Intro to Wildlife Photography: Second Semester

If this were an actual class and the teacher asked me what have I learned so far I would have to say ” Oh honey grab you a drink and sit down…this is going to take a while…”img_7172-2

I live in Gold Canyon Arizona. It is at the base of the Superstition Mountain. Though there are golf courses and mansions all around there is still  plenty of natural desert for all the native critters to roam. Our house sits on top and over looks 2.5 acres of desert. Home to coyote, javelina, jackrabbits the size of a dog, snakes, birds, and the list goes on and on.

The amount of nature plus stunning beauty out here is almost overwhelming to me. I want to photograph everything I see but it is not that easy when you are talking about wild animals and I work with an iPad. Instead of making the excuse of needing high-powered equipment, I push to see what I can do with what I have. ( read Intro to Wildlife Photography if you are confused)

The local coyotes I have recorded and posted numerous times. I wish someone would pay me to study them and the howls they make. They are beyond ridiculous. They yip and howl and party all night. Then, they do that gangsta style trot on the way home in the morning. I love them. But me taking a good picture of one is not going to happen unless it’s blind luck. Oh I see them in the day time quite often but has never been close enough or me quick enough. Honestly sometimes I’m still just in awe watching them roam that I don’t want to miss the random glimpse to run off and grab a camera. The most coyote I have seen in our back acreage at a time was six making their way over to a seventh that had been howling earlier. This was in the mid-morning and sunny out.Construction is happening over on the golf course and I think the coyotes were having a meeting about it.img_0250

The Javelinas deserved and got their own article posted “…wasting the day away in Javelinaville” They are a handful and I have no plans on getting closer for your entertainment.img_8474

Which leads me to having a huge tarantula on the front door. Another experience that prompted a full post ” Shut the Front Door!” img_1404

I no longer hope to take a simple good picture. Oh no! Nature out here says ” You wanna come play? Let’s do this.”img_6714

The awareness of what is actually living in some of these holes has changed my flopping onto the ground with abandon. img_1429

I have been circled by a bird large enough to do me some damage. Seven vultures one day made me question my dog Tucker’s safety. Again another post.img_3954-2

Zooming in requires me to now forget my surroundings. Ask the bunnies or the quail, pay attention to your surroundings.img_7274-2

I have learned about old wives tales and birds in your house. One in the house is supposed to fore shadow death! img_6503

Not too sure what it means if it happens regularly except close the doors. Of course I wrote about that ” An Old Wives Tale”img_6592I have learned patience.


Wild animals have their own rhythm. They do what they do.img_6797

If I’m lucky I see it. img_4733

So for this semester I give me a B.



Super Moon 2016

NASA said it would appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. November 13 and 14 2016, the year of the Supermoon. Closest full moon since 1948.

Because they have used the word “super”, I entirely ignored the 14 percent bigger part and expected a cartoon oversized moon to pop up covering half the sky. My grasp of space and stars and how it all works is painfully limited.

I was also curious if this “super” moon would affect our local wildlife, mostly the coyotes. Not that our local ‘yotes do anything regularly but I figured we would notice if it was significantly out of their normal.

Sunday morning the 13th around 7:30 am we watched three coyotes meet up after a good howl session roughly a half hour before. Not abnormal. The most I have seen wander through our back-desert acreage is six.

Sunday night we watched as the moon rose over the Superstition. At first I was excited. It looked as though it was going to be huge. But in what seemed like seconds the moon was up and bright and not much different than I have seen before.

Pretty? Yes, very.

Bright? Yes.

Full? Yes.


If you ask our local coyotes, they would say yes.

When we first moved here I would hop up to record them every time they started their chorus. I realized quickly that unless I was being paid to study the howling habits of my local pack, keeping up with them and their whereabouts and maintaining a real job was going to seriously affect my already unhealthy sleeping habits.

I can’t tell you what all coyotes do. I can only tell you what the ones that live around here do. They partied for Supermoon 2016. Sunday night they yipped and howled and barked off and on throughout the night. A good time was had.

Monday morning the 14th the moon set. Now I’m sure it rises and sets regularly but I don’t watch it. I watched Monday morning still expecting something “super”.

This is not the first time my lack of knowledge combined with a wild imagination and too many documentaries have led me to believe I am going to see something I am not.

Recently we saw advertising for a “Star Party” at a local school. Generous telescope enthusiasts bring their very large and expensive equipment to share, ready to explain what it does and what stars and planets you will be able to see.IMG_6607.JPG

Excitedly waiting my turn, fully expecting to look through the lens and see foot prints on the moon or see vivid colors circling Saturn, instead I saw a game of Pong that hasn’t started. I squint and step back. Did I do it wrong? I look again. This huge high powered telescope is showing me a dot? Am I at the eye Dr.’s office?

The men that allowed me to look through their equipment were nothing short of charming, friendly and educated. I had no way of explaining to them my complete lack of understanding why I was not seeing what I thought I was supposed to see. Blame Nova.

I wasn’t that child growing up who wanted to be an astronaut. I have never had any desire to be trapped in a tube and exploded into space. I don’t know if being afraid of heights counts but I will use that too. Though I saw the one and only original Star Wars when I was about nine years old roughly 7 or 8 times in the theater, it still didn’t make me want to be an astronaut. NASA wasn’t offering cool helmets or light sabers. Astronauts hopped around the moon.

Monday the 14th the moon rose over the Superstition Mountain. A few howls and a yip but the ‘yote party had either not begun or they were recovering still from last night. The moon was bright. I heard one final mellow but spirited coyote howl fest off in the distance and fell asleep.

Tuesday morning. The sun would not be up until 7 or so. The Supermoon still glowing bright making the sun rise not so impressive, almost competing. It is only now that I can see more detail on the moon. To me it looks like the earth if you took all the water away. I still wish it was bigger.