Monthly Archives

June 2007

Photo of Antelope Canyon

Photo of the Day

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon near Page, Arizona. In January I spent a day there shooting the upper canyon (there are two slot canyons, “upper” and “lower”) and had a blast. We had Antelope Canyon virtually to ourselves (a small group of five) for several hours.

A photographer works amidst the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

A photographer works amidst the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion.
Image ID: 18011
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

Slot canyons are formed when water and wind erode a cut through a (usually sandstone) mesa, producing a very narrow passage that may be as slim as a few feet and a hundred feet or more in height. The Upper Antelope Slot Canyon is likely the world’s most well-known slot canyon, having appearing in films, television commercials and thousands of published photographs. The sandstone striations, wildly curving walls, ethereal light and tortured twisting passages that characterize Upper Antelope Canyon draw visitors and photographers year round, to the point that the canyon becomes jammed with people in the hot hot hot summertime.

A hiker admiring the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

A hiker admiring the striated walls and dramatic light within Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion.
Image ID: 17995
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

Normally the Antelope Canyon slot canyons are dry and sandy, but flash floods form suddenly, transforming the slot canyon in minutes into a roiling, water-filled trap in rainy weather. Tragically, in 1997 a flash flood in the lower Antelope Canyon slot canyon killed eleven people of a party of twelve. Both the upper and less-visited lower slot canyons in Antelope Canyon are accessible only through permit and are located on LaChee Navajo tribal lands near Page, Arizona.

Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, a deep narrow slot canyon formed by water and wind erosion.
Image ID: 18001
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

See Antelope Canyon photos, slot canyon photos.

GuadalupeFund.Org

Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Eco Fund Launched To Protect the Great White Shark – GuadalupeFund.Org

(California) June 9, 2007 Isla Guadalupe, Mexico has become the internationally recognized destination for divers seeking unprecedented encounters with Great White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). The 90 square mile island located in the Pacific is also home to many rare endemic species of animals and plants. In 2005 Mexico declared the island a Bio-Sphere Reserve under the watchful eye of CONANP the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. As is the case with many watch dog and eco enforcement organizations worldwide, long term funding for actual on site protections of this resource and the Great Whites that seasonally inhabit these pristine waters do not exist at this time.

Globally, shark aggregation sites like Isla Guadalupe have been decimated in the past few years by poaching, over fishing, and an uncontrolled trade in shark fins that takes an estimated 70 million sharks a year.

Recently a concerned group of shark diving operators, vessel owners and researchers stepped in to create and launch the Guadalupe Fund 501(c)3. Its stated goal is to move much needed cash and donated equipment into the Bio-Sphere for park staff and continued funding for long term white shark science/monitoring.

“The timing for the Guadalupe Fund couldn’t be better”, said John Conniff, owner operators of the MV Islander, which runs white shark diving expeditions to the island. “I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the past 8 years working at Isla Guadalupe. Over that time I’ve marveled at both the diversity and uniqueness this island has to offer. This fund, in conjunction with a robust effort from the Mexican government will insure that future usage is managed in a way that maintains the island’s integrity and protects its many resources; this island is truly one of a kind. Our goal is to make sure it stays that way for generations to come”.

Nicole Nasby Lucas from the Marine Conservation Science Institute has been involved in ongoing white shark tagging and photo identification research at this site for the past six years. “Our tagging and photo-ID research have shown that the Guadalupe Island white sharks aggregate here in large numbers during the fall and winter, leave the island and travel as far as Hawaii and then come back to the same spot. This makes Guadalupe Island a critical habitat for the white shark in this region and demonstrates the importance of protecting the island and its sharks”.

The diverse and often contrary nature of this coalition of dive boat operators, researchers and eco-tour operators is a testament to the immediate need for a long term funding source for this unique Bio-Sphere Reserve and all its inhabitants. The Guadalupe Fund is being managed by Marinebio.org with assistance from shark diving operator SharkDiver.Com and hopes to generate a minimum of $100,000 a year from concerned divers and shark lover’s world wide. All donations to this fund are tax deductible and gifts ranging from free trips to the island and the opportunity to name a Great White shark after donors exist for interested parties.

For more information visit:

Guadalupe Fund-www.gudalupefund.org
Shark Diver-www.sharkdiver.com
Nautilus Explorer-www.nautilusexplorer.com
Islander Charters-www.islandersportfishing.com
Horizon Charters-www.horizoncharters.com
Marine Conservation Science Institute -www.marinecsi.org

Photo of a Black Bear Cub

Black Bear, Minnesota, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Black bear cub in a tree.  Mother bears will often send their cubs up into the safety of a tree if larger bears (who might seek to injure the cubs) are nearby.  Black bears have sharp claws and, in spite of their size, are expert tree climbers, Ursus americanus, Orr, Minnesota

Black bear cub in a tree. Mother bears will often send their cubs up into the safety of a tree if larger bears (who might seek to injure the cubs) are nearby. Black bears have sharp claws and, in spite of their size, are expert tree climbers.
Image ID: 18746
Species: American black bear, Ursus americanus
Location: Orr, Minnesota, USA

This is a “spring cub”, an American black bear (Ursus americanus) cub that was born this spring. It will remain with its mother for about a year. At this size it is completely dependent on its mother for everything. A black bear cub is a natural climber and it is common for them to scamper 40 – 60′ up a tree trunk to avoid danger. Wedging itself in the crook of a branch, the cub will remain in the tree for hours until its mother grunts at the base of the tree, indicating it is time to come down.

Photo of a Cinnamon Black Bear

Black Bear, Minnesota, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Black bear portrait.  American black bears range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown.  They prefer forested and meadow environments. This bear still has its thick, full winter coat, which will be shed soon with the approach of summer, Ursus americanus, Orr, Minnesota

Black bear portrait. American black bears range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown. They prefer forested and meadow environments. This bear still has its thick, full winter coat, which will be shed soon with the approach of summer.
Image ID: 18742
Species: American black bear, Ursus americanus
Location: Orr, Minnesota, USA

In spite of her color, this beautiful cinnamon-colored sow (see her little cub?) is an American black bear (Ursus americanus), not a brown or grizzly bear (Ursus arctos). Black bears range in color from deep black to chocolate, cinnamon and red shades. She will keep her cubs with her through next winter, close by her except when she leaves them in a tree for safety when she needs time alone. For now they are totally dependent on her ability to forage for food and find protection, and to teach them these skills. By next spring she will have “kicked out” the cubs, who by that time will be yearlings and able to fend for themselves.

Photo of a Black Bear Climbing a Tree

Black Bear, Minnesota, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Black bear in a tree.  Black bears are expert tree climbers and will ascend trees if they sense danger or the approach of larger bears, to seek a place to rest, or to get a view of their surroundings, Ursus americanus, Orr, Minnesota

Black bear in a tree. Black bears are expert tree climbers and will ascend trees if they sense danger or the approach of larger bears, to seek a place to rest, or to get a view of their surroundings.
Image ID: 18745
Species: American black bear, Ursus americanus
Location: Orr, Minnesota, USA

Unlike their larger brethren brown bears (Ursus arctos), black bears (Ursus americanus) are skilled tree climbers. At the approach of larger bears who may injure her cubs, a sow (mother) will grunt to signal that her cubs should climb the nearest tree immediately, which the cubs do with surprising speed. When the coast is clear the sow will grunt again and her cubs will scramble down. Fearful yearlings, who are at the bottom of the black bear social hierarchy and no longer have the protective company of their mothers, will bolt up a tree at the approach of almost any other bear and even a sudden loud noise from a passing bird or squirrel.

Minnesota Black Bear

Black Bear, Minnesota, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Black bear walking in a grassy meadow.  Black bears can live 25 years or more, and range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown.  Adult males typically weigh up to 600 pounds.  Adult females weight up to 400 pounds and reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age.  Adults stand about 3' tall at the shoulder, Ursus americanus, Orr, Minnesota

Black bear walking in a grassy meadow. Black bears can live 25 years or more, and range in color from deepest black to chocolate and cinnamon brown. Adult males typically weigh up to 600 pounds. Adult females weight up to 400 pounds and reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age. Adults stand about 3′ tall at the shoulder.
Image ID: 18748
Species: American black bear, Ursus americanus
Location: Orr, Minnesota, USA

Just back from four days photographing American black bears (Ursus americanus) in the woods of northern Minnesota. I shot from 6am until 7pm each day, stopping for a few passing thunderstorms. I saw about 30-40 bears plus about 12 spring cubs. Fortunately, having bathed in DEET several times each day and wearing clothes soaking in Permethrin, I got no mosquito or tick bites.