While out photographing another set for my "Into Nature" series, we saw a herd of deer. Several does, two bucks, and a fawn. However, I wasn't out with the intention of photographing wildlife so I photographed the deer in the landscape, instead of closeup.
If you look closely at this one, there's a fawn or doe on the right watching the two bucks rut.
Fall colors are starting to tip the leaves in Michigan.
While photographing this scene, a river otter swam and fished in and out of the scene. I enjoyed watching his activity.
With the morning dew glistening on the foliage and soaking through pants and shoes,
With the fog rising off the marsh and cool land,
the sun rises
beams spreading through the branches
and illuminating the land.
When I saw the highlights of morning light on this gorgeous purple fringed marsh grass, I had to photograph it. There is so much beauty in wild spaces, from the smallest details to the vast landscapes awash in beautiful light. I enjoy hiking through these spaces, but I also love sitting and listening to the osprey calls as they fish and feed their young, the rustling of leaves and cracking of twigs and a doe and her two fawns emerge from the woods, and the cry of an eagle in the distance. Observing, taking in the moment, is the best stress relief.
Humankind is a parasite on this earth.
I know it's a harsh statement, but this comes from a huge disappointment. Many of you know I love hiking, nature, wildlife. While so many love images of the trees arching over a road, others recklessly clear cut the trees. It takes years for the trees to create that lovely arch and only moments for humans to destroy it. One of my favorite roads that used to have exactly that is now gone, cut down by developers.
Additionally, while hiking, I found several areas where vandals spray painted trees and left litter.
A recent case of vandals in our parks doing larger destruction than litter: Vandal's Destroy Rock Formation at Oregon State Park.
This year, there were numerous examples of vandalism, trespassing, and disregard in National Parks.
I know that not all humans are so careless and selfish. There are many who are aware and try to conserve. But sadly, too many are destroying natural resources, taking more and more than they need, or just selfishly destroying things for their own thrill or social media "fame."
So my questions are:
Why do we need to demolish an entire forest to build strip malls when 10 or 20 miles away, there are empty strip malls and building that would work perfectly well?
And why is social media and a few moments of a thrill worth destroying something that took more years than humans were on earth in order to form?
This is exactly why I do not want GPS in my camera. I will not tag or identify locations where I photograph. While many wouldn't damage and just want to enjoy, it just takes a handful to ruin a spectacular place. I will not take the risk of being responsible for leading a destructive person to my favorite places.
While on a hike, I discovered this great marsh and knew I had to come back for a sunrise session. I'm glad I did. Sunrise transformed this verdant area to a glowing fantasy world, one that you can't help but explore.
On this lovely Summer morning, I saw the osprey parents fishing and bringing food back to their offspring. I would guess the offspring have fledged, but they still rely on mom and dad to feed them.
The Eagles, on the other hand, seem to have remained in the area, but left the nest. I, unfortunately, did not get to see them this morning.
Also, while hiking at sunrise, I spotted a mother deer with her TWO fawns. I've only seen one fawn with a doe, never two. So this was a real treat. I did not raise my camera to photograph them as we were too close to each other and I didn't want to startle her with sudden movement. Sometimes, when out in nature, you have to just enjoy it and let the image pass.
Right after my trip to photograph the wolves, I felt lost. I had been looking forward to photographing wolves for so long: the anticipation built, the time arrived, the experience was overwhelmingly thrilling, and then there I was back home with no wonderful animal experience in my future. The wolf experience made me realize that I need to re-work wild animals and domestic animals into my photographic journey. I started, many years ago, as a nature and macro photographer. I never realized how much I missed it until I photographed the wolves. So, I planned another trip. This one within Michigan to keep the trip to a day.
Since I feel strongly about the importance of wildlife in this world, I always try to bring awareness about the various animals through my photography and through the groups I choose to support.
So I made a trek to this wonderful organization who rehabilitates injured animals and educates children and groups on wildlife. They strive to rehabilitate the injured so that they can be released back into the wild. However, there are some cases where the animals would never survive in the wild with their injuries. Many are physical wounds that never heal right, but another kind of injury is imprinting. When a human takes a wild animal in and keeps it for too long, it becomes too comfortable with humans and having its food brought to it. So while the injuries may not be physical, they are behavioral.
While out photographing a few of the animals, I tried very hard to capture their personalities. Wildlife takes a lot of patience. I'm not a "spray and pray" photographer. I tend to watch the animal's behavior, plan and frame up my composition, and then wait for the animal to do something within their personality.
Note: I know I have two images of the Opossum in the gallery. The first image follows the "rules." But, I loved how the second one, while breaking the rules, really showcased the opossum's personality.
This morning, I woke before 4 AM to drive an hour away and meet a photographer friend. We planned to shoot sunrise and the lovely light an hour before it. Well, having never been to the park before and having an address for the park that took me elsewhere, I finally met with my friend just in time for sunrise (I missed the hour before). After about 10 shots at most, the skies opened up and it poured.
The things photographers do to get the best image...
At least I'll have a funny photography story to tell.
Oh, and I did get the image.
Pretty much most of my life I've wanted to photograph wolves. Wolves are difficult to find in the wild. They are more scared of us than we are of them. So, when it came to photographing wolves, I wanted to find a group who is dedicated to wolf conservation and preservation. There are a few groups who have wolf/dog hybrids and there are a few groups who use their wolves and wolf/dogs for profit, not in the interest of conservation.
So, I carefully researched and found a group truly dedicated to wolf conservation and study. They staff a behaviorist, a biologist, a veterinarian, etc. They donate pups to like minded conservation groups and zoos. And they bring in new pups so as not to have in-breeding among their pack. This is a group who is truly looking out for the best interest of the wolves. This is a group I want to support.
All the wolves at the preserve are grey wolves. Grey wolves colors vary, but he most common is the the grey coat you see in most images. However, their coats can be cream and reddish hues, as well.
The smallest wolf was just under 100 lbs. Their paws were as big as my hand and their heads came up to about chest level on me. I'm 5 foot tall (to give you perspective). For once in my life, it was good to be short. The behaviorist told me that wolves like short people. I think the wolves and I bonded because three of them kissed my face and one of the girls stuck her nose in my eye. While these wolves are used to people, they are still wild animals and I respected that. I never put myself in a submissive position or in a position of challenge. I remained aware of their behavior and when they started to rally, I removed myself from any possible dangerous position.
See, the key to understanding animals is to understand their behavior. We should not change them, but respect the way they communicate and change our behavior to accommodate their instincts. A lot of fear is based on the lack of knowledge. Wolves are not a threat to people. People are a threat to wolves.
In addition to wolves, they had foxes who had been kept as pets, then abandoned. Once domesticated, these animals can't be released in the wild. I will say that fox urine is potent smelling stuff. Even outside, it about made my eyes water.
The fox enclosure was a bit small for my long lens and the foxes are a lot faster moving than the larger wolves. They were busy playing keep away with an egg. One would bury the egg, unaware that the other was watching. She would then steal the egg and hide it. Foxes are an entertaining little critter, despite their musky urine.
For this session, Cassie and I hiked to one of my favorite childhood locations. I always found this place to be magical. As a child, I would escape to this place so that I could daydream and let my imagination run wild.
I am a Warren, MI based headshot, fashion, fantasy, fine art, senior, and portrait photographer. I have photographed the Detroit area and Southeastern Michigan for over 25 years.