Wyoming Wildlife.

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Coming back from an epic long weekend in Jackson Hole this past weekend was a hard adjustment.  The beautiful scenery and weather were just two pieces to the perfect puzzle settled in Wyoming.  We were extremely lucky our first few days in town as we saw a small handful of Moose and one bear!  Also, of course all of the horses really put the cherry on top.

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We saw this baby moose with its mother when we were riding bikes to brunch.

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We saw this large moose on a local neighborhood street just cruising along.  He was huge!

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IMG_5203Beautiful sights.

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I didn’t get a photo of the bear we saw but he was swimming through the river in the park which was something I’ve never seen before.  The moose were definitely a fun animal to spot though and of course the horses were quite possibly my favorite.  Jackson Hole is a photographer’s dream and I can’t wait to share the rest of my photos with you!

3 Ways to Save an Elephant.

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A few weekends ago, my dad got our family tickets to go see the PAWS wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, CA.  I have been so excited to go check it out because I think it’s amazing what they are doing for large/exotic animals.  Above you will see Ed Stewart who is one of the co-founders carrying the legacy of the sanctuary on for Pat Derby, his long time partner who unfortunately passed away a few years ago.  They started this sanctuary to help animals who have been held captive for entertainment and if you check out their site, you can find out all about it.  Some of the videos of the animals being released into their large areas of land at PAWS brought tears to my eyes because the animals were so used to being stuck in small cages for most of their lives.

I was so moved by our visit to PAWS, that I wanted to share ways that you can all help too if you want to do something for these beautiful animals but don’t know how to start.

1) You can make a donation via their site hosted by PayPal.

2) You can adopt one of these animals here and no that doesn’t mean you will be taking them home with you 🙂

3) You can plan a visit on one of their few open houses a year like we did (see below).  The money for the ticket goes towards the upkeep of the animals.

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To set expectations, this is not a zoo.  It’s a place where the creators wanted the animals to live out the rest of their lives in a humane way.  We were fortunate enough to see a lot of the animals but they won’t coax them out just for visitors.

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They have very nice, air conditioned charter buses to get you around in-between the different stops.  There are many acres of land for these animals so it’s not possible to walk.

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Driving through the property was amazing, so many elephants roaming free.

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This cutie was putting on a show!

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This Asian bull elephant came right up to the gates as well.

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The bull elephants have to have much stronger fence lines as they can be a bit more aggressive if they need to be.  Keep in mind, they also came from circus’s and other places where they were mistreated.

IMG_3409Turkeys roaming the open roads between sanctuaries.

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There were three female elephants we saw that were sharing a large enclosure.  They don’t need as strong of fencing.

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This is Prince rolling in the dirt.  He’s an African bull elephant that hates people because of his life in the circus.  I don’t blame him.  It was so fun to watch him roam around.

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I believe this pretty girl was Maggie.  They were so sweet with Ed.  He really knows these animals.  One of the most interesting facts he told us was how they receive these elephants when they are traveling to the Arc 2000 (aka PAWS sanctuary).  The air force helps transport these animals on C17’s in crates, takes a few cranes as well, and Ed explained how nervous he gets when flying with the animals.  If anything is to go wrong during flight, the airplane would have to drop the crate to save the flight from a crash.  The nerves you must experience while traveling with the elephants must be through the roof.  Eventually, they land and with the help of some more cranes and semi-trucks, they are able to successfully transport the animals to Arc 2000.

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One of the elephants had a very cute stance for such a large animal.

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I was so mesmerized by these beautiful elephants and how relaxed they seemed.  It was really touching to know they will now live their life where they won’t be kept inhumanely.

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Although they deserve to live full lives in the wild, it’d be impossible to try to put them back in the wild now.  They don’t have the necessary survival skills.  Seeing Arc 2000 though made me happy to know that someone cares enough for these animals to devote their lives to trying to give them a better life.  If you feel the same way and want to help, check out the links about 🙂

Wild Horses.

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I’ve just returned from the most magical trip to Bosnia.  It was a dream come true to be able to get to spend an entire week surrounded by horses.  I was on a week long riding holiday in Bosnia at Kupres farm which I can’t wait to share all of the details and photos in the coming days.  One afternoon during our stay our host, Mate, offered to take us out to find some herds of wild horses and of course we were ecstatic to go.  We drove far out into the plains to find them where they were living as free and happy as can be.  This was one of the most memorable moments for me because seeing these horses surviving on their own in the wild just showed me their strength and independence.

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One of the stallions making sure no other stallions got close to his horses.  He was gorgeous.

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So many of them just grazing.

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They had no interest in us but they had no fear of us either.

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They had all the land in the world to call home.

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When we left, we even saw an eagle or a falcon.  It was hard to tell but both resided in the area.

I hope I get to observe wild horses again, it was peaceful and inspiring.

Seas the Day.

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Over this past holiday weekend, my boyfriend and I went on THIS awesome whale watching trip out of Moss Landing.  I had done quite a bit of research before heading out and was so thankful for that because we definitely chose the right tour.  We left from Moss Landing and within 10 mins of leaving the harbor, we were seeing whale spouts left and right.  Most of the other tours that we saw on the water had to travel at least an hour to arrive where we were which was much appreciated because the swells were massive (aka do NOT go if you get even the slightest form of sea sickness).  Our tour ended up seeing countless amounts of whales (literally couldn’t count how many we saw) and we really felt it was the most ideal day to see the beautiful humpback whales.

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Cute sea lions were everywhere!

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Sea Otter inspecting this man fishing.

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So much wildlife just leaving the harbor!

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Sun bathing 🙂

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Perfect beach weather.

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Initial spout sighting.

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Beautiful humpback whale tail.

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Two humpbacks going for a dive.

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Gives great perspective to the size of these whales.  Can you spot the sea lion to the right of the tail?  This whale was extremely large.  Also, that was another whale watching boat that must have been rocking with the massive swells.

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We saw countless whales and enjoyed a lovely day on the ocean minus a few large swell dips.  If you love nature and photography, this is the trip for you!  Just make sure to research seasons to make sure it’s the right time of year for the types of whales you’d like to see 🙂

Whale Sightings at Ocean Beach.

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If you follow our blog, you know how much I love to be outside.  The weather has been incredibly warm this week in San Francisco.  We are talking above 70s which is not the norm.  I took full advantage of the time outside which included a walk on the beach after work on Tuesday evening.  As I was walking out to the waters edge, I started seeing spouts bursting straight into the air.  3 of them right among the surfers and there were the most surfers I’ve seen out there in a while.  What I saw next blew me away, a large pod of humpback whales breaching and frolicking amongst the surfers.  I’m sure it wasn’t as neat to be a surfer and have one of them surprise you next to your dangling feet but it seemed like an extra special sighting that I felt lucky to witness.

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You can see one spout in the distance.

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Two of them here popped up to watch the sunset.

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It was truly unbelievable and I hope to see them again on my next beach walk.  There are places you can go in the bay area to whale watch and it looks like this weekend might be the time to do it!  Check out this company to leave right out of Pier 39 and maybe you’ll get luck enough to see these beautiful mammals navigate the seas.

Have a great weekend!

Berner Love.

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My parents got a Bernese Mountain Dog (aka “Berner”) at the beginning of Summer and I’m just in love with her.  She’s large, goofy, and oh so lovable.  Her name is Genny, short for Genevieve, and she’s the best.  With this whacky “winter” weather, we’ve been able to enjoy some outdoor weather together!

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My mom and I took Genny up in these hills to let her run around a bit.  It’s always nice to let the dogs run free and see that big, tongue wagging smile.

Memoirs from the SF Zoo.

imageMy boyfriend and I ventured to the zoo recently and my oh my did the animals have some attitude to show.  I absolutely love animals so I enjoyed getting to see the tenants at the SF zoo.  If I could award the animals awards for their sass, this is how they’d go…

imageBest butt: the Zebra.

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Best Facial Hair: Monkey.

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Most Snooty: the Anteater.

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The Hungriest: Tiger.

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The Wanna-Be-Hidden: Rhino.

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Best Hair: Lion.

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Most Agile: Penguin.

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Dorkiest Tourist: Me.

Have a great weekend!

Fluffy Fridays!

imageWe decided we wanted to add some cuteness to your Fridays.  We decided to start Fluffy Fridays to give you that sweet little make you smile to end your week.  Check out our first edition with Genny!  Geneveive is my parents adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  I just adore her!  She’s only a little over 3 months old and over 30 lbs!  I’m sure she will make a few appearances here 🙂

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image(Honestly?!  Too cute!)

image(I’m teaching her how to be a lap dog so when she’s close to 100lbs she will just climb on up :D)

imageShe is still a puppy and teething but I just LOVE her!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

 

Photo Feature – Bre and Tibet

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A few posts back, I teased this shoot I did with my friend Bre and her horse, Tibet.  They were really fun to shoot because they both have very elegant features.  Together, they are showing at an extremely high level after Bre worked Tibet back from recovery not too long ago.  I absolutely love watching these two together and was so grateful that they asked me to shoot some photos of them.  Here are a few of my favorites.

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IMG_8557(Bre’s grandfather’s WWII flag draped on Tibet was beautiful)

IMG_8526Springtime is the best time for colorful photos.

Hope you are all having a great week!