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A Horse Tale

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On the Memorial Day 2016 weekend I set out on a wild horse adventure to an area in western Nevada known as the Pine Nut Mountains. I knew the area where I would have wild horse encounters were only accessible via 4×4 vehicles. I rented a Jeep Cherokee.

The first night on the Pine Nut Mountains I camped out on the range, but the weather conditions made for an uncomfortable night. So the next two nights I made my base camp Crystal Springs campground nearby, but it was across the Nevada/California border.

My first night at the campground I was able to get on the range by 8am. That was when I had my first wild horse encounter. I saw the band or group of wild horses alone in the desert seemingly having a meeting. I stopped and photographed that moment.

This is what I determined through research and knowledge of their behavior.

img_7104This wild horse caught my attention because he was waving his tail dramatically and making loud whinny sounds. The sounds coming from that horse were not sounds I heard before from other horses. This horse was also hoofing at something in the desert. I later discovered this horse was hoofing at one of his deceased band mates.

 

 

 

I observed and watched and tried to read the scene. I scanned around and realized a notorious stallion named Zorro by wild horse advocates was barking at a group of horses.
Zorro was seemingly trying to take a horse away from the group?

I then sat still and again tried to figure out was going on, but then I suddenly realized their was a deceased horse on the ground, and the horse who was whining loudly and waving his tail wildly pointed me to the carcass.

I then retreated and tried to process the scene, but I wasn’t smart enough, but after observing them for the remainder of the year and then using what I learned and returning to my photos I then concluded what I witnessed.

In the end a horse named Zorro, who killed more than his fair share of fellow horses, bowed down to the one horse on the range who allowed him to claim a dame.

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Photojournalism

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One aspect I love about my photos is when I actually look at them. I love photojournalism, which is why I do what I do. It is my favorite type of photography, but sometimes MY photos do indeed trigger emotions.
Mostly my comments are WOW! But sometimes it takes me deeper.
I see the faces within the surrounding environment, and I am just amazed at the various reactions from the folks I’m photographing.
What do you see in this photo?
I see confidence, fear, contemplation, and dependency.

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Notes from the field: Great Horned Owls

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A Great Horned Owl from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA.

A Great Horned Owl from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA.

Female Great Horned Owl.
Every evening between 4:30pm and 5:30pm the male and female Great Horned Owls will rendezvous in a tree near the nest. Before they rendezvous they communicate. The male does not seem to be allowed near the nest when their are babies in it. And right now their are two baby Great Horned Owls in Golden Gate Park. The good news, is, that the Owl nest is not near an area that can be accessible to those who fear the trees and the forest. Or not accessible to tourists and looky-lou’s, so maybe they will get to be truly wild. Their nest is also in the top part of the tree canopy. Not in the lower part of the tree canopy. However they are fair game for the Ravens.

Coyote encounter while leaving Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2014

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True story, while leaving the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival I decided to go back to the wildlife area and look for those owls. It just so happens, I found the owls, who were fighting with the ravens, but then once again, another hiker pointed out the Coyote was staring at me.

This owl was being mobbed by Ravens

Coyote encounter Golden Gate Park Coyote encounter Golden Gate Park  Coyote encounter Golden Gate Park

First aerial photography experience.

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A deceased and decaying wild horse.

A deceased and decaying wild horse.

I have delved into the world of aerial photography via the purchase of a DJI quadcopter. Here’s the story: I went to the area where there are a lot of wild horses east of Reno Nevada. I did not know there was a dead or decaying wild horse at this location until I uploaded the content to my computer. If I would have seen the horse I would have tried to figure how it died(whether by vehicle etc.) This is the first time my cameras have been able to look out to places I haven’t been to on foot.

If you’d like to see the model of quadcopter I bought check it out here.

BUT BUYER BEWARE. QUADCOPTERS ARE NOT EASY TO FLY AND THEY DO CRASH. IF YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER THE COPTER YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO PICK YOU’RE CRASH SPOT. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER THE COPTER THEN IT COULD BE A TOTAL LOSS.

Other wildlife I encountered on the Virginia Range in Nevada

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There were other wildlife I spotted while I was hiking on the Virginia Range in Nevada.

A Great Basin Collared lizard.

Collared Lizard

And a jackrabbit.

Jackrabbit

Wild Horses on the Virginia Range in Nevada

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I photographed and observed the wild horses on the Virginia Range for 3 days. Temps were in the 100’s, and the Virginia Range is a riparian forest or desert. The Virginia Range is mostly private property. I watched the wild horses, live, play, fight, socialize and I even watched one die. They are very affectionate animals and they always took the time to observe me.

A few facts about horses:

  1. Scientific name: Equus ferus caballus
  2. Lifespan: 25 – 30 y
  3. Mass: 500 kg on average (Adult)
  4. Speed: 40 – 48 km/h (Galloping), 19 – 24 km/h (Canter), 6.4 km/h on average (Walk), 13 – 19 km/h (Trot)
    Wild Horses on the Virginia Range

    I watched this one die. It was walking awkwardly, so I stopped and watched it for a while. He then suddenly laid down on the ground hard, let out a squeal, and then he stopped breathing.

    I watched this one die. It was walking awkwardly, so I stopped and watched it for a while. He then suddenly laid down on the ground hard, let out a squeal, and then he stopped breathing.

    Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range After a monsoon IMG_2461 Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range Wild Horses on the Virginia Range
    Baby horse with the momma.

    Baby horse with the momma.

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