So I’m back from a short but productive trip to a couple national parks. First up is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I was last there about 10 or so years ago, and managed to get really close to some wild horses, and got some amazing photographs. It was kinda mind blowing and amazing! I really tried to not have my hopes too high this time, as last experience was pretty high standards! This time? Even more amazing. Saw probably close to 50 wild horses, and at one point was in the middle of them! Every direction I looked there were horses! Such an amazing time. I hope you won’t get tired of horses, because you’ll probably be seeing a lot of them in the upcoming months as I make my way through the photographs!
Sorry I've been a little missing the past few weeks, but I had a nasty bug, that I'm still trying to get over! I do plan to get back to my regularly schedule blogging, but I'm having a little bit of brain melt currently...
So in the mean time I thought I'd post a lovely comment sent by a lovely customer who purchased my Wild Stallion print.
"SOOO beautiful! I can't wait to frame this! Fast shipping and in great condition!" - Kristi
Thanks so much Kristi for your purchase and your feedback. Glad you liked it!
Day 2 in Namibia started with a walk to photograph the sunrise, and a fantastic breakfast at Canon Lodge. We weren't in a hurry to get on the road as we didn't have far to go. We saw both oryx and springbok on our way to Canon Roadhouse where we refueled and got on the road again. We arrived at the Desert Horse Inn early in the afternoon. The rooms were quite nice and after getting settled in we headed out to see the desert horses.
We spent the whole of the afternoon in the Namib-Naukluft Park watching the feral horses. Several theories exist about the origins of these desert adapted horses. The most commonly accepted theory is that they are descendants of horses used by the South African military in World War I. These horses have been living on their own in the desert at least since World War I. They've adapted to the sparse food and sparse water of the desert. They will sometimes go up to three days without water. Most of the horses looked like they were in relatively good shape but a few looked undernourished.
A artificial waterhole was built at Gorub and this provides most of the water for the wild horses. It also provides water for other wild animals. While at the waterhole we saw most of the estimated 300 feral horses as well as oryx and ostrich. After sunset we even saw a jackal at the waterhole.
All of the scenery near Klein Aus Vista is gorgous. It seemed everywhere you looked was just stunning. I love deserts and think that they are truly beautiful places and Namibia had so many different and beautiful deserts.
We stayed at Gorub until after sunset and were treated to an amazing sunset. I recommend spending an afternoon here if you are in the area. I couldn't help but feel awed by these amazing horses. They've overcome so many obstacles to live in this dry barren place. You can't help but admire their determination and will to live.
Technical Notes: A tripod is a must for photographing the scenery, but a travel tripod may not be a sturdy enough tripod. My travel tripod worked for my wide-angle lens but the wind was such that I could not use it for my telephoto after dark. I ended up hand-holding the camera bracing my elbows on a table while using a vibration reduction lens to take photos once the light got low and the wind picked up. If you stay in the provided area to view the horses you are still a ways from the water so a 400mm or longer is the minimum you'd want unless you are photographing more environmental portraits.
While in Theodore Roosevelt National Park late this Summer I got to photograph some wild horses. This was the one animal I had really hoped to see, and I was able to get within about 5 yards of them on foot. It was truly amazing.
The behavior was amazing to watch. The stallion kept constant watch while the herd was grazing. Most of the time a mare would stand right beside him watching the opposite direction. After a while the mare would go eat and another would take her place keeping watch.
They did not seem overly concerned by cars, or even when I got out of the car to approach them on foot. They did seem to have a comfort zone, and if you got beyond it the stallion would toss his head and stomp on the ground. That was enough warning for me. The colt pictured at the top did seem to get a bit nervous when I got down on the ground for a different angle, so I didn't stay on the ground long. I guess as long as you stuck to the expected behavior and didn't get too close they could ignore you and go about their business.
I'm looking forward to going back and seeing more!