Landscape and Nature photography by Shane Srogi

Slideshow

Amphitheatre at Flamingo

 

 (Shane Srogi)

Amphitheatre at Flamingo has been selected for the LONG SHOT 2010 gallery show.


Canyonlands Dramatic

So we’re in this spring storm and even though we’re down in the canyon and not on top of the mesa we’re in for a rough ride.  A couple of hours of being buffeted around and very glad we’re got the truck.  Reading and playing games only go so far.  Wilderness travel means passing the time waiting for the weather to pass.  No matter how well you think you know someone being stuck in a tent and weathering a storm will be a learning experience.

Always have your gear ready because you never know.

BAMB!

The light changes like that subtle as a truck.  With the wind blowing like it is.  I’m guessing I only have moments to capture it.  I grab my camera and start to run toward a location I had scouted on that mid-day hike.


White Rim Trail Road

On the White Rim Road

Before we get back to the Storm story let me back up a bit and give some background on the White Rim Trail road.  I’ve been fielding some email about the road and hopefully this will speak to those questions.  The White Rim Road is a 100 mile 4×4 dirt road that loops in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.  You can either travel the road by either Mountain Bike or 4×4.  It’s not technically difficult as far as mountain biking goes but you do have to be in good condition.  The Park service calls the four wheel drive moderate.  An experience driver is a must this isn’t the place to cut your four by teeth on.  That said it’s quite an adventure.  While other friends go on a vacation you’ll go on an experience and annoy them for month’s afterword with stories.  The peace and solitude of this wilderness is offset by white knuckle driving.  With every flat stretch my companion and I knew there would be something technical to navigate very soon.  I would recommend a narrow truck with good visibility over the hood.  You’ll be climbing with no view of the road in front of you.  Bring an extra cooler!

This trip is wilderness travel.  There is a scene in The Hurt Locker where the main character comes back from deployment and is overwhelmed by the supermarket.  Too much color too much sound and too many people, sensory overload.  I measure my wilderness experiences by this.  My companion had never felt this before and she bailed within thirty seconds of being in the Ranger station, which was a calm place with only a few people.  As I filled out the wildlife report the Ranger, an obvious student of Edward Abbey from his one foot long beard, on duty gave me a knowing look.

I walked outside and said to my friend “you think that was crazy wait till we get to the supermarket in Moab.”

Start planning your trip now!  Go!


Of flowers and scars

Don’t give up.

A Magnolia can take 15 to 20 years to bloom.  I’ve only seen this little one bloom once and it has not since, which has been over a year.  I find the whites and the curves of the bloom to be visually interesting.  It’s as if Apple took some design cues from this flower.  This image is less about a plant and more about doing what you do.  You may only produce something beautiful once in a long while but don’t give up.  This little guy has been through three hurricanes and looks a bit like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I like the blooms imperfections.  They tell stories.  I’ve got this scar on my hand from running for the bus in first grade.  I fell on the ice picked myself up and got on the bus.  The drive took one look at the rock in my hand and the blood gushing out and said “I can’t let you on like that.”  I didn’t know what to do….I can’t miss school I thought.  Next time you are out with a group of friends have a scar story time, you’ll learn something new about them.  And they you.


Two Wolves

 

 (Shane Srogi)

A Knowing.

It was an honor to get to know these wolves.  More curious than most they would watch the goings on at the sanctuary from a little mound they had in their enclosure.  This is my most successful wildlife image.  The first question I am asked “is that two wolves?”

It was the end of the day and I had two frames of film left in my camera.  I saw that the posture of both wolves formed a repetitive pattern.   Working quickly I composed the image, made the shot and with the sound of the camera shutter the wolf in the foreground turned and looked at me.  Two distinct images made in less than a second.  I had formed a bond with these wolves as the tours started with them so I spent much time waiting with them for people to gather.  Working as a guide and photographer at the wolf sanctuary gave me perspective.  Wolves are like all wild animals.  They act both as unique individuals and with the shared traits of the species.  They deserve respect.   View them from a distance, as you would any animal.  I think if people had the same attitude toward Alligators, Wolves and Bears as they did big cats there would be less conflict.  No one feeds or wants to pet a Mountain Lion.  One thing is certain Wolves inhabit the human imagination perhaps more than any other animal.


Mesa Arch

 (Shane Srogi)

Resilience at Mesa Arch.   

One of my favorite photos this was taken in the spring of 2000.  It was a very windy morning when I saw this tree being blown around I thought what a resilient little fellow.  I knew I had a shot.  Working carefully because this was the last frame of film I had, I made this image.  Although it had been in the 80s the day before there would be 3 inches of snow on the ground by noon.


Alligator

When you think of The Everglades you think of Alligators. Every Park is like that. The Alligator is part ambassador part indicator species. I’ve had some interesting encounters with Alligator’s. None threatening, basically animals are going about their day it’s up to the park visitors not to interfere. There is no mistaking the cat like hiss of an Alligator that has had enough. All wildlife require a personal space boundary, it’s a matter of respect and Federal Law.

The health of the park it’s self can be measured in the animals that call it home. Some of the challenges facing the ancient animal are easy to see, like enough water and habitat. Things like pesticides are invisible but deadly. The python has invaded the Everglades and found a habitat to thrive and multiply in. They have been known to attack Alligators. Bold.

For the Nature Photographer Alligators make fine subjects. They hunt from stealth so stillness is one of their hallmarks. This large adult was perfectly happy to sun himself as I shot with my 300mm.


Arches

 

 (Shane Srogi)

Desert Solitaire.

A book I read well before I set foot in Arches National Park.  I remember a passage on how Abbey escaped the summer heat with a trip into the La Sal Mountains.  Celebrating he glissaded down a snow field with reckless abandon.  Instantly I recalled the joy of sledding in my youth.  Desert Solitaire is a fine book to inspire a visit to the American South West.  I recommend this read it while you are in the park.  I bought a copy in the visitor center to have something to do while escaping the heat and sun of the mid afternoon.  I found that it was almost like having Abbey there in his Ranger “uniform” leading a naturalist’s tour.  While photographing in the morning or evening I would wonder about some of my subjects.  Abbey would invariable answer my questions as I sat in the shade of a juniper.