I made some new friends at Colorado National Monument last week… Desert Bighorn Sheep friends, that is! It was a cloudy day and I was hoping it would stay that way. Canyons are difficult to photograph because of their extreme contrast so I wanted diffused light. Upon arrival I was greeted by some bighorn ewes and got a few shots that show how adorable they are before another visitor scared them off. The sun came out shortly after making the lighting conditions harsh, so I spent the day scouting the park. I drove from one end to the other and back again… about 25 miles one-way, stopping to walk out to several of the overlooks. Right around sunset there was another group alongside the road in an area deep in shade. The light was fading fast so I boosted up my ISO and shutter speed for some captures of rams that made the day seem better! I like that the images show how well the sheep blend in to their rocky habitat.
Desert Bighorn Sheep are a subspecies of Bighorn Sheep. Both males and females develop horns soon after they are born. Older rams have larger, curling horns that can grow to measure over 3 feet. The ewes’ horns are smaller and do not curl.