Wildlife of North Texas

My career as a  photographer began innocuously enough after my major professor at Texas Tech University loaned me a camera in 1972 with the instructions to document the data I was collecting for a research project on coyote dietary habits. I became enthralled with the camera and what Kodachrome could do in rendering the color I saw when afield. Once the research was completed and I had to give the camera back I went out to Plains Camera on 34th St. in Lubbock and bought my first outfit which consisted of a Canon TL and a 50mm F1.8 lens. My career was about to began and I did not even know it.

In the early years my photo endeavors were almost exclusively directed to wildlife and the behavioral aspects thereof.  I broke into editorial shooting in the late 1970′s and by the mid 80′s was shooting heavily for the Big Three New York publications of Field & Stream, Sports Afield and Outdoor Life. During these years I shot approximately 50 cover images for these magazines including images published in many of the top nature publications in Europe. However I began to tire of doing exclusively wildlife and by the early 1990′s had branched out into many other angles of photography that would more fully satiate my creative intent. Sky, people, landscape, and history fascinated my creative spirit and I turned away from wildlife for quite some time to focus my energy and lenses on so many other fields of interest that would describe the great state of Texas.

A tremedous whitetail buck moves nervously across the open plains. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 lens handheld.

They say that our lives comes full circle and I suppose that this may be true. I have had a renewed interest in photographing wildlife and am excited at the prospects thereof. Although documenting truly wild creatures and not those rented from game farms or those confined in small areas behind fences requires a tremendous amount of time, effort and knowledge of natural history, I find excitement and renewed energy as I go into the field knowing that the indigenous fauna of Texas is my goal.

A wild javelina bounces across the rangeland to escape the percieved danger of my presence. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 lens handheld.

Too many people believe that fine wildlife photography can be achieved by simply spending a tremendous amount of money on  camera gear and then head  into the field. This is far from the case. In order for a consistent flow of great images to occur one must be well learned in the habits of the target species. By this I mean one must attain a thorough understanding of the behavioral traits of the animal of choice in order to recognize and capture the nuances that sets your photo apart from the rest. Understanding great light and its application, having the right equipment for the job and attaining knowledge regarding  your target animals  natural history will put you far ahead in the game.

This black-tailed jackrabbit or "hare" exhibits the huge ears that define the species. Note the warm backlighting on the ears so that even the blood vessels can be seen. The huge ears of the jackrabbit actually help dissipate the body heat during the hot days of summer. Canon 1D Mark II and Canon 400mm F5.6 lens handheld.

In this blog I offer you some images that define a few wildlife species from the rolling plains of Texas.  Many of these images were taken through several years past during my adventures over  the big ranch country that defines this region of the state and some are the result of my recent forays into the brush after once again having a renewed interest in documenting the natural fauna of North Texas. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the photographic hunt and come with me and my Canon cameras as we walk, crawl and wait in the burning heat of summer and the bitter cold of a Texas norther for the right shot. Enjoy!!

Four bull frogs wait out the summer heat with an escape route in mind. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 Lens handheld.
Three whitetail bucks wait for cooler temps of twilight as the sun sets on this hot summer day. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 24-105mm F4.0 lens handheld.
A wild bobcat stalks through the winter kill grass and eyes my position with curiosity. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 lens handheld.
A rare patternless diamondback rattlesnake peers curiously into the lens of my camera. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 70-200mm F2.8 lens with extension tubes handheld.
A fabulous whitetail buck moves through the high grass on a large ranch in the rolling plains. Canon 5D MK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 Lens hand held.
Canadian geese rise into the sun of early morning. Canon F1N and Canon 500mm F4.5 lens hand held.
Two rogue wild boar face off for a fight on a big ranch in north Texas. I lay in a hog wallow to get this photo. Canon 5DMK II and Canon 400mm F5.6 lens hand held.
Two big whitetail bucks duke it out on the rolling plains of north Texas. Canon F1N and Canon 500mm F4.5 lens hand held
A photo of "yours truly" sitting by a coyote den in 1974. Canon TL and Canon 50mm 1.8 lens with Kodachrome 64 film.

 

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8 Responses to Wildlife of North Texas

  1. Darla Sauter says:

    All the photographs are so very interesting! But my very favorite is the rattlesnake!

  2. Cynthia Hutchins says:

    Exhilarating! Surely you were not in the open, for the bobcat?

  3. Larry Heathington says:

    As always great Photo’s and a Great Blog. I too believe we come full circle as I am back home in Kingman, Arizona looking at the Vistas of my Childhood after a life spent in the search of wild critters and wilder Mountains and am happy to be here.. Via Con Dios Old Friend…

  4. Cheryl B. says:

    Your photographs give the memories of my heart, here in Crosstimbers region
    of our great Texas, visual evidence…..! Cannot stop smiling at ‘Jack’rabbit
    and bull frogs. Thank you, and again, thank you.

  5. Elaine says:

    I just discovered your site, thanks to an email from my sister, who works at A&M. I came to Texas in 1968. It was the best move I ever made (apart from marrying the best man in the world, of course). Your West Texas slideshow is just breathtaking! What a great talent you have. Thank you for sharing it!

  6. Harris Napier says:

    We have numerous jack rabbits on our ranch, but in 23 years have only sighted one baby. Very cute!

  7. Janna Moore says:

    Love all the pictures, but I couldn’t help but laugh seeing the four frogs just sitting on the edge of the water. They are to cute!! Thanks.

  8. Mandell Matheson says:

    I began my career as a photographer in the 8th grade (1951) with box camera/flash attachment shooting for the mimeographed junior high newspaper. Started as an apprentice photographer at the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City at age 16, using a 4×5 Speed Graphic, advancing through Rolliflexes, Nikon 35 mm cameras, and ending my photographic career in 1968 to seek other treasures.

    Had I seen your work, or anything remotely so precious as your images, I would have never laid my cameras down. Thank you for a special and amazing body of work.

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