I observed only “one” mountain goat at the summit of Mt. Evans – 14,130 feet. (By the way, this is not a drive for the “faint of heart.” The drive is a challenge with no guard rails and an experience to navigate in the dark for sunrise. However, the scenery is spectacular and worth the effort.)
I watched the mountain goat as he/she ate. Then it started to meander and jump on and up the rocks – finally standing high above me in a very majestic pose. This mountain goat was molting and shedding its heavy winter coat.
Coyote is known as the great trickster and cultural hero of Native American mythology. Coyotes are also noted for their crafty intelligence and many native cultures call the coyote “Medicine Dog.” Ina Woolcott describes coyote symbolism as the following:
“When we are being too serious about life, Coyote may appear to teach us to laugh at ourselves and life’s ironies. Be prepared for your sense of humor to arise in full force in line with what is happening around you and to you…
…The Coyote teaches how wisdom and folly go together. In other’s mistakes we see our own foolishness and can learn from their mistakes…
…Coyote’s howl touches your soul, reminding you of your primal connections…”
I spotted this coyote recently in Rocky Mountain National Park. At first, it was hiding behind some brush and almost invisible. I felt honored that my presence was accepted as the coyote eventually moved out into open space before walking to a new location up and over a hill. I had a few moments of being in a respectful space with this wonderful animal – very cool indeed.
This was a very cold morning at Horseshoe Park in RMNP. The blue hue of the photographs conveys this coldness.
It is not uncommon to find herds of elk at lower elevations of the park during winter in early morning.
The solitude of the wilderness provides a certain peace and privacy for wildlife. Their life embodies a certain symbolic grace as they bestow the essence of their special Spirit on the land that nourishes them.
Here are two unlikely friends. When the marmot approached the Big Horn Sheep, I was not sure what the encounter would look like in terms of acceptance and sharing territory. To my surprise and appreciation, they acted like they were old friends. It was a beautiful lesson of diversity, acceptance and tolerance for me. As usual, nature is always my teacher…
I was photographing sunrise in the tundra at the Ute Trail a couple of weeks ago. However, I met “5” bull elk and (needless to say) deferred the trail to them. The intention of my photography changed from a scenic mountain sunrise to the journey of the elk. They started to separate and several happened to wander in front of a shadowed area of the mountain. The dark background of the shadows and the front lighting from the sunrise created a beautiful definition of these amazing creatures. What a journey for both the animals and myself…
Recently, I went to visit The Wildlife Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO. This is a rescue and rehabilitation organization dedicated to helping large animals. There were wolves, lions, tigers, bears, leopards and many other wildlife on the property. This impressive organization exists with donations and dedication that the volunteers have for the animals. The cost to feed all of the animals each month is $38,000 – remarkable!
I used my telephoto lens to capture this image of the three wolves. The wolf not sleeping seemed blind as one eye appeared permanently shut. The wolf represents “the teacher” in the Native American culture. As a former teacher, I felt blessed and honored to be in their presence.
This portrait conveys the sadness of abuse and documents the need for humans to rescue and provide a safe haven for animals in unfortunate situations. I acknowledge The Wildlife Sanctuary for providing protection and rehabilitation for these animals. Recently, there was national news about The Wildlife Sanctuary’s rescue of over 20 lions from Bolivia. For a photograph of these lions and their story, please click on the following link for The Wildlife Sanctuary – Rescue of Bolivia Lions.
This is one of the rehabilitated tigers at The Wildlife Sanctuary. It clearly shows the healing power of love and compassion that can be achieved when one is given a second chance in life. As I have tried to indicate with these blog posts, nature photography is also an opportunity to document stories of abuse and misuse for both our wildlife and our environment. Nature photography can be a call to action to support our earth and our wildlife.
Here was a wonderful opportunity with animal photography as the elk were sparing together in a field. It was a spontaneous moment that nature photographers love – being in the right place at the right moment. When you are on your photo excursions, look around and really be present with the world around you.