Wildlife, especially large animals such as deer, elk, moose and bears, have always intrigued me. But I never considered using a camera to capture them until I became The World-Herald’s outdoor writer.
After church one Sunday, Ruth and I ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant. While in the U.S. Army, I spent 13 months in South Korea. I tried, but I never mastered the art of eating with chopsticks. As we ate, I noticed with envy a young couple a few tables away. They were exhibiting great dexterity while eating with chopsticks.
I have always wanted to capture an image of one of those trophy white-tailed deer for which Kansas is famous. Rick Dykstra of Junction City, Kansas, is with the Geary County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and his job enables him to feed his love of wildlife photography. He knows quite a few secret locations favored by wildlife and has shepherded me around on several occasions.
When you can’t get the entire head and antlers of an elk into a frame, you know you’re pretty close. Few places in America offer better viewing of elk than Estes Park, Colorado. They even meander along the streets and sidewalks of the town. Rocky Mountain National Park is near Estes Park. Ruth and I love to go there each fall and listen to the haunting sounds of bugling bull elk as they compete for cows during the mating season.
When Ruth and I began planning a trip to the Yellowstone National Park area, a visit with Lincoln photographer Sam Swartz was a requirement. Two years earlier, Sam led a winter trip to Yellowstone for me and two others who wanted to sharpen our camera skills. It proved to be a photography course on steroids.
I have always been a sucker for unusual cloud formations. I climbed the stairs of the observation tower at the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey in anticipation of shooting a typically spectacular Nebraska sunset. Instead, I discovered this aerial waterfall.
There are times when a favorite photograph is the result of someone else, not the photographer. It was 6:30 a.m., and Ruth and I were leaving Lincoln for Armstrong Station, Ontario, to visit the Brodhagen family. Dusty now operates Bear Creek Outfitters, an archery bear hunting camp, but his parents, Rob and Sandy, still have an active role. I’ve hunted with the Brodhagens for 13 years, and the reason for the trip was to show Ruth the area.
My perch in the Crane Trust blind along the Platte River near Alda, Nebraska, allowed me to embrace a truly spectacular sunrise. That sunrise was dessert. The meat and potatoes of the morning was being allowed to peek in the bedroom of thousands of sandhill cranes that roosted on the ribbons of sandbars in this portion of the Platte. These sandbars and braided channels offer protection from predators such as coyotes for the cranes, who roost in relative safety from dusk to dawn.
I often look up at a passing commercial airliner and wonder whether any of the passengers are gazing out the window and thinking about the people down below. I know the passengers can’t see individuals who are going about their daily lives. The plane is so high that I can’t hear the jet engines. In fact, I can barely see the plane. With the sun reflecting off it, the plane resembles a florescent dart as it leaves a contrail across the sky.