Grizzly 399 is the most famous bear in the world and inhabits Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. She surprised everyone in the Spring of 2020 when, at the age of 24, she emerged from her den along Pilgrim Creek with her four cubs. The news got out just days after she was first spotted, and I jumped in my car on a 14-hour drive to go see her. I arrived during a spring snowstorm and was thrilled to have quickly found her. This photo was taken in late May 2020 as she confidently walked toward me on Dump Road. I used a 500mm lens with a 1.4 extender (700mm effective length) while laying on my belly in a puddle of freezing water. I snapped this photo as she approached approximately 120 yards away. This photo was awarded second place in the international "Share the View" competition.
During a trip up to Kaktovik, Alaska, in October 2018, as the Arctic Ocean started to freeze, we left Barter Island in a small ice breaker. I decided to sit alone in the front of the boat as we broke through the frozen channel, heading toward what is referred to as the boneyard. The Inuit natives are allowed to harvest a few whales each year for substance living. The remains of these whales provide much-needed nutrition for the polar bears as they wait, later and later each year, for the ice to freeze. Polar bears need the ice to hunt for baby seals which are their primary source of food. This cub was cleaning its fur and playing on a frozen sand bar after a short swim while its mother was close by nursing the cub's sibling. From the front of the boat, at a safe distance, I was able to spend a good 20 minutes photographing this adorable cub playing until my fingers just could not take the cold anymore. Seeing a polar bear in the wild was one of the top experiences of my life!
This Great Kiskadee eating Pyracantha berries in flight was taken in Rio Grande Valley, Texas in January 2020. The photo was awarded "Best in Class" for Birds in the 2021 North America Nature Photography Association Expressions contest. Several Great Kiskadees were approaching the Pyracantha berries aggressively on an overcast morning. The soft, overcast sky allowed the light to come through without casting any shadows, which was key to the success of this photo.
One of my favorite things about nature photography is the ability to
freeze action, allowing the viewer to observe wildlife in a manner that the
naked eye can not see. This female Cardinal was photographed as she threw on
her brakes approaching a feeder in Rio Grande Valley, Texas in March 2021.
This mother Alaskan Brown Bear was hunting Silver Salmon in Lake Clark
National Park, Alaska, while her two cubs watched close by in August 2018. I
positioned my camera on a tripod in the middle of the river at a low angle and
a safe distance upstream, utilizing my 500mm with a 1.4 extender (effective
length of 700mm). I was able to capture this photo as this sow fished for
This female Snowy Owl was seen hunting outside of Ontario, Canada in
February 2018. I captured one of my all-time favorite photos while laying in
the snow on a 15-degree overcast morning. The Snowy Owl silently glided above
the snow throwing on her brakes in preparation for capturing her prey. This
photo was awarded Flicker's 2019 Top 25 Global Photos of the Year.
Schwabacher Landing is an amazing location to view the Grand Teton range any time of day in Grand Teton National Park, but when the clouds are just right as they were on this June evening in 2021 it can make for a magical experience. I typically spend my evenings chasing wildlife when I am in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton ecosystem. During this afternoon you could see the popcorn clouds from an approaching storm forming so I decided to change my focus to landscape photography in hope of capturing that brilliant sunset reflecting off the Snake River as it winds its way through the park. This evening did not disappoint and will be etched in my memory forever!
Although this endangered Spectacled Eider, named for the large white "spectacles" around its eyes, spends much of its life out in the cold Arctic Ocean eating bottom-dwelling mollusks and crustaceans. It returns to the Arctic coast of Alaska and Siberia to breed each summer. Unlike other sea ducks, the Spectacled Eider lives in just a few areas and becomes vulnerable during their molt as they cannot fly away from their predators. In June 2015, I ventured to Barrow Alaska (recently renamed to Utqiagvik) on the north slope in hope of photographing this elusive sea duck. Utilizing waders, I was able to quietly slip into this Arctic pond, placing my tripod in the water at a low angle, and waited patiently until this male eider naturally took to flight with the female close behind. I was honored to have this photo included in several publications, including Audubon's 2019 national calendar, North America Nature Photographers Associations 2019 Expression’s magazine, and Birdwatching Magazine in October 2015 as its featured photo of the month. Most recently it was awarded Top 250 in the international Share the View contest.
Each winter from December to April it is estimated that 10,000 Humpback
Whales make the three-thousand-mile journey from the cold waters of Alaska
to the warm waters of Maui to breed and have their young. The peak season
is from January to February. In 2021, I spent several weeks going out
daily on a zodiac boat photographing and witnessing first-hand the mating
rituals of these amazing animals. Breeching is believed to be a form of
communication and capturing this behavior is the ultimate experience.
Winter in Yellowstone National Park should be on everyone's bucket list. After three days in a snow coach with seeing a Red Fox high on my wish list, we finally came across this photogenic fox in February 2020. The fox proudly danced around on the fresh snow as it hunted for prey. Red Fox primarily preys on small moles, mice, and on occasion, rabbits. The Red Fox mates in the winter and can have up to 12 pups in the spring.
In October 2018, on the last day of a three-day trip up the Dalton Highway, as we approached the community of Deadhorse, we spotted an Arctic Fox laying out in the middle of the icy highway. I quickly jumped out of the van we were driving in and laid flat out on the road with my 500mm lens. The fox was very high on my target list of subjects that I hoped to photograph, so I had a lot of adrenaline-pumping, but as luck would have it, after three days and only seeing one car driving south, a vehicle appeared and scared the fox. As I was already in a good position, I lucked out as the fox started running straight towards me. Although I only had a fleeting moment with the fox, I loved the fact that I was able to capture him with all four paws off the road as he sprinted straight towards me.
In April 2017, I joined Dano Grayson at his Elephant Head Pond property outside Tucson, Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert. Although bats continue to be viewed negatively, they are critical to the overall ecosystem. Photographing bats can be a highly technical activity but is extremely rewarding when successful. This Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus) has a home range from western Canada to central Mexico. The Pallid Bat is impressively tenacious, thanks in no small part to its penchant for wrestling and consuming scorpions. Their primary food source is insects, and they can consume up to half their weight in insects every night.
While photographing wildlife in Yellowstone in January 2019, we spotted this hunting coyote slowly approaching a snow-covered bridge just after a heavy snow. We knew that if we could all lay down flat in the snow and position ourselves in front of our snow coach, he would continue our direction and be funneled over the bridge. The coyote was about 300 yards away when we spotted him, so we had time to set up without disturbing him and hoped that he would continue our direction. The goal was to capture an intimate low angle shot at eye level. Our plan worked like magic, and the coyote never noticed us or altered course as it continued to hunt right over the bridge. I was extra happy that I captured all four of his paws, as well as fresh snow on his nose.