And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion, because I never have...I live in Paradise. (Well, Paradise is really about 5 miles up the road, but that's neither here nor there. Well, it's actually THERE.) But even when living in your slice of Nirvana (not a town here, unlike Paradise) you still have to shell out money for things, though it's much cheaper than, say, living with the Teeming Millions. So to that end I've updated this page to where you can click the rectangular ..."Shop Now" button up on the right which takes you to my Pixels.com website and purchase high-quality copies of my photos that you see either here or on my personal Facebook page at www.facebook.com/steve.wolfe.75. You can buy prints in canvas, framed, metal and acrylic, and also as greeting cards and phone cases. If there's a particular photo that interests you here that you don't see at my website, please contact me via my site at Pixels.com and I'll put it up for you to purchase. I've been getting requests lately for copies of my photos, so I figure this is the easiest way to do it. And that I should have done this long ago.
Here's how I managed to get my lenses, bodies, and camera paraphenalia to qualify as a carry-on for Africa...
Now that I'm actually packing it's hit me -- I'm going to Africa! But I'll be taking my camera gear along, and that means fitting the 500mm, 100-400 and 17-55 l...enses, 1.4x teleconverter, 2 camera bodies, batteries, chargers, SD and CF camera cards, etc. all into one bag. And it has to fit the carry-on size limitations as I ain't going to have the baggage "handlers" manhandle my gear as a check-in. So I bought a Lowepro All-Weather (it has a weather cover, too) Flipside 500. I'm surprised at how easy it was to fit the big expensive stuff into the main compartment; the first photo shows it all packed tightly. Then I zipped everything up, tightened down a few straps, and pics 2 and 3 show what the finished product looks like. Air France's maximum dimensions are 22 inches by 18 by 10, and Kenya Airways are 22 by 14 by 7.8. My tape measure, with all the gear and even including my 15-inch MacBook Pro, comes out to -- drumroll please -- 21 x 13.5 x 9. Even the 1.2 inch difference in width with Kenya is fixable with a little more tightening of the straps. Whether it would qualify as a carry-on was a big concern to me; now I can breathe easier. And packing my check-in next? Easy-peasy. Africa here I come in a little more than a week! The plane flies out of LAX, so I'll be taking off on the drive to LA on Monday and stay with my dad this coming week.
Arizona Highways Magazine's Facebook page has a Friday Fotos "contest" where you submit two photos that are related to a weekly theme. This week's was "Your Favorite Place"and mine, of course, is nearly in my back yard -- Cave Creek Canyon. One of my submissions was not only chosen for the Friday Fotos gallery but was one of the cover photos.
I'm now back home in Portal but will be leaving on Monday the 19th for Los Angeles and the flight to Kenya on the 26th. Last night's sunset was odd yet spectacular; this is looking west to Cave Creek Canyon.
Here's the Africa safari I'll be going on with friends and fellow Portalites Lori and Mark Conrad week after next. We've also added an extension to Amboseli and Kilimanjaro. I'm in the process of tuning up my cameras in anticipation of The Big Event!
One of the most beautiful arches in Valley of Fire is this one, unofficially named "Windstone Arch". It's in a cave that's only about 3 feet in height; you can be right next to it and not know it's there. The best time to view Windstone Arch is early morning before the sunlight comes through the opening. I took about 30 shots before I realized you could make out hand prints in the sand past the arch, so I tried to smooth it down so they weren't so noticeable. It's my favorite arch in the Valley of Fire.
In this area of SE Nevada there's the Valley of Fire, the Bowl of Fire, the Fire Wave...but tonight it was the sky that was on fire. From my boondocking spot on the mesa, March 7.
There's a short slot canyon in the Valley of Fire called Pastel Canyon; it's right off the main road but it gets overlooked as The Fire Wave is nearby. Pastel Canyon is below me in the photo and this shows the fractured, tortured, and colorful area in the vicinity. Today (March 7) I'll be going to the Bowl of Fire near Lake Mead to explore its sandstone formations. I'll be leaving the boondocking mesa here south of Overton on Monday and be back home in Portal on Wednesday the 14th. Then it's off to Kenya and Tanzania on the 26th.
This location along White Domes Scenic Highway is becoming my favorite spot for last light photographs of the Valley of Fire. From the evening of March 3.
On February 23, my last day staying at Valley of Fire's Arch Rock Campground I drove the White Domes Scenic Byway to check out the sunset. The storm clouds were breaking up, but the evening light wasn't on the landscape; it was on the clouds. This time the clouds looked as if they were on fire. But there were still spots of sunlight here and there. And I think even the sinuous, curvy White Domes Scenic Byway road adds to the scene. It's a surreal scene that only the Valley of Fire can produce and is one of my favorite photos I've even taken there.
Its seems like I'm encountering desert bighorn sheep whenever I visit the Valley of Fire, so I've been in touch with a friend who is an interpretive guide in the Las Vegas area to ask questions as to how you age the bighorn rams (males) by the markings on this horns. She said this young ram is about to turn 4 years old; there's a "four year ring" that is dark and discolored which is being pushed out and is just above his crown. Just above that you can see his 3 year ring. So you can age a ram by counting the numbers of prominent rings on his horns, and the 3-year is the first ring you'll notice that is easier to see than the 2 previous ones.
Final photos from Trinidad's Asa Wright, a holiday stay in LaLaLand, and an Elegant Trogon in December...Oh, and this is Yosanna, one of the naturalists at Asa Wright, with her pet boa constrictor.
What with all the dramatic clouds and wacky weather I went out to the Valley of Fire's White Domes Scenic Byway and hiked a bit just before sunset to get the intense landscape colors and variety, and I wasn't disappointed. The Fire Wave seems to be Destination #1 for visitors now, with Parking Lot #3 enlarged, so I'm glad I've been there, done that. You go anywhere else and it's nearly empty.
Along with the photo up top, I took a video of my encounter with the adult bighorn sheep rams yesterday. It was cool, though a little disconcerting, to see the one ram -- a knowledgable friend said he's the leader of the group, and the oldest one -- slowly walk in my direction, though he was just trying to get past me with group of bachelor friends.
This is the video of my encounter with the desert bighorn rams during my hike near the Valley of Fire's Kaolin Wash along White Domes Scenic Byway on February 2...3. Make sure the video is set to HD on the settings to get the sharpest quality, otherwise it looks terrible; you can enlarge the video to fit your screen, too. You can see the one ram slowing coming in my direction, but keeping a wary eye on me. And then at the end, they all look at me at the same time, almost like it's choreographed. I thanked them afterwards; I always do that because I consider it a privilege to be part of such a moment with them or any of the animals I encounter. I'm just glad the video stayed in sharp focus. Woo-hoo!
I've been offline in the Valley of Fire for the past 3 days, and it was incredible. Despite the day tourists from Las Vegas with their cameras, expensive cars that I've never seen outside of showrooms, and people wearing cold weather gear that looks like aluminum foil (really!), the unstable, unusually cold weather made for stellar landscape photography. And oh yes, I also encountered this herd of bachelor desert bighorn sheep along the way.
I have 3 places that I regularly visit when I'm in the Overton, Nevada area: Valley of Fire, Gold Butte, and this one -- the Overton Wildlife Management Area. It's only about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, but it's still relatively overlooked.
The "OWMA" is 16,000 acres, more or less (depending on the level of Lake Mead) of diverse habitat that makes it one of the best places in southern Nevada for wi...ldlife, especially birds. It's a "mixed-use" area, meaning there's hunting during season, but it's still rewarding even during that time just to walk the inside roads -- if it hasn't rained recently, that is. I've visited OWMA every year I've wintered in Overton, and will be spending a few days there again during this February 2018 trip. Here are some photos that will give you some idea of how special this area is. These were mostly taken during past visits here, but I'll be adding photos taken during this current trip when I ramble through the OWMA.