Western Wild

Dave Showalter's Conservation Photography Weblog


Absolute Cold – Vedauwoo

January 15, 2013 | Permalink | Post a Comment

Vedauwoo Rocks and Aspen On a Cold Winter Morning. Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

Absolute cold has a way of cleansing the soul unlike anything else – life’s distractions disappear like frozen breath in sub-zero air. Purity of light, true blue sky, hoar frost on grass, sage, and chaotic aspen branches, and the crunch of snow underfoot make these mornings memorable. The sun’s warmth in little alcoves out of the wind is surprising in spite of the -12 F temperature. The raven doesn’t care that it’s so cold, but does scold me when I skirt a giant boulder and come into view. Other than a few LBJ’s (little brown jobs) that burst from a shrub, the raven is the only creature moving. Deer, rabbit, and fox tracks give clues to some other residents – maybe I’ll spot them next time. I used to come here in my teens and still get the same feeling of discovery, wonder, and peace today.


2013 Sandhill Crane Workshop – Space Available

January 9, 2013 | Permalink | 2 Comments

We still have space available for a few more photographers at the Zapata Ranch Sandhill Crane Workshop. The dates are March 11-15.

I’ll be back with acclaimed photographer Michael Forsberg at one of the best venues in the land and we’ll photograph sandhill cranes in the San Luis Valey at the peak of the spring migration – when up to 27,000 cranes visit the valley! We’ll also explore the Zapata Preserve, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and more. It’s a great photo experience in a supportive environment – and Chef Mike’s meals are pretty awesome too. Click the link above if you’re intersted in joining us or just call (719) 378-2356 – 888-5-zapata (toll free) e: cowboy@zranch.org


Upper Hoback – Saved!

January 2, 2013 | Permalink | Post a Comment
upper hoback river, noble basin, wyoming range

Wildflowers Above Noble Basin : Prints Available

It’s official – The Trust For Public Land completed the purchase of PXP drilling leases in Noble Basin, the Upper Hoback River of the Wyoming Range. This is the single most important thing to happen in Western conservation in recent memory; not only because of the importance of this land to Greater Yellowstone, but for the way it happened – a grassroots effort that involved folks from across the spectrum, pulling together to preserve some of our Western heritage and create a lasting legacy. Thanks to TPL, TWS, WOC, Citizens For The Wyoming Range, Dan, Dave, Steff, Carl, and everyone who used your voice to stand for something so important. It’s a great day for Western conservation! The press release is here: (more…)


Welcome Twenty-thirteen!

January 1, 2013 | Permalink | Post a Comment

The first sunrise of the new year squeezes through a gap in the clouds to light the Flatirons. Boulder, Colorado

Partly because we could have the gargantuan vegetarian breakfast at Turley’s, we headed out with Abby the labby for a walk below the Flatirons to welcome in the new year. A simple study of a place that we love.

Colorado Mountains

One More For 2012

December 31, 2012 | Permalink | 2 Comments
Byers Peak, Winter Park Ski Area

Vasquez Winter : Prints Available

 Layers of strastrugi snow lead to sunlit Byers Peak (12,804') and the Vasquez Mountains. The high wind-blown ridge where I made the photo is above the Winter Park Ski Area. 

Happy New Year!

Photography, Wyoming Mountains

Peace On Earth

December 25, 2012 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Dave and Marla in wintery Colorado, USA!


2012 Rearview

December 21, 2012 | Permalink | 24 Comments

A look back at 2012 – in pictures of course :) Happy Holidays and here’s to a grand 2013!


“Lift Off” An adult bald eagle takes flight from a snag near Lake Derby. Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, CO. This eagle landed to my south while I was facing north, aniticpating eagles returning to the roost in the evening. We spent a few minutes together before he left for the roost. I guess he was checking me out. Haliaeetus leucocephalus (more…)

Photography, Wyoming

Ferruginous Flight

December 20, 2012 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Composite panorama of a ferruginous hawk in flight. Red Desert, Wyoming

I’ve been looking at this set of ferruginous hawk images for months, thinking there’s something interesting here beyond a single frame of a hawk in flight – which I’m still happy with because ferruginous hawks summer in Wyoming’s sagebrush deserts and they’re a Federally threatened species. I fooled around with a timelapse, but that didn’t work becasue the bird blipped up and down in the frame, which could induce nausea. Looking at the series of 22 images, there’s this flight sequence that looks really rhythmic and the backgrounds are almost the same blue. I’ll keep fooling with it to get the blues to the same tonality, but I’m pretty happy with this for now. What do you think?

From The Vault, Prairie

Ocean Of Grass

December 14, 2012 | Permalink | Post a Comment
comanche national grassland, timpas

Ocean Of Grass : Prints Available

 Gazing across open spring grassland in the Timpas, or northern unit of Comanche National Grassland, I recalled stories about an ocean of grass. Early settlers compared the waving grass to the sea and often became disoriented on the open Great Plains. The Timpas Unit of the grassland is south of LaJunta and easily accessed.

“As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country as the water is the sea… There was so much motion in it, the whole country seemed somehow to be running.”
Willa Cather



December 11, 2012 | Permalink | 4 Comments
bighorn sheep, absaroka front

Fighting Bighorn Rams : Prints Available

 Bighorn sheep rams battle for the right to mate during the autumn rut. About 80% of Wyoming's bighorn sheep population live in the Absaroka Range. The North Fork herd migrates from Yellowstone National Park.

I returned late last week from an 8-day trip to the Cody area. My ambitious plan to photograph the big Yellowstone elk migration got rearranged because of fickle, dry, warm weather and other factors; so I recalibrated and focused on bighorn sheep and landscapes in transition. I’m still amazed at the wild diversity of the Absaroka Front – grizzly bears are still out, bighorn are mating, the Bighorn Basin has the highest density of golden eagle anywhere, and I photographed in alpine, sub-alpine, riparian, canyon, and sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Did I mention wind? It’s one of the most difficult challenges for a photographer to deal with, but it comes with the territory in Greater Yellowstone. Enjoy the photo essay: (more…)

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