Posted by Michael Scott on May 25, 2012
Mr. and Mrs. Duck
First there is a warning quack, then a resounding quack-quack followed by the fluttering of wings. “There goes Mr. and Mrs. Duck” Tammy will say and we watch the pair skim over the water in the same easterly direction. And so the chain of events repeats itself, day in and day out as we take our daily walks. Ahhh, summer in the mountains of Southern Colorado.
When I was a kid, I’d take an old shoe box, poke a hole in the end of it and tape a piece of black and white photo paper inside. It always amazed me how I could miraculously produce a photograph using such simple tools. Today, it amazes me that with all of the fancy equipment I can’t seem to get a wildlife image that looks much different from those pinhole camera pictures. Shooting photographs or video of wildlife is an art form that I have not neither mastered. I am persistent however and I have the desire, a combination that will eventually unlock the door to success.
So, back to that elusive pair of Ducks and the comical scene that unfolds each time I try to photograph them. I’ve done everything shy of dressing in camouflage and building a duck blind to capture their image. I have indeed, crawled through the grass on my belly and hidden behind a nearby shack a number of times. Holding my camera in shooting position, I peer around the corner as if I’m an FBI agent on a drug raid. “Quack…Quack Quack….Flutter Flutter”, they’re gone before I can take command of my focus ring.
Quack…Quack Quack…..Flutter Flutter
It seems as though the same scenario plays itself out no matter what the subject matter is. Tammy and I drive everywhere with cameras ready and tripods extended for when and not if we see a heard of Elk, a Bear or a Mountain Lion. The way it really seems to work is quite different from what we anticipate though. In the past 7 days, we have seen a Blonde Male Bear, a Black Male Bear and a Momma Bear with three darling little Cubs. When we see something really great there is an adrenaling rush and a very confusing attempt to communicate with one another that could easily lead to disaster. “Stop” “Go” “Roll Down the Window” “ Move out of my way” “We need a new windshild” are the types of things you might hear in that moment. It’s not uncommon for me to lose my mind and attempt to take pictures from a moving vehicle, while I am driving. And then there are the times when we are whispering and moving very slowly to get into position. I open the door with the key still in the ignition and the “ding-ding-ding” announces to the whole forest that we are there, larger than life.
So go easy on me when you judge these pictures. They aren’t as easy to get as you might think. You can bet that I will be bragging it up when I finally get that award winning wildlife shot.
Posted in colorado, Photography, video production | Tagged: adventure, art, bear, colorado, cuchara, huerfano county, inspiration, la veta, law of attraction, oil painting, sangre de cristo, spanish peaks, video | 7 Comments »
Posted by Michael Scott on May 20, 2011
"Manataka" - Place of Peace
When we moved to our current home high along side of the West Spanish Peak, I felt a strong compulsion to name it. After all, we have 35 acres and it is easy to envision a massive gated entry with a ranch like name overhead for everyone to see. I grew up with romantic ideas of old west wealth, watching television shows like Bonanza, The Big Valley and High Chapparral and the idea of branding my property excited me.
This is a magnificent forest. Short walks from our doorstep in any direction put us in the midst of wild beauty, which can especially be appreciated from the first hint of spring until late fall. During that season, babbling brooks meander through tall stands of Aspen and Pine trees and exotic vegetation and fungi. Insect and animal wildlife is everywhere around you. The spotting of deer, elk, coyotes, bear and large cats is expected although the presence of our three dogs limits those visitations. I can easily envision Native Americans hunting and living in peace and harmony on this land centuries ago.
After quickly eliminating ridiculous cliché’s and copycat names for my ranch, a quick google search for the Native American word for “place of peace” I dubbed the property “Manataka”. The story behind another place called Manataka is fascinating, heartbreaking and woven into U.S. history. Manataka was a magic place where many tribes of Native Americans met as one to celebrate the life given to them by a great creator. The description of a hidden valley filled with lush vegetation and warm healing waters makes me think of a Shangri-la or a Garden of Eden. It must have been quite an experience to make the pilgrimage to this site, despite perhaps great distance and difficulty, to experience Manataka.
Manataka is now known as Hot Springs, Arkansas. Generations have come and gone since the western migration of the United States quickly ended the very spiritual use of that land. Many bitter tears must have been shed over such a huge loss. The Native Americans never wanted to own Manataka, they simply wanted to be one with it. The idea of the grand entry to this place using the name Manataka is now absurd to me. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to dwell here for a time. When this is no longer my home, I will find another Manataka.
Research on the subject led me to a great website: http://manataka.org/page2.html, please check it out.
Building a simple fence at "Manataka"
Posted in Inspiration, Michael Scott's Blog | Tagged: arkansas, bear, coyote, deer, elk, hot springs, manataka, native american, place of peace, southern colorado, spanish peak, wildlife | Leave a Comment »