Although every cat owner thinks they will only ever have one cat, the cats choose differently. Paul and I have had five cats since moving to Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Today is National Black Cat Appreciation Day, so here are pictures of our two black cats, Harvey and Londo.
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In my first excursion into the world with other people in 10 months, I began 2021 on a high note. Traveling with my friends Steve, Katie, and Jeff, we hiked to the top of the bluff at the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area, walked across the bluff to the far side and back. After 8.5 miles, it was my first physically distanced, non-mask wearing trip since February 2020.
Pronghorn are notoriously difficult to get close to in western Nebraska. They are naturally skittish and always on high alert for predators. Most people in Scotts Bluff County will see them racing in the fields away from anyone trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic animals.
At Custer State Park, pronghorn wander freely as there is little worry of their natural predators – coyotes, bobcats, and golden eagles – preying on them. Cars are always a danger, but they seem carefree as they run across the open land.
Pronghorns are diurnal and are active between dawn and dusk. They live for about 10 years. Some linger and let you get within 20-30 feet of them.
As I sat in my room at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park, I heard a distant pounding. It took a moment for me to realize this was not a second wave of mighty storm that had just passed through, but was the thundering hooves of bison who live in the park. I glanced out the window and witnessed at least two dozen bison pass beneath my gaze.
The bison were majestic in their gallop. I stood and watched them continue past the lodge and into the distance. Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour – three times faster than humans. I was too slow for pictures and opted to stand at my window and take in the beauty unfolding in front of me.
Whenever I have a chance to get away from the world and be in nature I take it. It doesn’t cure my PTSD and depression, but it sure helps to keep me calm by being away from modern society and its trappings.
One thing I wanted to work on in 2020 was becoming a better photographer. I’m an okay one right now. I know I can get better. It takes practice, thought about how to frame your picture and why you are taking the picture, and some more practice.
Before Steve and I even got out of his truck we could see them. They were several hundred yards to the north of us. Steve and I grabbed our gear. We made small talk about our choice of clothing that day. I chose my black t-shirt. I was cold now, but in an hour, I’d be warm enough. Steve had on his red sweatshirt and and a goofy knit cap to keep his head warm. He was warm now. We also knew he’d be plenty hot in an hour.
I sometimes forget that my 300mm lens really isn’t that big, especially when you put it next to his 500mm lens. Ovis Canadensis was on our radar today. It would be the first time I would ever see the Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep in person and the pictures were worth the wait.