At a time of the year when many newly engaged couples plan their wedding and dream of a new life together, another celebration of new life happens in the wilderness as big game animals birth their young. While I anxiously await the coming weddings of my brides and grooms, I am always up for some cross training of my photographic skills, plus a little exercise. By carting a beastly 600mm telephoto lens up into the bedrooms of these majestic animals, I’m able to capture the beautiful spring moments of ewes and their young lambs. While I didn’t get to witness any lamb births today, my respect for the agility of these animals revived as I scrambled into their habitat, not to mention the fact that the newborn lambs are up and negotiating these craggy ridge lines within hours of their birth. Just to come within camera range of these beautiful creatures, the wildlife photographer must climb staggering heights with dangerous drops all around. These are the areas where sheep feel safe from predators and are able to elude the mountain lions that hunt them relentlessly.
My thanks to Arizona Department of Game and Fish for their stewardship, as well as countless volunteer hours from the Arizona Desert Bighorn Society and the myriad other science-based conservation and hunting organizations that preserve our precious wildlife resources for generations to come.