The Covid Camping Nature Snapshots video features western flora and fauna, along with picturesque landscape scenery. A mellow music soundtrack is embedded and each photograph appears for five seconds. What this all adds up to is a pleasant 22 minute escape into the natural world of the wild west!
Back in August 2019, I set out on a six month camping tour with the goal of accumulating new material for the Destination West travel website. When Covid started showing signs of getting out of control a decision was made to keep on camping until a vaccine came around. Needless to say, the six month camping tour turned into a two and a half year ordeal.
August 2019 also was when I purchased a fast crop sensor camera with 200-500mm ƒ/5.6 zoom lens. The goal was to become better at bird photography. After the 2019 migration season my birding keeper ratio improved but I still had a long way to go. Studying up on bird photography e-books was the only way to learn during Covid, so I read several. As a result, the keeper ratio increased and I eventually became much more selective about the subject matter.
By the time the lengthy Covid isolation camping tour ended in April 2022, I had racked up a very large collection of wildlife photos. Every wildlife session usually meant adding another 1000 plus images. Because the RAW files took up so much space, I processed the photos with an SSD MacBook after dark while camping. Only the best RAW files and the finished jpeg images were retained, which greatly reduced costly data storage. Just like the Covid sunset images, the best of the wildlife photos were shared immediately at social networks just to help cheer up people during the pandemic.
The filming locations for the Covid Camping videos were just about everywhere west of the Rockies. I did a lot of meandering during the summer and autumn season wildlife viewing trips, so there is plenty to mention. The details about good places to go wildlife viewing can be found in my Destination West website, so be sure to follow the link on my YouTube page.
There are a few unique moments to look for in this video. One was when I camped on a grassy cliff that overlooked the Buffalo Grasslands and Badlands National Park. A large herd of bighorn ewes and lambs climbed up from down below, just to use the grassy perch as a sunset playground. The herd was only a few feet away from where I sat, so I had to put the super telephoto lens away and switched to much shorter focal length. The wild bighorn were cautious at first, but soon they saw that I was not a threat and they moved around as they pleased. The natural curiosity of the little lambs was captured on film, so be sure to take time to view the entire bighorn gathering event!
The blue light pelican scenes are also interesting to view. In fact, it seemed like every wildlife refuge that I visited turned into a pelican landing zone at dusk. This happened at Arapaho NWR and after heading southwest to the Ouray NWR, the massive pelican migration brought them around once again. Dozens of flocks of pelicans flying tight formations in completely opposite directions truly is a mesmerizing sight to see. When it is time for the splash down, that is when the comedy show begins. Pelicans definitely make some of the most awkward looking aquatic landings imaginable and it is a fun show to watch, especially when dozens are trying to land at the same time.
What made the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge event so special was all of the flocks of white pelicans chose the blue hour after sunset for their estimated time of arrival. The autumn season blue light is strong out west and white pelicans will actually take on a bluish tint as twilight nears. Thousands of pelicans basking in blue light while wading in the shallows is fascinating imagery, so be sure to check out these unique scenes!
A few months before the Covid camping venture ended in 2022, a mirrorless 105mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens was added to my gear bag. The extreme closeups and 1:1 macro images in this video were captured with the 105mm lens on a full frame mirrorless camera body. Some of the macro shots were tripod focus stack compositions and the entire depth of field is sharp. The rest are hand held macro images that show a very thin depth of field with a lot of bokeh. Hand held macro in the great outdoors is very challenging and it certainly is a cure for boredom!
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