Face Off: Croc vs Hippo

In one corner we have a crocodile - 1500 lbs, 80 tearing teeth, excels at surprise hunting attacks.  In the other corner is hippopotamus 3000 lbs, a huge advantage in weight with thick tough skin.  Who wins as they meet face to face? We've all seen videos of crocodiles taking out wildebeest and zebras. Have you ever wondered how crocs and hippos interact? They both spend much of their time in the rivers of Africa. I had the privilege of learning first hand when a hippo died near it's pod. Crocodiles have an incredible sense of smell and over the next few days they came from miles up/down river to feed on the carcass.  When they were done feasting they would bask in the sun on the nearby banks and sandbars.  This hippo did not like the crocs resting in the area so he walked along the sandbar and one by one the crocs moved out of his way.  This particular croc was bigger and stood his ground for a bit before deciding he could find another spot. If you would like to view

Polar Bear Adoption?

Polar Bear Adoption? For Mother’s Day I wanted to share the story of a special polar bear mom. When we first came upon her in the sea ice we were excited to see a mom with 3 cubs. Seeing triplet cubs is extremely rare in the wild, partially because triplets don’t occur frequently, but also because the cub survival rate is low. In the early 2000's USGS estimated that only 43% of cubs survived their first year. These cubs are 1.5 years old so the odds of seeing triplets at that age are low but not impossible. After the sighting as we zoomed into our photos we realized that one cub had been tagged with a small white device in his ear. Our guides thought this was strange as a scientific team would tag the whole family. Based on a documented case of a polar bear adopting another cub they believed that what we were seeing was an adoption where the mom was taking care of another cub in addition to her own pair. Perhaps during an encounter on the ice a cub had mistakenly fol

Leopard Cub in Vines

Not all wildlife photos have an interesting story behind them, but when nature stories unfold before you it is an amazing experience.  I remember watching Wild Kingdom as a child and more recently National Geographic or BBC documentaries.  However, nothing can compare to multi-sensory experiencing of being there. This photo represents the story of a male leopard cub. The mother had hunted earlier that day and the partially eaten carcass was in a tree - yes you could smell it. Below that tree the female cub was eating one of the legs.  The male cub had been exploring but it was getting dark and he returned to the tree.  However the female would not let him approach the tree fiercely growling and hissing to keep him away.  Our guide indicated that this is normal and that when one of the cubs feeds even the mom cannot get close. We started to hear hyenas off in the distance.  They are nocturnal and although they can hunt, in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia their favori

The Rewards for Patience

Over ten years ago we purchased our first long lens and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve became my favorite local nature escape.  Over time I became busy with other things and my Bolsa Chica outings became infrequent.  Unfortunately it seems like the bird opportunities have also dropped over time.   Although it's still a wonderful place to visit - "slow" days seem to be more common now. In the past large numbers of terns splashing as they dive for fish was almost guaranteed in the summer.  I visited last weekend to try to capture this.  Unfortunately, all but a few of the terns were gone.  Apparently there was a large colony of nesting terns earlier this year, but most moved on about two weeks ago. I tried photographing the few remaining, but it just wasn't the same so I wandered the reserve in hopes of finding something else.  Nothing appeared - it was completely quiet.  I almost left it was so unproductive.  Instead, I went back to the area where the terns had

Let's Play!

Let’s Play! Today I would like to share a photo of a couple of adorable hyena cubs that we saw in 2015 in Kenya. A young hyena cub is trying to rouse an older cub to play. He was unsuccessful, so he wandered off on his own and eventually came back to cuddle with the older cub. The cub was restless and it wasn’t long before he was up and looking for more adventures. Hyenas live in social groups that are referred to as clans or cackles. These groups can be as large as 80 - which is why you see cubs of different ages in the photos. Mothers will share nursing responsibility and any clan member can bring back food for the young. The young are referred to as cubs since are closely related to cats. On a personal note, I am restarting my blog and keeping the content shorter and focused on one image. This should help me post more frequently 😉   I hope you enjoy it! If you would like to see more images from our trip to Kenya see our gallery below: Kenya Gallery References

The Impact of Reversing Images

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in Churchill Canada - Photo has been reversed  Original Polar Bear Image Recently I read an article in Outdoor Photographer:   Create Visual Tension  that made me reflect about the visual impact reversing a photo can have. I'm familiar with the concept of reversing a photo, but prior to reading the article I never considered it for my photos. Landscapes with identifiable landmarks like Yosemite's Half Dome or Colorado's Maroon Bells would look wrong reversed. On a deeper level part of me is bothered by a feeling of misrepresenting what occurred.  I do edit my images and modify things like color and contrast.  I have no problem using HDR processed with natural settings.  The camera cannot accurately represent all the colors that the eye sees so it does not seem a stretch to modify these areas. However, reversing a photo has always felt like it crossed the line in representing the scene differently. The sample photo, which is reversed in

La Jolla Cove - California Brown Pelicans

California Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) are one of my favorite birds.  They combine a distinctive mix of graceful flight with awkward clumsiness on land that make them so much fun to watch. January is the best time to view them because they are particular beautiful in their mating colors: bright red pouches, yellow heads and dark brown necks. La Jolla Cove in San Diego, California is a stunning place to view the flocks that gather there. Brown Pelicans Facts One of the unique aspects of Brown Pelicans compared to other pelican species is that they can dive from as high as 60 feet in the air to catch fish. The pelicans are protected from impact by a special network of air sacs under their skin, however the fish aren't so lucky.  These dives can stun fish for 6 feet underwater. [1]   Pelican pouches can stretch to hold about 3 gallons which is 3 times the amount their stomach can hold.  After catching a fish they will typically drain the water then sw


Hello World! I’m a software engineer by day, so it seems appropriate to start off my first blog post with “Hello World” J   For those who are unfamiliar the classic first program that you write in a programming language is one that outputs the words “Hello World”. When I’m not working my greatest passions are enjoying nature, photography and travel.  I combine the three together whenever possible utilizing photography to record and share the natural beauty and wildlife that I find. My goals for this blog: To share some of the phenomenal locations I've visited in hopes of inspiring others to visit. I believe that travel helps preserve the environment by encouraging others to learn and care about it.  It also provides an economic incentive for the locals to preserve the area. To tell the stories around some of the photographs. To provide tips on traveling to a location.  I can’t be a substitute for a travel guide, but I can provide tips based on my research and exp