One last “top shots” video recapping my 2020 photo year. Today, I look back at some of the mammals that I photographed. From the tiny American pika to the massive moose, I was fortunate to spend time with some pretty amazing creatures. Two new animals that I had never photographed were highlights including a suburban bobcat family and the wild #horses of Sand Wash Basin. All images taken here in Colorado.
A throwback to the end of August and a nice image for Moose Monday.
Camping in the Colorado high country at one of our favorite spots, I ventured out before sunrise hoping to see these massive denizens of the forest. The walk was quiet and before long, light from the rising sun, filtered heavily by smoke from wildfires, cast an orange glow on the terrain.
Searching with my lens through tall willows, I spotted what I came for and not just one, but three bull moose. For the next two hours I photographed them as they lazily grazed, ignoring the attention of the camera. The soft, side-lighting on this guy makes for a nice portrait.
A throwback to the middle of June and a real cutie for Moose Monday that I haven’t shared before.
This little calf was probably only a couple of weeks old and sticking really close to mom and in the shadows for most of the morning I was watching them. The calf gradually got a bit brave and wandered a short distance, just enough to stand alone and, best of all, stepping right into some sunlight that was streaming through the forest trees. I only managed a few captures before it went dutifully back to its mom’s side and then the two wandered off for some privacy.
This was taken in the Kawuneeche Valley of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. That area was hit pretty hard by the East Troublesome Fire that started on October 14th and exploded to cover 193,812 acres in less than two weeks. The blaze was just declared contained last week and I am concerned about what I will find when I return to the area. Undoubtedly the landscape will look far different than what it looked like when I took this picture.
Generally, in wildlife photography you really want to avoid “butt shots” as the derriere can be quite distracting and take the focus of the image to less desirable parts of the critter. I of course am rarely one to follow rules so here you go. 😀
This big fellow was moving from one area to another, crossing a road. As he did, he stopped halfway and gave a look back, striking quite a pose, kinda like a body builder. It isn’t an ideal pose but it does do a nice job of showing off the size of these massive forest denizens.
A nice close-up of this guy for Moose Monday. A lot of folks don’t fully appreciate how dangerous these big creatures of the forest can be. They may seem like slow and lumbering beasts but they can move extraordinarily fast when they want and are highly unpredictable.
During the rut, the males have hormones raging and are very irritable. Females, like any good mother, will not hesitate to protect their young. You certainly do not want to find yourself in a situation where an 800-pound moose is trying to stomp you!
As for this fellow, he was lazily grazing on willows in the Colorado high country early last month. While it is a close-up, I maintained a respectful distance, have a powerful zoom lens and the image is cropped a good bit.
My favorite high-country flower and one of my favorite forms of wildlife for Moose Monday.
Taken early last month on a photo outing with my daughter. We left camp as the sun was rising and headed to a usual hot spot of moose activity nearby. Much to our disappointment, not one moose was around.
Pressing on along a very rough Forest Service road, we finally had success – two bulls grazing in an area that had been logged due to pine beetle kill. They paid us little attention as they grazed on the grasses and ate some fireweed.
After a while, it was time to start working our way back down the mountain and then we found even more of the forest’s biggest residents. In the end, the morning tally came in at nine moose – five bulls, three cows and one yearling.
Taken in Arapaho National Forest, #Colorado.
Well, this is not a situation that you are taught how to handle in driver’s education. I think if it were me, I would certainly let the big boy cross ahead of me, even if there is no crosswalk. 😀
I spent over an hour and a half with this handsome young fellow and his buddy last month in what was one of the most fun moose encounters I have had this year. I had initially spotted them a few hundred yards off the road so I hiked in to get within photo range (while maintaining a respectful distance). They slowly ate their way back toward the road then headed off into the forest once the morning temperatures started to climb.
Taken in one of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s awesome state parks.
When a big guy like this moves in to enjoy a picnic of his own, he gets what he wants. 😉
My wife and I went for a long walk / hike last weekend while camped in the Colorado high country. We were moving at a pretty quick pace as rain was threatening and we didn’t want to get caught in it. About halfway through, we came across this handsome fellow as he had decided a picnic area was a nice spot for his own meal.
Rain or not, I had to take the time to snap a few pics. I normally would prefer not to have the “hand of man” in the background with that picnic table being seen but kind of thought it added an amusing element.
Enjoy your Moose Monday!
The change of seasons was in the air and the foliage was showing some signs of changing color. Of course at 10,500 feet it is always quite a bit cooler than lower elevations but this past Saturday there was certainly a bit of bite to the temperature of 42 degrees.
This handsome fellow and his buddies were grazing on the willow, enjoying the relative quiet while myself and a few other photographers watched from a distance.
The light from sunrise was filtered by thin clouds casting an even light on everything and making for a pleasant, subdued scene. This king of the forest looked absolutely gorgeous as he looked toward the sun.
Taken in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area of Colorado.
We had a very fun weekend with these kings of the forest and that provides some fresh photos for Moose Monday.
Three big bulls were the highlight of Saturday morning as we watched them lazily graze through the willows. Surprisingly they haven’t started scraping off that velvet yet but that will happen very soon. Here, one of the bulls was enjoying his breakfast but my only view of him was through a small opening in the bushes.
I kind of liked the framing around his face and despite only seeing a small portion of this huge creature, you still maintain a sense of his size and can’t help but feel a bit intimidated. Luckily I was able to capture a crazy amount of detail as well despite being a safe distance away.