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on Aug 4, 2011 in Wildlife Photography

My Problem with August

We live in paradise, the Eastern Sierra is a magical, special place. That is except for August, that is if you’re into wildlife photography. August sucks when it comes to wildlife photography even out my own office window. All the birds are done nesting so we have ugly kids and adults starting their molt. So if you like to photograph a wet, half plucked feather duster you’re in luck right now at my house. But that doesn’t really thrill me. Our little ground mammals like this Least Chipmunk are molting now as well. I just don’t do moth eaten. This all tends to put me in a real funk!

Here’s the other problem I face, you might as well. You’ve spent your wad on vacation or that great shoot and then what? I know where there are critters that can be photographed in August but they all require money to get to. Right now is a great time for Columbian Ground Squirrels as they are supper active getting ready for winter (yeah, that’s on their mind right now). The problem for me is, they aren’t in my backyard. this one photographed up in the Big Hole valley in MT is a two day drive away. I would love to go work our local Belding’s Grnd Squirrels but they too look a bit moth eaten. They are gorgeous in abut 30 days, but what to shoot until then?

Of course this Rocky Mtn Bighorn & lamb get lots of the aaahhh factor so who wouldn’t travel to photograph them? The problem is that while I knew where these critters were this day, I know they won’t be there tomorrow. So getting on a plane, renting a car and heading the the slope in MT where I know they should be, I might have to wait five days before I get glass on them. And even then, look at the light! This photo would be one helluva a lot better and grab more heart strings if it weren’t highnoon light. You might be saying, “You could fix that in post.” And that’s correct unless you’re me, I don’t “fix” any of my wildlife photos.

Then there is the magical land of Alaska where August is a marvelous time for lots of critters like this Hoary Marmot. Trust me, if I had the time and capitol to go and sit and shoot in AK just for the fun of it, I wouldn’t be blogging right now! So what’s the point of this blog? I’ve gone through a couple of decades of Augusts on the eastside and know that I will be climbing the walls to get glass on wildlife. Since I don’t have critters right at hand I look for other subjects, testing, experiments, almost anything I can find to photograph except weddings and wild flowers. Frustration comes to us all at times for different reasons. The trick is to find something else fun to photograph to fill the time, keep skills sharp and work through the “slow” period until the good stuff comes out. I’m on the road right now and I’m here to warn all wildlife in route, if I see you you’re fair game. I’m one frustrated wildlife photographer, that’s my problem with August!