Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Trinities.

The Marble Mountains are still closed due to wild fires and extreme fire danger. I decided to head to the south end of the valley and up toward the northern tip of the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

I chose this particular spot, and a camp on Fox Creek, because it is the coolest hot weather camp I know of. A trailhead into the Trinity Alps is only about a 1/4 mile up the road. What I hadn’t counted on was a sudden drop in general temperatures. We were suddenly running 20 degrees below normal for this time of the year, which made it a really cool camp! Actually chilly at night and in the morning. I didn’t entirely escape the smoke from the fires which have been burning literally all over northern CA. It would clear out at night, and the stars were shining. It was clear in the morning, but as daytime temperatures began to warm up the smoke would drift in again. From the ridge above camp I could look down into the valley where I live, and it looked like it was socked in with fog. It was good to be in the mountains.

The first few days I had the country to myself, and it was great. An hour and 45 minutes on the yellow mare and I was at Mavis Lake. The fishing was hot, but the fish were small. Rainbow trout of about 6 - 7 inches. They were biting so fast that there wasn’t a chance to catch a really decent fish. This used to be a really good brook trout lake, but it seems the powers that be have decided to plant rainbows everywhere. That is sure all I caught. They fit nicely in a frying pan, but I’d rather eat a brookie any day!

By the middle of the week the weather began to warm up again, and on Thursday morning the trailheads began to show activity. The archery deer season was set to open on Saturday, and with the Marbles still closed a lot of people had the same idea I had. They started flocking to the Trinities. Several parties packed in either on foot or with horses and mules. Several people checked out my campsite to see if it was available, but I already had squatters rights. I stayed in camp Friday to “hold down the fort” and several people set up a camp farther up the creek. Saturday morning resembled the opening of rifle season! Bow hunters in full camo and war paint, road hunting in pickup trucks and ATV’s. Toward evening someone did open the rifle season about a month early, as there was a single gun shot on the ridge above camp. I had about enough, and I began to pack up such items that I wouldn’t need in the morning. Sunday morning, after breakfast, I tore down the camp, loaded dogs and horse, and pulled out for home. I’m back in a hot smokey valley again and hoping for rain.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The ranch.

There is a ranch across the valley that is fast becoming a favorite place to photograph wildlife in a mostly undisturbed and natural environment. Yesterday I drove over there at the invitation of the caretaker. I saw several deer laying in the shade of some oak trees before I even reached the caretaker’s trailer. One doe (picture above) had an unusually small fawn for so late in the season. I doubt that it was more than a day old, and was busy at the "lunch counter". I stopped the truck and took a quick grab shot with a still camera, hoping for the best as I shot at high telephoto without any kind of a support. I reached for the video camera and a window mount, but Mama wasn’t going to stand still long enough for that. She moved off with her youngster in tow.

After picking up the ranch caretaker, we took a drive on the hillsides above the ranch. The place was alive with deer, bucks still in velvet. The trick as usual, was to catch them in a suitable spot for pictures, and hope they would stay put long enough to shoot some video footage. This link http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v610/BobMc/Video%20clips/?action=view&current=4448ffdb.flv
will take you to some streaming video that I put together. This is a large file (5.88 mb), so if you have a slow connection you might as well go have a cup of coffee while it downloads. Maybe two cups!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I have a friend, a summer caretaker on a ranch, who calls me from time to time when conditions are right to photograph the wildlife found there. I recieved such a call recently, gathered up a couple of cameras and a tripod, and drove over to his place.

These turkeys didn't give me a chance to mount the camera. They were running along the edge of a field, and I ran along with them, snapping pictures as I ran. Only 1 was worthwhile, the others being just a blur.

We cruised around the ranch and found more turkeys and a few deer. If you click on this link, it will take you to some video footage that I shot that evening.