Today my Pops would have turned 75. The King of Isabelle Avenue left us far to soon. And while I am wistful on his birthday, I like to remember the man for who he really was. He was a backyard adventurer, a big spender, a mountain man, an ear piercer, and a fabricator of tales of wonder. He could tell you something completely absurd with such conviction – I always worried that the one time I called him on something would be the one time it was all true.
In 2003 I received a call from my brother Max. He asked me if I had seen Big Fish yet. I hadn’t even heard of it. He said I needed to see it. A couple of days passed and my nephew called and told me the same thing – I had to go see this movie. They offered…
I love to see wildlife in unusual circumstances. I recently entertained a chickadee in my house for several hours while it decided to avoid the bitter cold. Of course that lead to a photo-op and possibly a future blog post.
Over the holidays I went to Las Vegas to see family. My brother Max has moved to the Fruity Chicken full-time and I often find photo ops with his menagerie, but his wife Karen and I took a run out to Boulder City one afternoon. We went in search of the bighorn sheep that live along the canyons that make up the shoreline of Lake Mead. In my mind I thought we would be headed out to the wilds to capture those amazing beasts out in the desert where I had spotted them in my youth. No, we went to a local park where the bighorns have taken over the baseball field. They come out each day to graze and on the day we visited only the smaller sheep came out from the mesquite thicket. I framed my shots carefully to avoid the playground equipment and the tennis courts.
When we first arrived they were below us in the field, over the course of about 45 minutes they walked right past us and into the playgrounds. I actually shot some of these shots with my portrait lens!
Careful framing gives this shot the feel of the open west…
As the herd shifts you can see the cages around the trees. That is Lake Mead in the background. They had just moved across the field and were very close. I shot this with my portrait lens.
I shot this with my Fast Fifty – they were only a few feet away at this point
I moved back to get this shot, they didn’t seem to care that we were right there as they ate
I love the texture of their horns – this is a fairly young female.
The only reason to stop eating is to walk to a better place to eat.
A close up of that young ewe.
This youngster takes a second to look my way.
A little heated conversation before more eating.
This was the big man on campus. He was definitely the dominant male. As he matures his horns will continue to spiral.
Even the bossman takes a look at us.
Even with this closely mowed field there is plenty to snack on.
The big boy was really about the size of a small shetland pony, even so he stood out from the crowd
All the pretty girls seem to follow him around.
Bighorns fascinated me as a child. I used to draw them and worked really hard to get the horns just right. There was something about seeing them so near the playground that was pretty sentimental to me.
I always carry at least three lenses. You never know what you will need, even when the plan is to shoot wildlife. My zoom would never have let me get those panoramic shots with the lake and mountains in the background – I was so glad to have my portrait lens in my bag. For me I need to have a minimum of a portrait lens, a macro, and a long zoom. When I travel I throw in a wide-angle. The variety gives me options and lets me make sure I get the shot I want.