A Passion & Cuteness Alert

Everyone knows that I LOVE BEARS of all types.  Most people know that I ADORE OWLS of all types.  Not sure if everyone knows how much MY HEART MELTS FOR CRANES … but it does, especially sandhill cranes and their young.  🙂  So when I learned about a loving pair of SHCs that were raising a newborn, I knew what I had to do … that was to jump in my car and drive up to my next photography shoot, starring this young colt.  I was so excited and left so quickly that I forgot my ID, my wallet, and had no money, debit, or credit card on me.  Not even a red cent was in my car.  No biggie, right?  Just turn around and pick it up, right?  Well, I was already about an hour or so north when I realized it and it was about 4:30 AM!  Would I even have enough gas to get me home?  Quick thinking, I called and prayed that Tom would answer the phone.  Yes!  Poor Tom was sleeping and probably in mid-dream when I abruptly woke him up and off to the rescue he went, as we coordinated our progress and met at the precise location where we would both intersect on the road.  So, big time THANKS to Tom … not only my sherpa (though on this day, he was relieved of duty), but also my courier.  He’s absolutely the BEST!

Now, back to these cranes…. when I arrived fashionably late, to meet up with Jess and Michael, there it was … the Birthday Boy … 1 Week Old!  The lone offspring to this beautiful pair.  It was resting on the grass as mom and day were foraging.

_DSC7895As they would make their way to better “bug locations”, so too went the little colt, which Jess nicknamed Uno._DSC8187As wonderful as it was to see the little one exploring its new home, it was also fascinating to hear the parents calling out in a duet of unison calls.  I become desperate to “imprint” their song into my memory bank._DSC8190Of course, all of this louding calling out was puzzling little Uno and I don’t think he knew what to make of it.  (Note:  I have no idea if Uno is a male or female, but I will call it a “he” for now)._DSC8206Bugs … It’s What’s For Dinner.  🙂  The pair took turns finding some tasty morsels to share with Uno.  It wasn’t an easy feat to feed him either as he would repeatedly refuse or drop it.  The parents would have to mash it up a bit more and offer it to him numerous times before it finally ate it._DSC8215We tried to get down low as we photographed this little cutie.  It was quite alert to its surroundings and stayed pretty close to mom and dad._DSC7960It was a virtual smorgasbord of bugs too, which we could quickly see Uno had a few favorites._DSC8084All of this feeding and catching up made poor Uno tired … sometimes a nap ensued, while other times Uno just gave in to a good stretch of its still developing wings._DSC7977It’s so amazing the body size to foot size ratio of these guys.  Often those big feet would get tangled up in the grasses and brush and over Uno would go.  LOL_DSC8025Thank goodness I brought along 2 camera bodies because sometimes they got really close to us.  They really didn’t seem to mind us, as we sat still for the most part, though sometimes we got up, giving them their freedom to roam wherever they pleased._DSC8441Is this just not the cutest face ever?_DSC8395As if that sweet face wasn’t enough, sometimes Uno would wander into the pretty wildflowers in the area and really offer a great shot._DSC8293Now where in the world is this guy going?  When they get up their energy and run, I can’t contain myself and begin to laugh, making shooting a bit difficult._DSC8330Oh, it’s that big, juicy worm, which mom or dad dropped in front of Uno._DSC8454As you can see, those worms were definitely a hit!_DSC8471Yes, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a self-proclaimed “CRANIAC”.  How could anyone not love them?  I mean, they were even blessed with that red heart, so identifiable, on the top of their heads.  🙂_DSC7896Being the only child, I would expect that Uno would grow up quickly.  I sure hope that Uno grows up to be a big beautiful crane … and I can only hope to be reunited one day with him, perhaps photographing its own offspring._DSC7999Well, got to go …. thanks for the memories Uno!_DSC8144

Next Up:  More photography and stories in the area between Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP.

© 2016  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography


Friends In High Places

Photography offers so much … from beautiful scenery to wonderful wildlife interaction to travel opportunities to understanding and appreciating one’s surroundings.  The sharing of those images offers those who can’t be there to experience just a slice of the adventure at hand.  It may also provide the viewer an opportunity to “check a place out” to visit or plan for a future visit.  However, there’s a huge opportunity that many seize, though still some overlook … that is, the friendships that are made along the photo-sharing path.

Enter Grand Junction, CO….

Of course, this was Tom’s cycling road trip and I was along for the ride, trying to experience it fully for myself through the photographic sights along the way.  Another mecca for both mountain and road cycling is the Grand Junction & Fruita area, so I knew that it would be on our agenda.  Of course, now when I think of Grand Junction, I think also of the amazing photography work of Amy Hudechek and her mom Bev Zuerlein, friends I have made over the years while sharing images on Flickr.

Amy & I made plans to meet up and she graciously agreed to show me some of what Grand Junction had to offer.  So off we went to Grand Mesa for some prime time lighting landscape shots.
20150713-DSC_5128 Yes, the wildflowers were out in force, with these yellow blooms being one of my favorites. Reminded me a bit of the yellow blanket of canola fields in the Palouse of Washington state from 2014.20150713-DSC_5136

Situated at 10,000 ft elevation, when you arrive at the “end of the road”, it’s an amazing view – both for landscapes and the various critters and birds milling around.  Seeming like they wanted their photo taken, I was only too happy to oblige.  🙂20150713-DSC_4692 20150713-DSC_4703 Several large ravens were nearby, as well as this beautiful Clark’s Nutcracker.20150713-DSC_4646 As we were making our way back down, we came  across some wonderful columbines, one of my favorite flowers.20150713-DSC_4715 Making a quick stop at Island Lake, which was so very beautiful as well.20150713-DSC_5153

Amy suggested that we stop and have lunch at the True Grit Cafe in Ridgeway, CO.  What a great place, though it was a bit crowded on our visit, due to an event in nearby Telluride. However, you absolutely couldn’t beat the views of the San Juan Mountains from the outside deck.  So very charming.20150713-IMG_2762Just about when we finished eating, I got a text from Tom saying how he wished he was touring the area with us.  So while walking back to the car, I spotted this Fire Dept building and captured this iPhone image and sent it to him.  Yes, see, I was thinking about him.  🙂
20150713-IMG_2763 Amy took me to so many fabulous places along the way.  A favorite of mine was this old IH (International Harvester) truck.  Set in the middle of a field of yellow bloom, it was perfect with its rusty surface.  Love it!20150713-DSC_5173 Amy knew of a horse corral with amazing backdrop views as well and we spent some time there as well.  Though the corral was empty when we were there, how could any horse mind calling that place home!20150713-DSC_5184 While we didn’t see the horses, we did see some cattle, who were hanging out close by to where Amy parked the car for our visit.  Loved the way this one gave us the total stink eye as we loaded up in the car again.  LOL20150713-DSC_5197 Yes, the area surrounding Grand Junction has everything and then some for the outdoor nature photographer.  I was very happy to have been able to get out and see some of it.  Thanks Amy!20150713-DSC_5195 When I got back to our rental condo, I told Tom that I wanted to try to photograph the sunset from the nearby Colorado National Monument.  It was my first visit there, though Tom had been cycling up there earlier, and I think that the bighorn sheep “got the memo” and came to check me out as well.  🙂20150713-DSC_4748Looking west from the monument, the sunset proved to be quite beautiful, as expected.
20150713-DSC_5210-HDR It never ceases to amaze me how the light changes so quickly and the colors get so varied, even when the sun had set.20150713-DSC_5244-HDRIt was the perfect ending, to the perfect day.  But there’s more …

Next up:  After the sunset, there’s always another sunrise the next day.  Stay tuned!

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography