The next morning after my fall colors hike, I visited the same location to see that the leaves were mostly faded. However, I did see many deer.
Watching the weather and the leaves, I decided to take a hike yesterday in hopes of catching peak colors. The afternoon called for the start of an all afternoon, night, and next morning rain. With winds picking up in the morning, I knew it was either get that hike in or miss any color at all.
Let's take a walk together on that brisk, frosty morning.
Yesterday, I went for a hike in the wetlands. The leaves change colors later than the rest of the state when the trees are closer to the water.
As I started along the trail, I had a visit from a curious doe and her two babes. The babes lost interest quickly, but the doe was very interested in what I was doing.
A little further along the trail there's a lone tree bursting with color.
As I head further into the swamp, there are only a few leaves here and there with color. I'm guessing by next week or the following, we'll be at peak.
I love these fuzzy little wild plants. I have no idea what they are, but they remind me of caterpillars.
I always end my hike in the wetlands with a visit to the lake.
Alex is an 83 year old found object artist. His property is an antique and found object showplace. He emigrated from Malta to the United States. As a young man, he visited the American west and fell in love with the ghost towns. This started his passion to recreate Old Dodge City. His profession was in automotive and through the years, he's amassed an amazing collection of classic vehicles that he's added to his standing art exhibit.
Below are some detail and expansive images to showcase Alex's work.
Moving away from the Western theme, we come across a prehistoric bone yard. I was amazed by Alex's ability to see an object as more than it's intended design. For example, in this boneyard, he assembled a dinosaur skeleton out of plastic clothing hangers. It works. You'd have to see it to believe it.
Next, we move to the classic car yard.
Alex humored me and let me photograph him amongst his life's work.
Elk were once common in Michigan. The original eastern elk became extinct in the late 1800s due to over hunting and the lack of quality habitat. In 1918, seven elk were brought to Michigan from the Western United States. The elk herd in Michigan today are descendants of these Rocky Mountain elk.
I've been on a quest to find one of these elk in the wild. Many trips were not fruitful. However, this last weekend, I finally found my elk.
Come, take a walk with me on this journey.
The first day lead me into the lovely inland lakes where Fall colors were starting to show.
When you get closer to the larger great lakes, the colors aren't as prevalent. Colors show last by the larger bodies of water.
On these particular trails, there are remains of a town.
The next morning was frost covered and foggy. The overcast sky was ominous.
No visit to the great lakes is complete without a trip to at least one of the lighthouses.
A little further up the trail there's another opening to the beach where you can view one of the many shipwrecks in this area.
The water levels are so high this year that you can't walk around the shipwreck on the beach. The shadow in the water is what's left of one of the wrecks.
I couldn't resist photographing some detailed images of the colorful leaves.
And finally....some elk.
Unfortunately, I couldn't make an image of the elk bugling. He was wedged between trees and I was in a hide. When he bugled, he moved and was obstructed by one of the trees. This is the reality of wildlife photography. It takes a lot of patience, skill, animal behavior knowledge, and luck.
"Ghost Wolf" is the newest of my wolf images.
Wolves are a keystone species, a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance. Such species play a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community. A keystone species plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Some keystone species, such as the wolf, are also apex predators.
The study of wolves in Yellowstone National Park demonstrates that the presence of wolves benefits the ecosystem. In 2019, Isle Royale National Park started repopulating the wolves to combat an overabundance of moose on the island. “In the absence of limitation by wolves, the moose population is rapidly increasing, and there is concern that moose browsing may do long-term damage to the forests of Isle Royale,” Rolf Peterson told The Detroit News in 2016. Isle Royale had been down to a father/daughter pair. As of September 2019, the wolf population increased to 17 because of the relocation program.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I visited the zoo to see the gallery show of one of my favorite wildlife photographers. While there, I walked around with my camera and photographed some of the zoo denizens. I spent a lot of time with the brown bears (grizzly) from the previous post, but I also was able to find many other interesting and lively subjects.
I think these guys below aren't actual zoo denizens, but squatters. The Detroit Zoo has worked very hard to make the zoo friendly to native wildlife. They have a wetland area and many of the enclosures are designed resemble the homeland of its resident so that is a more natural habitat for them. In this trio's case, they were in an enclosure that had plenty of wetland to make them happy. However, they weren't the proper residents.
There were a couple chimps active. Fortunately, two of them were mom, Abby, and her baby, Jane. The chimpanzee is a species of great ape native to the forests and savannahs of tropical Africa.
The Japanese macaque, or snow monkeys were out and about. Fortunately, Hana and her mother, Carmen, were out, too.
The Japanese macaque is a terrestrial Old World monkey species that is native to Japan. They get their name "snow monkey" because they live in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year – no other nonhuman primate is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder climate.
The Kookaburra is the largest in the kingfisher family. It's name is an onomatopoeia. It's call is distinct and you may recognize it immediately because it is used in many movies in a bush setting.
Southern white rhinoceros are the second largest land mammals, smaller only than elephants.
Dekilah has such an Audrey Hepburn elegance that I couldn't resist photographing her in an old Hollywood style at the decayed location where we met. Conceptually, we were looking to do vintage at this historic building in Detroit. Looking at the location, I found a couple spots where I thought the story could be about the end of the era, where an elegant woman is saddened by the destruction of a formerly posh hotel.
Styling/Makeup/Modeling: Dekilah Devine
It was a beautiful day and a lot of people were out with their dogs.
It's been a while since I've posted any animal images. Today, I'm posting grizzly bears.
I went to the Detroit Zoo to view an exhibit of one of my favorite wildlife photographers. There is nothing like viewing an image printed large. The exhibit ends today so I wanted to make sure I saw it before it was gone.
Because I was already going to be at the zoo for the exhibit, I brought my camera with the intention of walking around and seeing the animals early and while it was cool in hopes that they'd be active. Understanding animal behavior and it's relation to time of day and weather is important even when visiting zoos. Knowing this paid off. These grizzly brothers started walking around, but before long they went for a dip and started wrestling. I was thrilled and thankful that I came prepared. I watched them for hours.
The Detroit Zoo actively works for wildlife conservation. The animals that live at the zoo are animals that would never survive in the wild for various reasons.
In the case of these grizzlies, these brothers were brought to the zoo in 2010 when they were found orphaned in Alaska after a poacher killed their mother. They were 10 months old. Grizzlies nurse their young until they are 2-3 years old. Without the Detroit Zoo to house them, they would not have survived in the wild.