Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Denali - Caribou & Dall Sheep

Have been busy since my last post using all free time taking photography trips (backpacking and vehicle) into the park. The fall colors in the tundra have been amazing. The two species featured in this post are Caribou and Dall Sheep.

The Caribou in the top image and above is one of the largest males in the park. He is regularly seen in Wonder Lake (far west) area of the park.

This young male was seen on my way out to Wonder Lake. The afternoon sun in the fall tundra made for a nice background.

Sorry, but I had to include the above two images. Know I have inundated you with Mt. McKinley/Denali shots, but every time I see the mountain I am awed. These shots were taken just as the sun began to show some alpenglow on the mountain. The photos were taken at Reflection Pond, which is also in the Wonder Lake area. From this distance the mountain is a tad less than 30 miles away.

After taking a rather strenuous hike to the top of Mount Margaret (4,992 feet) with 35 pounds of photo gear, I was rewarded with a bachelor herd of 5 Dall Sheep rams. I have seen these sheep with binoculars near the summit (they stay in the higher elevations to stay safe from the wolves) from the park road on a number of occasions and really wanted to photograph them.

After photographing the group from a distance I sat down in hopes that the direction they were browsing would allow some closer shots. Lo and behold, they came closer and then actually laid down right adjacent to my location! Needless to say I was thrilled. The last thing I want to do is disturb them.

The moose rut is in full swing. I have been out in the traditional rutting area every chance I get. Next post will be some dynamic bull shots.

Blue Skies.


Juan C. Aguero said...

Hello Ken, tremendous reportage, very good photos.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Reflection Pond is the perfect name for that place Ken and as far as I am concerned, you can always include photographs taken there as they are awesome indeed.

That caribou sure has a very large rack of horns. He looks fierce.

I have seen video footage of those rams fighting and it is spectacular to watch.

Thanks for sharing these wonderful shots Ken.

Rocky Mountain Photography said...

ken Dang I have been wanting to photograph dall sheep for long time, great pics, we still on for Yellowstone in oct

Willard said...

Stunning images, Ken. The post is a perfect combination of wildlife and scenery. I too was impressed by the fall color.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Beautiful pictures, as usual, Ken! What treat for the sheep to move closer and then rest, giving you the chance to snap away.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Ken: This is certainly a trip of a lifetime and you have captured the beauty of the animals and landscape. Mt. McKinley is certainly a beautiful focal point.

Montanagirl said...

Excellent photos. Thought I'd pop in and say hello. I have come via "Country Captures". The name Conger is familiar - When I lived in Fairbanks, a Janice Conger was my "Mary Kay" lady. Any relation??

Elaine said...

Beautiful, beautiful! That first shot of the caribou with the fall tundra colors is exquisite, and the McKinley shot at Reflection Pond is gorgeous. You've captured so many wonderful shots in your summr at Denali, and I'm sure the time you've spent there will be something you will look back on with great pleasure.

Brad Myers said...

Beautiful photo Ken, we had little luck seeing Caribou and Dall sheep when we were there, but it was summer time and only for three weeks.

I can't wait for the next post now as Moose may be my favorite animal.

It looks like you are having the time of your life but I guess the trip will end soon.


Coy said...

Spectacular shots Ken!

The big caribou bull image is totally awesome! I have always thought of the caribou as the most beautiful member of the deer family. Not only is the animal spectacular but also the scenic tundra.

Your photos brings back memories of the beauty of the autumn tundra from three weeks I spent in Canada's Ungava Peninsula area some two decades ago.

Tim Rucci said...

Amazing stuff Ken, as usual. Your efforts really paid handsome dividends here. I have never seen either species so close and really enjoyed seeing your photos. The colorful tundra really enhances the backgrounds in your images.

We're vacationing in Ireland right now and I have not had internet access for the last few days, so it was a nice surprise to see your post.

Andor Marton said...

Great stuff Ken as usual. I was also busy in my vacation taking some pictures ... without internet.
That big male has some impressive horns ... and I think they could be dangerous too.
My fav is the young male ... the background is perfect.

Philip said...

Excellent Ken The Caribou looks kind of top heavey,awsome shots :)

BDConger said...

Great shots of the Caribou and sheep, what a summer of memories.

Nina P. said...

What amazing captures of natures grand beauty and grace. I'm glad you've been able to see a multitude of wildlife to capture forever with your camera. Reflection Pond with the Mountain in the background is breathtaking every time. Thank you for sharing a piece of this glory land with us. Love and Light, Nina P.

jeannette stgermain said...

A stunning pic color wise, and you caught the caribou in the perfect pose!