Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey


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In the Garden

I’ve never been drawn to gardening; however I acknowledge the beautiful benefits of a garden, not only in the flowers and other beautiful flora that grow under the gentle guidance of dedicated gardener’s care, but also the creatures they attract.

Rufous Hummingbird Feeding No. 3

Both my mother and sister are wonderful gardeners, with their own unique styles with gardens that now span decades in the making. Both get weary muscles but immeasurable pleasure in creating a aesthetically tailored microcosm. My mother’s garden is definitely more instinctual. Bordering a wilderness, the garden has paths that wind through a mix of flowers and wild flora; the paths often changing from year to year, even week to week depending on my mother’s mood, like the staircases at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Her garden is constantly in a state of flux, a balance of attempted order and rampant growth by the side of a river. My sister’s garden is more designed and spatially organized, with various areas to visit (each with their own atmosphere), fountains, bird feeders, and sculptures amidst an array of color. I haven’t the gardener’s terminology to describe either of them well enough to do them justice.

Butterfly on Purple Flower

In my mother’s garden I find: irises, crocosmia, hydrangea, peonies, spider’s webs, butterflies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds beneath towering maples and douglas firs, and in my sister’s garden: tulips, lilies, exotic grasses, gladiolus, and a whole community of birds along with her two horses, three goats, five Indian runner ducks and her chickens. These are some of my pickings from their gardens.

For more of my work, please visit my main website at belindagrebphotography.com. This is through Fine Art America and offers framing, metal, canvas, acrylic prints as well as other products such as pillows, tote bags, and towels. I also offer selected signed prints up to 16×24″ at RadiancePhotos at Etsy and Belinda Greb Photography at Amazon Handmade . I’m also have selected prints and other products at Society 6 and Redbubble. In the UK you can find selected work at Belinda Greb at Photo4Me .

 

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Seeing the Whole Picture

This last trip to Harney County, I dropped my friend off at French Glen so she could take a break from the car and dust (after about 6 hours, many on gravel roads), and I went on to South Steens mountain. Last time there were about 20 horses on the side of the mountain but too far to get any good pictures.

This time I followed my instincts and drove my car past an open gate on BLM land and went slowly up a deeply rutted dirt road. I reached a flat area on the side of the mountain and the horses were there. It was a panoramic scene, 180 degrees. I had left the car and was moving slowly forward. There were multiple bands of horses, cows, and even five pronghorn laying down. The horses to the front of me were probably 500 yards away (I’m pretty bad at gauging distances) while the horses to my left or 9 o’clock where probably twice that distance.

I was just trying to taken in the scene and decide how to proceed without causing any alarm to the horses. They knew I was there, but I was too far away to be of concern. Looking to my left I suddenly saw some movement. There was a coyote, then another (later I saw a third). One saw me and that I was watching it, and the two coyotes started to run in a northeasterly direction.Reviewing my photos, I saw they had been eyeing a foal that was at some distance from its mother. They had gone about 500 yards moving past the pronghorn and a couple of bands, when a stallion saw them and started to give chase until the two disappeared to the east. The third coyote that had been left behind disappeared over the ridge to the west.

Almost immediately my eye was drawn by another movement. Two stallions were engaging in some sort of dispute. It was over in a minute or two, but very exciting to watch. I was almost out of range, so I only got one sharp image, with a couple good enough to apply a painterly technique to convey the story.

I don’t know why they stopped, but a third stallion had come near them and they both started running westward, the Palomino herding a mare while the other followed at a distance and then stopped. During spring is when a lot of the stallions will try to steal mares from another band.

Next I watched the third stallion suddenly decide to move closer to what was his very large band. Snaking them together – head low and extended – he herded them together an moved them north over the ridge.

All of these little happenings were like ripple effects. The coyotes, one stallion perhaps moving too close to another’s mare, the two stallions moving too close to the third, and the third stallion, also aware of me, then moving his band over the ridge. Despite the fact I wanted to move closer, I didn’t want to cause any alarm, and hanging back allowed me to survey the scene and see all of these singular episodes.

I decided I had better get back to my friend, and started in my car down that road. My car has about 230,000 miles on it, so I was trying to be as tender as possible with it. It did occur to me I might encounter some of the horses I had seen in the distance to the west as I was coming down, and sure enough, there was suddenly this beautiful stallion appearing like a specter on a hill to my right. I had to stop, let the dust settle, then roll down the windows to get a shot of him. I later saw he was so interesting to look at because he had blue eyes (he kind of reminded me of the white walkers in Game of Thrones).

A bay mare was behind him. He moved off again, and as I inched the car down, I saw the rest of his band. In the second photo of this group, the foal looks nothing like its mother or him. Sometimes a stallion will steal a mare that is already pregnant. Of course, I don’t know if this was the case or not!

In the next photo, one of my favorite of the South Steens herd, some other members of the band wait for the stallion. I love the sight of the valley below them in the distance. Another interesting note – in looking at multiple sequential photographs on my computer, I saw that the foal in this image was the same foal in Danger Point. He has a distinctive wide blaze and very high stockings on his back legs. After the stallion joined them, they moved over the ridge and out of sight.