I can't imagine not living in a place that has a change of seasons-for me it's like I can't wait for what is around the corner in the next progression of the year. Some I'd like to spend a lot longer with (Fall) and others I'm starting to appreciate more (Spring). Photography sure spurs my interest in what lies next, what I'll discover in the next season. I love winter and snow, especially a new snow, and we've had our share this year. Cross country skis and snowshoes provide the means to explore and snow provides the canvas. The tracks provide the mystery of what was going on the previous night and day.
The long low light, even at mid-day, can bring out interest from patterns and lines in the snow or from the dark contrast of trunks on white. I like the cleanness of these images compared to this shot if taken at another time of year.
I don't know the story behind this deer. How it died, how it came to be here. That really doesn't matter now, she is providing life in her death. This winter is a severe one so far with deep snow and very cold early December temperatures making it a struggle for some to survive. She is slowly returning back to the earth and saving some of her fellow creatures along the way. Cruel? No, it's natures way and one animal is no more important than another, although as humans we sometimes think so.
I almost snowshoed past this find, I was tired from breaking trail and just wanted to keep moving, but the camera was handy and I held it high directly overhead and made the picture. One nice thing about late December days is the sun is always low and can provide interesting light and shadows, so even the crow tracks stand out on the snow. Made me wonder how many animals have stopped here to take their share of the carcass. By spring, I doubt many of the bones will even be here any longer-carted off to different parts of the surrounding woods, maybe for me to find another time, on another hike.
I couldn't help use that title-I'm guilty. The hard falling snow during the night just seemed to match too closely the coyotes suspicious eyes.
I expected a coyote to make an appearance sooner or later....and I guessed sooner. We've had a wolf or two in the area a couple winters ago and really hoped to get a picture of one, but there have also been tons of hunters about, so I'd guess they are laying low. I love the wildlife that make their home in the neighborhood and I feel fortunate to be able to walk out the door and live among them.
There is a poignant painting by Georgia O'Keeffe completed after her husband, Alfred Stieglitz died in 1946, of a lone crow flying over a bare landscape, a metaphor of his death and her loneliness or freedom afterwards. Crows fascinate me, not that that has always been true-they sure seemed more of a pest than anything-loud and obnoxious but so intelligent and social. They can usually give away a hunters hidden position or lead to a dead carcass. I've come to respect them-their freedom, playfulness smarts and carefree life. There was a sick crow hanging around the woods here this fall-I felt bad for "him"...perhaps he had West Nile disease or some other injury that prevented him from flying. He'd just appear and I'd see him hopping around for several weeks and never knew what became of him.
I decided to experiment a little after gun season when I moved a found yearling deer carcass to an open spot on a field. There was good ground cover nearby and thought maybe I'd get some photographs of an eagle, coyote or wolf. Well, the crow became the number one subject-I should have known. This first photograph is just crazy with the silhouettes and wing position of the crows-you can almost hear their raucous calls.
In this second image, you can see the nervousness of the crows on the carcass as the eagle has his wings set and gliding in to claim his share of a meal. In the far north, the wolf and the raven have a relationship-each benefit the other. Here, I think the crow and the eagle likewise do. It's common to find one bird or the other locating their next meal, which is grudgingly shared. The eagle, gets first dibs and takes charge upon arrival though.
Eagles are still not that common around here, and I always appreciate it when I do see one. For me, it is a good omen. I marvel at their size and strength and in the image above-the size of their wingspan is amazing. The lone crow in the distance doesn't stand a chance of feeding anytime soon.
A year ago I had the chance to photograph some of my good friends performing at the Freighthouse in LaCrosse Wisconsin during Oktoberfest. It was a self assigned job, part "roadie" and part photographer. I do enjoy shooting people I know, and these guys have so damn much talent and I'm privileged to call them my friends. It was a great night of music, fun and laughter. The photography was a bit challenging to shoot in dark conditions, but the colored lights were just fun to work around. I think I had about five hundred images by evenings end and then onto the editing. This was one of my favorites-I like the reflections of the musicians and the feel of what was happening at that moment. Even now, after some time has past, I still enjoy this picture.