The apex…

of scenting ability.

DSC_0770-3Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago while involved in Search and Rescue I was introduced to tracking by a man named Jim Marshall. He cultivated in me an appreciation for awareness and personal space and the second nature to be always looking for indicators.

Today, one of my greatest joys is to find signs of animals passing through the wilderness and letting my imagination run wild with the back stories.

The discovery pictured above, along with a huge pile of hair laden scat, was heart rate elevating!

I searched for the perfect track to photograph and my mind raced with thoughts.

As a former bloodhound handler and instructor of scent theory, I’m well versed in the abilities of certain animals because of physiological makeup to be scenting machines.

Here I was in close proximity to one of the animals at the apex of this description…the grizzly bear. An animal purported to be able to scent 300 times more than a bloodhound.

This is the beauty of photography. Each time I look at this photograph I will remember the cold, the heightened awareness, the silence, and the joy that we felt when we saw it.

I had hoped to see elusive bear number TENĀ  of the year but I’m okay with it not being this particular bear.

Was he watching? Very likely.

Was I? Always.

Two Staffords camping…

and instinctual warning.

 

DSC_9677-2

Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people never get to see a bear in the wild. I consider myself very lucky to have seen nine on my camping trip so far. Granted a couple were a little too close for comfort but being with someone who has had a lot of experience around them has been invaluable. It may have even stopped me from being lunch for a Grizzly!

This black bear, number seven, was brought to our attention by my Staffordshire Bull Terriers as he ambled by our camp, hidden by thick growth, a mere 20 paces away.

Their behavior has changed since their first bear encounter and now with noses in the air and throaty growls we know that we are in the presence of a bear.

Game little dogs those staffys and as always, I am amazed by their instincts.

 

On challenges…

and compassion.

DSC_2910-Edit-2What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps it’s the change in our weather that’s making me feel more than a little philosophical but today my thoughts are centered around the idea that we learn so much more from the things that don’t go right than we ever do from the things that do.

I think it’s the challenges that create the most growth. How we view them, how we react to them, what we take away from them.

I also think that facing challenges builds more compassion for others as well.

And we could all use a little more of that couldn’t we?

 

A sign from…

the universe.

DSC_6667Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some days are just golden; almost like an affirmation that the choices you’re making are right.

A friend is fond of telling me that if you just let go the universe will provide and I can no longer argue with that sentiment.

My week-end was amazing. The weather was incredible and the lake that I frequent couldn’t have been more beautiful. Afterwards, a perfect, early summer evening was graced with clear skies, some unusual aurora arc activity, and a fly over of the international space station.

This all leads me to have faith.

Have faith and keep your camera ready to capture the moments.

 

Winter Carnival…

has gone to the dogs!

20170226-dsc_2505-edit-2Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s a lot to be learned from our four-legged friends.

This week-end had a special event sponsored by some amazing local business’ all in the name of raising money to support the Panhandle Animal Shelter.

A little snow didn’t keep the crowds away and the dogs ran their hearts out pulling size suitable empty kegs down a snowy track to raise money for their less fortunate friends.

There were dogs of all sizes dressed in all kinds of gear sporting EzyDog harnesses for the Keg Pull.

This was my first time attending the event and I had the pleasure of being in the thick of the action. Some dogs gave it their all, seasoned veterans returning to better their times from past years. Others, new to the game, took more leisurely runs, pausing for photo opportunities along the way.

Great group of dog loving people supporting a wonderful cause and lucky me…I got to spend a few hours combining two passions, dogs and photography.

February’s Tip: Double your pleasure and try to find a way to combine two passions in one. Really think about what gives you the most joy to photograph and seek out opportunities that combine those things. Your heart will thank you!

Searching for inspiration…

might be as easy as looking back..

DSC_4957-2Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’re ever at a loss for inspiration or direction I recommend spending some time thinking back on early childhood memories.

When I was very young I had one of those charts put out by The National Weather Service showing examples of different types of clouds. I find it as fascinating today as I did back then and over the past few years I have been slowly making my own cloud chart.

I woke up on this morning to a sky filled with what we grew up calling a mackerel sky. It was always an indication that the weather was about to change.

With these clouds came the chance that I might get one of the shots that I have been looking for…iridescent clouds. Conditions have to be just right for these to form; tiny ice crystals or water droplets causing light to be diffracted high up in these cirrocumulus clouds.

These were especially colorful as they moved in waves across the sky close to the sun’s edges and I remembered to take time not only to photograph them but simply lay back and enjoy them as they blew by.

Check! Next up on my list…mammatus.