Saturday, March 31, 2012

Salt Water Aquariums - Part II

This next group of fish I had for several years and they grew quite large. The first, the Harlequin Tusk from the Great Barrier Reef off Australia - and the most expensive fish I ever bought ($125) became very pleasantly tame. He was always glad to see me and would come up to the glass and wag his tail. The Harlequin Tusk has large sharp and pointed teeth used to shred his food. I fed him shrimp purchased at the local grocers. The next three fish swallowed their food whole. They liked the shrimp as well, but once a day they each got a couple of goldfish too.  (I kept a 10 gallon tank that I stocked with goldfish. I'd buy 100 or so at a time for this purpose). The Panther I bought when he was about two inches. When I finally had to move and sell my fish he was about 10 inches.  The Lionfish, as you can see, was (well is) an extremely interesting and beautiful fish. However, it's 13 dorsal spines have a poisonous fluid that can be injected into prey -- including human, so handling is done very carefully.  The Dogfaced puffer was another very friendly fish.  Puffers "puff" up when they are distressed. He didn't do that very often which I took as a sign of contentment. 

Harlequin Tusk

Miniatus Grouper

Panther (Grouper)


Dogfaced Puffer

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going Back to 1961?

Life has a way of coming full circle -- or at least helping you "rediscover" your passions. In 1961, I was 15 years old and fascinated by the Ocean. So, I began an experiment of keeping "salt-water" aquariums. Back then, aquariums were made with steel frames. I knew this wouldn't work for salt-water so had a plexiglass company make a 50 gallon aquarium for me. Salt water, contains more than just sodium chloride (table salt). It actually contains 64 elements, some in trace amounts. I located a place where I could by packaged sea salt. I also found a distributor in the Philippines that would send me fish and invertebrates from the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including Hawaii. Later I found someone who would send fish from the Red Sea. This was a very expensive "hobby".  The Clown Triggerfish below I paid $100 for. But, I had saved quite a bit of money from my paper route. (I started delivering the Washington Post newspaper in 1954.

I studied all the literature on Salt Water fish -- wasn't a lot out there. (This was before Jacques Cousteau became famous). Over the next three years I dealt with diseases, fish that wouldn't eat, fish that weren't "community" oriented, fish that ate my other fish, etc. I kept records and finally in 1964 wrote a book and displayed the book and an aquarium at our County Fair (Montgomery County, Maryland) for which I won an Award. Within a couple of days, someone with the US Department of Agriculture contacted me and ask if I would be willing to have an exhibit at the Department of Agriculture that summer for which I agreed. 

I ended up going to the University of Hawaii to study Oceanography, but the US Army had other ideas. Seems as though they wanted me too. So, in 1967 it was off to the Army. Six years later and with two children I "retired" from active duty and went to work for Xerox doing what I did in the Army (Logistics and Distribution). I did have a 125 gallon aquarium in the mid and late 70's. But, it wasn't until 1984 that I finally got back to nature, fly-fishing and then wildlife photography.

Anyway, for the next couple of days I'll show you some of my aquarium photos (that date back 50 years):

Clown Triggerfish and Adult Emperor Angel

Blue Ringed Angel with Flame Scallop, Feather Duster Worms, and Sea Anemone

Powder Brown Tang and Majestic Angel

Yellow Tang, Power Brown Tang, and Hippo Tang

Saddleback Butterfly

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bobcat Archives

One of the more exciting -- even thrilling  -- experiences is finding a Bobcat or watching as one walks right through your backyard. Among the archives I found some Bobcat photos I've never used. So, just thought I'd share them today:

At Sweetwater Wetlands, Arizona

In one of our Flower Beds

On one of our walls.

Lying down in the shade on a 110 degree June day

Just meandering around our property.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Black Bear Archives - Part II

A few more Black Bear photos - rarely seen:

Black Bear walking through a burn area in Yellowstone.

Black Bear Cubs in mountains north of Flagstaff, Arizona

Black Bear sleeping under a pine tree, Yellowstone

Black Bear Cub climbing tree in Alberta, Canada

Black Bear in forest on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Black Bear somewhere in British Columbia, Canada

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bears out of the Archives

I searching through my photos I came across some old bear photos I've never used. So, brush off the dust here they are:

Somewhere in British Columbia, Canada

Ramsey Canyon, Arizona

Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Coyote Photos From "The Vault"

Here are a few more Coyote photos taken over the years, one of which I can't remember where I took it. I am so glad for Photo Organizing software. I have much better records now!

Coyote near Cody Wyoming

Coyote Somewhere In Central British Columbia

Coyote in Western Montana

Coyote in Yellowstone National Park

I don't even remember this one

Coyote near the Galiuro Mountains, Arizona

Coyote here at The Azure Gate

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coyote Photos Unseen Before

There are several wild animals that I think are UN-APPRECIATED.  Coyotes, Wolves, Burros, and Skunks. But to me, they are among mother nature's most beautiful creatures. I have photographed Coyotes from Arizona to Alberta, from sea level to mountain tops, and from 110 degree temps to minus 10 degree temps.  They are among mother nature's most intelligent creatures as well. Very social, and very family oriented. As I looked through my Coyote photos I thought I would show some that I hadn't shown -- or included in any of my books. They're not bad actually. The first four are taken at various points along the Athabascar River which originates at the foot of the Columbia Glacier. The waters of the Athabascar eventually wind up in the Arctic Ocean, after meandering through much of Alberta and the Yukon.

Along the Columbia Icefield

On the Columbia Icefield

This last photo was taken on the way to Douglas Lake in Central British Columbia, about 60 miles southeast of Kamloops. He didn't quite know what to make of me, as we stared at each other for a while.

I'll show a few more tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finding Mountain Goats Part II

Sometimes being far away gives you an amazing perspective of the ability of specialized animals. This Mountain Goat scaled this cliff (which must have been close to an 80 degree angle) as if walking down the sidewalk.

Walton Goat Lick Overlook, Glacier National Park, Montana

And, sometimes roads take you up into the mountains where viewing and photographing become easier -- that is if you are there at the right time --- i.e. "lucky."  

Above the Columbia Icefields, Alberta, Canada

Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana

Weeping Wall, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Weeping Wall, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finding Mountain Goats

Just like Bighorn Sheep, maybe even more difficult in finding and photographing are Mountain Goats. And, just like Bighorns, luck is a key factor. In the first three photos, the Mountain Goats are difficult to see with the naked eye. You essentially, have to scour the mountains with a scope, binoculars, or telephoto lens. It's always nice to find them, but in these situations quite impossible to get close enough for a good photo. Still, it gives the viewer an idea of the terrain these beautiful animals live in.

Mountain Goat with Kid on Grays Peak, Colorado

Small Band of Mountain Goats on Grays Peak, Colorado

Mountain Goat on Baronette Peak, Wyoming
And, also just like the Bighorns, sometimes roads take you deep into the mountains where getting close is possible if you find them. The last two photos come from Mt. Evans at about 13,000 feet. Mt. Evans has the distinction of having the highest paved road in the world. It's paved to 14.138 feet. In the situation below a herd of 40-50 Mountain Goats were in a 13,000 foot meadow above the timberline eating what grasses there were. Slowly and carefully I moved about until I could get close enough for a photo -- as in the two kids below.
Herd of Mountain Goats at 13,000 feet on Mt. Evans, Colorado

Two kids, on Mt. Evans

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finding Bighorn Sheep

"Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."  Admittedly, that is not my quote -- although I love it and, as a wildlife photographer can really appreciate it. The quote is from the movie "The Zero Effect." I have found Rocky Mountain  Bighorn Sheep in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Idaho, Mountana, Wyoming, and Colorado. I have found Desert Bighorn Sheep in Arizona, which I have talked about before. 

Now, a few words about photographing them. Finding them is not always easy. Photographing them is often impossible as in this case at Yellowstone NP in Wyoming. In the first photo, well, you'll need to see the second photo also because it is nearly impossible to see the Bighorn Sheep in the first photo. There was no access or way to get up the mountain to photograph them.

Bighorn Sheep photo taken with a 400mm lens.

Same photo "zoomed" in photoshop.

Sometimes roads get you up into the mountains where photographing can be easier -- that's if you find them. The next three photos were taken at 14,000 feet on Mount Evans in Colorado.

Now a few words about luck. Putting yourself in the "place of most potential" increases you chances of being lucky. That is to say, you probably wouldn't have much luck finding Bighorn Sheep in downtown Tucson -- or New York City for that matter. But, in the mountains of Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada, I have gotten lucky several times. This photo was taken with a 28 mm lens. I was in my Jeep and the Ram was only five feet away from me.