"Just as a fisherman cannot catch fish unless his line is in the water, a wildlife photographer cannot shoot great wildlife images unless he or she is out there with camera in hand and the knowledge of what to do then the 'magnificent moment' occurs."
– George H. Harrison
On California’s northcoast, the most accessible land mammal, the one easiest to find and photograph, is the Roosevelt elk. Several elk herds roam along Highway 101, nibbling on moist grass of the fog-enriched prairies and roaming into the yards of local residents to feed on their lawns. But there are other mammals native to the Northcoast, including all the usual suspects, such as raccoons, flying squirrels, the striped skunk, opossums, mountain lions, and deer. Some of these animals are shy or nocturnal and difficult to photograph, others are more commonly seen. Elks dominate this gallery, precisely because they are far more willing to place themselves in situations in which they can be photographed. Additionally I’ve added a few critters from places outside the Northcoast, such as a squirrel from Crater Lake and a Moose from Glacier National Park.
Sea critters are a challenge to photograph for the very simple reason that they reside in the sea, often away from land, where they cannot be easily seen, let alone caught within a web of digitalized pixels. Seals are the easiest to photograph, because they are willing to spend some time on a convenient shoal or rock sleeping off their latest sea debauch. So it should come as no surprise that this Sea Critters Gallery is dominated entirely by harbor seals. Whales and dolphins, sharks and squid don’t squiggle onto land to sleep to leave themselves naked to the intrepid telephoto lens.
Avian critters, more commonly known as birds, come in all shapes, sizes, and colors on the northcoast. They do, however, tend to be small and/or shy and are therefore difficult to photograph, even with longer lenses. The following is merely a modest sampling of some of the easier-to-photograph birds of the northcoast.
Mini-critters, more commonly known as insects or bugs, are not overly common on the northcoast, preferring a warm climate where they can breed in the summer sun. But the northcoast has more than it’s fair share of slugs and snails. And the occasional bee or even fly may be spotted, even in the barren depths of winter.