February 10th, 2010
I convinced several people to take a mountain gorilla trek side trip to Zaire during one of my Kenya/Tanzania trips. The journey from Nairobi to Zaire was worth a separate story in itself but once there and settled in we began our daily treks. You are at about 9,000 feet in Virungas National Park cloud forest so trekking with camera gear ain't exactly easy. However, once we found the small group of gorillas all the pain went out the window. This was, and still is, the most significant encounter with wildlife I have ever had (even beats my diamondback rattlesnake bite!). The mountain gorilla is a highly endangered species and, even now, years later, still only numbers in the few hundreds in the wild. This silverback, Rugabo, kept a close watch over his small group and was a very protective father. You can see him interacting with a very young gorilla in another one of my gorilla images on this site.
Sadly, not long after I left Zaire, Rugabo was killed by poachers. He was one of the few mountain gorilla silverbacks alive and he will be missed. Look deeply into those eyes. There is power and strength there that is hard to fathom.
So long, Rugabo, friend- I will miss you!
January 22nd, 2010
This is not one of my images for sale on FAA although I have been surprised by the number of people who have asked via other sites for a print. The subject matter is not one that brings to mind cute fuzzy creatures, its a deadly venomous western diamondback (crotalus atrox) striking a green jay (cyanocorax yncas) at a small waterhole where I was photographing bathing birds in south Texas. Two of these beautiful but raucous green jays flew into the waterhole and were looking to bathe. Suddenly they split and one went to the "other" side of the waterhole while I continued to photograph the one that stayed put.
Suddenly I heard loud cries from the other jay and looked over to see that it had been struck right behind the head by the diamondback (in a large rendition of the image you can actually see the base of one of the fangs). I was so stunned I almost did not push the shutter but reason won out and I quickly refocused and shot a whole sequence of this action, the last shot is just the feet sticking out of the mouth of the rattler. Interestingly, rattlesnakes usually strike their prey and then let go choosing to follow the heat trail rather than deal with a flailing animal first hand. Here, the rattler never let go, seeming to know that the bird might fly off and the rattler would lose a meal. It took about five minutes for the jay to "pass on". Then the rattler repositioned the body to swallow it head first so the wings and feet would fold flat against the body making swallowing easier. It was fascinating to watch.
A side note: about five minutes before the jays landed I got out of my blind and walked over right where the rattlesnake must have been laying in wait to make some perch adjustments. I probably was standing right next to the snake without knowing it was there. I handle rattlesnakes a lot when photographing them in the wild (with a bite on my thumb to show for it several years ago) so am pretty familiar with them and not afraid, respectful but not afraid. However, NOT seeing this five footer which must have been within five feet did give me pause.......
Stay well Keep creating
January 7th, 2010
I hope to add a weekly "Story Behind the Image" blog entry to give you a little insight into some of the more interesting images that are available as prints on my Fine Art America site.
For this week's image: 781000006 Ice Sculpture Ripples
Would you believe this ice cave is really only about two feet high and was formed by the snow melting off the corrugated tin roof of the visitor center in Sequoia National Park and refreezing? I was with a group of landscape photographers exploring the Park when I found this great little scenic. We worked on this scene for a couple of hours creating all different kinds of compositions. This image is available from this site as a Fine Art Print.
January 7th, 2010
I spent several weeks one summer trying to get "striking" images of summer monsoon storms in Bryce Canyon National Park. I made several trips based on weather forecasts with no luck. Then, as the season was drawing to a close, I got lucky and captured this image from Sunrise Point. As I captured this image, the air around me began glowing with a greenish color and the few hairs I have on my head tried to stand up. I decided standing next to a tall, metal tripod in a lightning storm wasn't the smartest thing I had ever done and beat a hasty retreat to my car. But, I got the image and it is available on this site as a Fine Art Print.
December 19th, 2009
My new website is up and running at www.strikingnatureimagesbydavewelling.com. Site currently has about 300 images and more being added all the time. The site is fully keyword searchable and is set up for Rights Usage Licensing. Please take a minute to visit and please let me know what you think and any suggestions or critiques you may have. Thank you. You can search for images on this site by typing in keywords in the box below: