Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What you can't see

The Big Dipper over an eroded rock formation in the badlands of western North Dakota.

I arrived at Theodore Roosevelt National Park just before sunset and quickly made my way to an overlook of the Little Missouri River.

The color on the clouds was gone in minutes and I scambled to make some useful images.

After the sun went down I drove the park road looking for possible photos. 

I parked in a gravel parking lot off of the main road and walked about a hundred yards to the base of a large eroded rock formation. As the night got later the Big Dipper became visible just above it.

I set to work photographing the scene.

While I was photographing the night sky I could hear a great horned owl in the distance and coyotes howling nearby.

After a few minutes I heard a clip clop, clip clop, on the asphalt road several hundred yards away. The sound was getting louder and I realized that wild horses were trotting on the road. It sounded like they were coming towards me and I heard one or more of them whinny.

I smiled and continued photographing the butte and starry sky. Then I heard the sound of hooves on gravel and stood there in the dark looking towards the source of the sound.

Although it was dark, I could see three horses running right down the trail I had walked in on and coming towards me. I kept a hand on my camera and tripod and stood there watching what the horses would do.

I had a big smile as the three young stallions ran within thirty feet of me. One of the horses seemed to be chasing the others off. After they got forty yards past me he swung his rear around and kicked at the other two horses. Those horses whinnied and kept right on running.

The triumphant horse paused, stood there, and watched them leave. Then he turned and ran back the way he had come in. As he went past me I told him, "thanks a lot and have a great night". He swung his head over, looked at me and continued running.

What a cool night.

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