Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Monday, April 12, 2021

Shooting Craps

 

Mutual fascination

No philosophy this time, just a lot of fun and learning.

Kim and I cancelled a trip to The Desert Photo Retreat a year ago.  You know why.  We finally got there a week or so ago.

 

Pyrrhuloxia
 

Our hosts, Ron and Janine Niebrugge, are snowbirds of sorts.  They spend summers in Seward Alaska and winters in a gorgeous canyon near Marana Arizona (north of Tucson).  They’ve created a lovely oasis with two fabulous bird blinds for photography and communing.  As if that wasn’t enough, Ron is also an expert in camera trapping.  We set out to learn about that, too.

 

Nocturnal drink, hooded skunk

If I’m honest, I’ll have to say the first night’s camera trapping was embarrassing at best.  The following morning we decided to engage Ron to get us up to speed which he did, admirably.  I’ll spare you the technical aspects of leaving a camera out overnight to photograph wildlife. I’ll just say that it’s something like gambling.  No matter how well it all comes out, you always think you can do better next time.  We came away with nice images of two species of skunks and of javalina.  Oh, and some mice which were not particularly photogenic. We know, though, that there are foxes, ring-tailed cats, and a bobcat (and the occasional mountain lion) out there, so we’re anxious to roll the dice again.

 

Coming in hot, Finch

Learning about birds was a gas as well, and I had a great time with the video game that is trying to get them in flight, in focus, and in an interesting position.  The process involves a lot of images of tail feathers at the edge of the frame, but who doesn’t love a challenge.

 

Home sweet home

The overnight accommodations are in a cozy Airstream with a full kitchen, shaded patio, and a comfy hammock which I slept in on the second might.  Though we didn’t do any astrophotography, the stars are spectacular.

Maybe we’ll tackle that next year.  Yes, we’ve already booked.

More Arizona wildlife shots are on the website, in the Spring2021 Gallery.