Category Archives: Wildlife

Gearheart Elk


Took some time from dog training to take my brother out to the Oregon Coast. We were able to see some of the Gearheart Elk. We did not find them on the beach (which was the photo I was hoping for) but we were still happy with the time we got to observe them.

Take Off…From the Great White North

DSC_0026While by Watrous Saskatchewan, in the fall, I love to see the Sandhill Cranes. It is always a thrill to watch them hop and interact with each other. When I get to hear them call as they fly, I am filled with excitement. As they fly south with their stopovers, to eat and rest, they give us a chance to share their beauty.

The small things that mean one thing to some, can mean so much different to another. What signals winter on its way can also signal a new adventure.

Each day we work our dogs we get to see success and struggle. Each of our struggles can be like the signals of winter to the Cranes. We can take them, use them as an opportunity to train and learn; then share the beauty of working dogs and livestock with others that do not get to go on the journey with us (and some that do). After we train through the struggle, the same situation then becomes success, just like the Cranes migrating north, on the same path as they took south, signals spring.

The Throw Away

DSC_0039-EditSince it is the end of the year this is an appropriate photo. I was going through some shots thinking I should delete some. This is one that was not marked to process. I thought “That is one of my better shots of the Golden Crowned Kinglet.” It was set to be discarded…

It got me to thinking about New Year celebrations. It seems that people get very excited about a new start in the new year. All the bad of the last year gets washed away when the clock hits 12:00 midnight.

I think it is good to take time to evaluate how things are going, getting rid of all the things that are holding us back. When we go this it can be refreshing and we can start out renewed. It is important to not discard everything just because was difficult or not what we want. Those hard times along with the good times form us and make us who we are today.

The past is set, live in the present; that is what you have the power to change. When looking back give yourself permission to let go of the things that keep you from the present. Clean house but hold on to the things that make the present what it is and change the things you want to make better.

Maybe this New Year celebration is not such a bad thing after all…

In honor of New Years Eve: Happy New Year, enjoy the future because you have set up for it with the past.

The Big Picture

DSC_0361I have been thinking about the way I look at things lately. The thing I realize about myself is I am a detail person.

When I am working herding dogs I focus on each little detail. I notice all these little things that make the whole process work.

This makes it hard when I judge because I am always feeling the moments and do not sit back and look at the whole picture. This sometimes makes people not sure how to take me and consider me harsh or judgmental. I do feel that it makes me more consistent and fair but sometimes the scores are not as high as some may like.

As a competitor it is to my advantage since viewing the little details help me deal with the moments more effectively. It does however make me notice the things I did not like about my run and take them more personally. After a run, even if I know it is a good run, I will review in my mind everything that I did wrong. Often I can not talk to people about the run until I have processed the little details and can put the whole thing into perspective in my mind.

As a photographer I find that I like to crop tight and emphasis a single or small number of details. I work to get as close to a subject as I can so I can capture these little details. I have found that I will delete work if I am not close enough because the photo will not let me focus on the little details.

In both aspects I am just beginning to be able to see how all the little details, when put together, are great and fascinating. The details can be the picture or the process but it is only one of the stories that can be told

When we look at things only on a whole or as only a detail we are missing out. If we focus on the whole we can be caught accepting subpar work because it told the story. If we focus on the details we can become so focused that we forget the reason for the story.

One day I am hoping that I will notice the details, both good and bad, but do not sacrifice the whole picture because I get too focused. I also hope that as I learn to see the whole that I do not forget the details. I think, when we can combine both the details and the whole picture, we can truly become good at what we do.

Spruce Grouse Chick

Spruce Grouse ChickWhile visiting in Alberta, I went with my brother up to Ram Falls. On the way home we saw a Spruce Grouse with a clutch of chicks. We stopped to photograph them for a little bit.

The Hen would try to lead us off while the chicks moved through the brush. She would then circle back calling. She flew up into a tree and the chicks eventually flew into the tree next to her.

It was interesting to see how well the chicks could hide. While photographing one all of a sudden there would be another in the tree, then another. All the chicks ended up in one tree while the hen was in the tree next to them. While photographing the hen she would move in the tree but would face the tree with the chicks when she settled.

Spotted Towhee

DSC_0062Was out the other night just at dusk watching a Spotted Towhee catch insects. Here are a couple crops of the same photo as it came to rest in one of the Christmas trees.

I tend to prefer the closer study. I find the red eye of the Spotted Towhee fascinating.DSC_0062-2

More often I see these birds on the ground or within the branches under cover. It was enjoyable to watch this one out in the open and then not going to cover when it caught it’s insect.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

DSC_0125_PerfectlyClearA Yellow-bellied Marmot up at Ya Ha Tinda Ranch in Alberta. It is interesting watching the social interactions of Marmots. I enjoy watching their behaviors but I also find their appearance appealing. I like their hair colors and how they combine.

This one was photographed in early spring so likely not long out of hibernation. There were not a lot of others visible that day. My Dad was up there the other week and said there was a bunch of them around now.

The Great Grey

DSC_0185-2_PerfectlyClearThis was the first that I have been able to photograph a Great Grey Owl. This Owl was photographed in Water Valley Alberta. There was a Red-winged Blackbird that was pestering the owl so I did not get a lot of time to get different shots.

I find it interesting to watch the interaction between species. In this case the Blackbird kept screaming at the owl with the owl only looking up at it. In frustration the Blackbird finally flew down and hit the owl in the side. There was an audible thump, the Blackbird flew back to its perch and the owl flew away.DSC_0192_PerfectlyClearThe light was low so I got the motion blur of the happenings just after the Blackbird had hit the owl.