Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in Dead Animals

Happy new year! It is January 1st, 2013, and here along the Chocolay River it's a bone-chilling 11°F outside. Looking back at this past year, I took an incredible number of photographs — both of dead animals and otherwise. As I did last year and the year before that, I'd like to showcase my favorites — and it was a little hard, this time around, selecting the best.

January

The winter months are tough for photography. The cold weather keeps me from going outside often, and the snow covers any potential subjects. The chilly temperatures also limit animal movement in general, so finding them dead or alive is a challenge. In January I didn't photograph any subjects "in the field" — but I did photograph my skull collection, a few of which are pictured here.

February

February Shrew II

Like January, February is also a challenging month for photography. A friend's dog, however, provided me with a most tiny and delicate subject: a short-tailed shrew.

March

Dryocopus pileatus

Photographing a pileated woodpecker was an incredible experience. After I was done photographing her, she was sent to the Bird Division at U of M's Museum of Zoology. 

April

Deer Fragments III

After the snow melts — and before vegetation returns to the forest floor — spring is a good time to find the remnants of animals. 

May

Star-nosed Mole I

2012 was unique in that I saw and photographed many animals that I'd never before seen so closely. This star-nosed mole was one of them.

June
 
Because Steph drove to Munising every day for her internship, she saw many dead animals along M-28 — which made the summer months full of photography. This doe, broken and bent into an impossible pose, was one of them.

July

Coyote III
  
This coyote was one of the most powerful subjects for me this past year, and the post I wrote about it is probably one of my favorites.

August

Gray Fox I

I do realize that this year-in-review post is a little canid-heavy, but that's because 2012 was full of coyotes and foxes. This gray fox pup, hit along Lakeshore Boulevard in Marquette, was a heartbreaking find.

September

Spine II

In Autumn we spent a lot of time searching for mushrooms. An off-trail hike on Presque Isle Park revealed the bones of a deer long dead. 

October

Tiny Skeleton I

At some point over the summer, a warbler struck one of our windows and died. It wasn't until October that we found out; by then, its body, undisturbed for months, had turned to a feathery skeleton. 

November

Frost-Covered Doe III

November was a busy month, and I didn't take many photographs. A drive south of Marquette yielded this roadkill doe, her fur covered in frost. 

December

Neighborhood Gray Fox II

The most emotional subject for me in 2012 was this gray fox, hit in our neighborhood. As I recounted in this post, Steph and I would see her trot by our house in the mornings and evenings, and she would leave her tracks in our backyard. She was one of two in a mated gray fox pair: since her death, the male has wandered onto our property, leaving his footprints in the snow. He has visited her body, as well, and I wonder if he knows whose it is.

I am hoping for 2013 to be a productive year, both in photography and also around the house. Though it seems like a long way off, spring is indeed coming, and with it, Steph and I will embark on a vegetable garden adventure in our own backyard. In addition, I have a backlog of animal skins that I must flesh and tan — some will become educational pieces, and others will be crafted into items of clothing. As always, I am looking to improve my photography, sharpen my artist's statement, and, most importantly, continue to educate by means of dead animals.

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