures throughout the system. It will mean layoffs and work stoppages. As many as 9,000 Rangers could be let go. Park hours will be cut and some parks will be shut completely. The Parks budget today is 15% less than it was ten years ago. Cutting it drastically further would have devastating impacts on the entire system. Not to mention on the millions who love and visit regularly these national treasures.
Please take some time and call your congressional representatives and Senators… or at least visit the NPCA website and sign their petition. You can find it here: Take Action
A bull elk on a snowy morning in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Years of exploration and documentation of one of the little known gems in our National Park Service will soon be available in book form. Stay tuned for more details about how and when it’ll be available.
The days are shorter and the shadows longer. The maples and oaks have shed their leaves and stand naked in the wind.
And by now this ruby-throated hummingbird, who visits my backyard each spring has moved on. She is on her way to winter feeding grounds somewhere in Central America. A monumental journey for such a tiny creature. And if that feat isn’t impressive enough, consider that this bird weighing a mere 3.8 grams has to cross the Gulf of Mexico – a non-stop, 500 mile flight from the Florida panhandle to the Yucatan Peninsula. (And do it again on the return trip!)
The hope, of course, is that the trip is not for nothing. That her winter home is still there when she arrives. That habitat loss is kept to a minimum… or halted completely. Or better still, reversed! One can hope.
Of course, my personal hope is that I am lucky enough to photograph her again next Spring.
I was on the Virginia shore of the Potomac River shooting kayakers in the falls when my peripheral vision spied this heron as it glided down. With a 6 foot wing span and gangly legs it landed awkwardly on the rocks of the Maryland side. The bird then began to jump from boulder to boulder looking for a decent place to fish. I waited.
As you might notice the grey coloring of a great blue heron’s plumage camouflages it well against these rocks. Not an ideal background. Yet, this one hopped again and landed for just a moment in the spot you see here. I couldn’t have asked for more. I shot.
It’s not often your subjects in the wild place themselves in such choice spots. Be ready when they do.