Category Archives: SHOT FROM THE FILE

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl – Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow

     The crisp morning air and brightening sunlight spoke a promising  morning’s start in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation area … and the pledge did not disappoint.

     Without warning our safari vehicle abruptly came to rest in an open woodland by a stand of trees.  There, at nearly eye-level, sat a member of Africa’s largest owl species, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl.  Visually amazing in stature, its height [over two feet] was not the feature that drew my scrutiny.  Instead, it was the noticeably pink color of the bird’s eyelids that screamed for attention.

     In my copy of Birds of East Africa [Stevenson and Fanshawe], the authors describe the owl’s peculiar facial attribute as only easily perceived when the bird’s eyes are shut.

     I caught this portrait of the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl with its orbs mostly open displaying its salmon-colored eyeshadow.

~ Anecdote and Verreaux’s Eagle Owl capture, Eyeshadow © Jerry L. Ferrara.  Ngorongoro Conservation area, Tanzania, Africa.

Jaguar – Claw and Fang

Claw and Fang

Claw and Fang

The jungle held deep secrets
From emptiness they rang
Hidden in the shadows, yet,
one came as claw and fang

It blended into nowhere
It moved with stealth and grace
Its orbs set forth a death stare
and safety found no place

The jungle held deep secrets
It whispered them so soft
So when they came to be, yet,
too late it seemed so oft

~ Poem and Jaguar capture, Claw and Fang © Jerry L. Ferrara.  Image created in Brazil’s vast and enigmatic Pantanal.

Short-eared Owl – And The Storm Carried On

And The Storm Carried On

And The Storm Carried On

     The pre-dawn light had difficulty expressing itself through the moisture-laden overcast … and the storm carried on.

     As sun-up slowly brightened the ambience, a gentle zephyr continued swirling a mixture of crystalline flakes and sleet through the grassland’s scape and a silent-winged visitor came low over the terrain landing upon an ancient, snow-mantled fence post.  The Short-eared Owl had arrived … and the storm carried on.

     For the better part of twenty minutes the plucky predator keenly scanned, with both eye and ear, the nearby expanse, searching for a tell-tale murid movement or sound that would disclose the location of its quarry.  The reticent domain balefully glared back and was silent … and the storm carried on.

     Then, without foreshadow, the diminutive dynamo stooped forward and firmly launched to the sky.  Its flight in departing was as silent and airy as its arrival … and the storm carried on.

~ Anecdote and Short-eared Owl capture, And The Storm Carried On © Jerry L. Ferrara.  Image created during the winter of 2021 in eastern Washington State.

Sandhill Cranes – Courtly Cranes

Courtly Cranes

Courtly Cranes

     The light strained and struggled to stay above the skyline but the immovable horizon was winning the contest. Death was coming fast to the day. As darkness ever so sidled its inky existence into the landscape, a tidy trio of Sandhill Cranes softly winged their way into the subdued watery shallows … an eons-old evening ritual performed by the breed to secure a safe roosting site for the night. As the courtly cranes meandered without hurry through their pellucid abode, the light from behind the distant hills suddenly made a valiant last-ditch effort to live through the nadir of the unwashed atmosphere. The visual gift it gave during the endeavor was extraordinary in presentation as a dusty rose hue stained the blushing sky and clouds overhead, and was cast back onto the water’s mirrored veneer. The show was decidedly brief, metamorphosing through slight, imperceptible nuances that finally transitioned into gloaming … and then darkness. What was left in the end were the sounds of the marsh.

~  Anecdote and Sandhill Cranes capture, Courtly Cranes © Jerry L. Ferrara

White-tailed Deer – A Radiant Moment

A Radiant Moment

A Radiant Moment

     With the sweeping meadow ablaze at dayspring, a White-tailed Deer buck cautiously crosses the open luminous expanse. It was a radiant moment.

~ Anecdote and White-tailed Deer capture, A Radiant Moment © Jerry L. Ferrara

Gray Wolf – Stare Down

Stare Down

Stare Down

     It was incredible! The female Gray Wolf from the Agate pack just kept coming toward me. I literally had to back up to focus as she proceeded into the lens.

     And then she finally acknowledged my presence, putting her nose down to the snow and staring briefly into my universe. That acknowledgement was from a kindred spirit. No threat or aggression. A simple avowal of recognition. She was beautiful!

~ Anecdote and Gray Wolf capture, Stare Down © Jerry L. Ferrara

Brown Bear – Having A Look

Having A Look

Having A Look

     During their wanderings through tall grass, Alaskan Brown Bears periodically peruse the panorama by rising up on their hindquarters.  Whether the maneuver to ‘have a look’ is done out of plain curiosity, to assist where they are navigating, to avoid a surprise close encounter with one of their own, or any combination thereof, the stance isn’t always held very long.

     This one gave me enough time to catch it having a look before it abruptly dropped back down.

~ Anecdote and Brown Bear capture, Having A Look © Jerry L. Ferrara

Moose – A Tree Surgeon At Work

A Tree Surgeon At Work

A Tree Surgeon At Work

     Sometimes we only see the telltale signs as evidence of their passage through our property … huge hoof prints in the snow.  But it’s always most thrilling when the largest of our deer, the mighty Moose, actually debuts in real time.

     My wife calls them “the arborists” as they have a penchant for trimming the lower branches of some of our trees.  Here, one of the laughable-looking ungulates stretches its prodigious neck upward to grasp a spray of cedar, exposing its droopy dewlap.  This arborist is the perfect epitome of a tree surgeon at work.

~ Anecdote and Moose capture, A Tree Surgeon At Work © Jerry L. Ferrara

Burrowing Owl – Just A Bit of Nostalgia

Just A Bit of Nostalgia

Just A Bit of Nostalgia

     Just a bit of nostalgia. This is a Burrowing Owl, a diminutive diurnal dynamo of a predator that uses the underground dens of rodents as nests. I caught this winsome member of the species with a field cricket just before it ducked into its subterranean lair to feed its growing offspring. I made the image circa 1980 on Kodachrome film. WOW! That’s over four decades ago! I still have the chrome and it remains in great condition. The work I did on the Burrowing Owl holds particularly warm memories for me. It was instrumental in solidifying my early photographic career. Many of those captures continue bringing joy and pleasure to viewers/collectors today. Just a bit of nostalgia.

~ Anecdote and Burrowing Owl capture, Just A Bit of Nostalgia © Jerry L. Ferrara

Brown Bear – Ursa Luna

Ursa Luna

Ursa Luna

     The Brown Bear and the moon came together one Stygian nightfall to form the conjunction Ursa Luna.  Generally defined, a conjunction occurs when objects unite, or look like they come close to one another.  In “astronomic speak” the term is frequently used to describe a planet, or other celestial entity, appearing to be near another heavenly body like a star, a comet, another planet, or the moon for instance. 

     The image Ursa Luna was created one evening along the margin of a far northern lake.  As nightfall lowered its gloaming curtain, there continued an ever-brightening portion of the sky toward the eastern horizon, heralding the advent of planet Earth’s dancing partner, the moon.  From the darkness near the water, a soft, muffled, padding noise mixed with a splash here and there spoke of something traipsing the sand, rocks and the shore.  From out of the gloom a gathering phantasm morphed into a bruin which ambulated the lapping liquid lip of the lake just as the moon ascended the distant mountains.  At that moment the “conjunction” of bear and moon became Ursa Luna.

~ Anecdote and Brown Bear capture, Ursa Luna © Jerry L. Ferrara