On Horseback with the Gauchos
Sunday, September 06, 2015 9:27AM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

   Photographing in the Esteros de Iberá, ArgentinaOn horseback with the GauchosBy Bev Pettit As I ride horseback, thigh-deep through the marshy waters of Esteros del Iberá I become startled by the sight of an 8-foot long caiman swimming too fast for comfort, straight toward me and my trusty mount. I am quickly reassured by my Argentine guide’s raising of a wooden bat that the menacing reptile poses no serious threat to me or to my horse. The Black Caiman slowly and quietly retreats. He swims back to his group, circling in the near distance. I was happy to learn later that the caiman is not carnivorous. Ahhhh, relief!I am in northern Argentina riding horseback on a cattle drive with two Guarani’ Indian gauchos and my Argentinian guide, miles away from my temporary “home base”, Estancia San Gará. The Guarani’s are native indigenous people of northern Argentina. Many sought out work on Estancias (ranches/farms) and became Gauchos due to their independent spirit and somewhat nomadic nature, much like the early cowboys of our American west.San Gará is one of the oldest traditional Estancias in northern Argentina. The ranch dates back to the early 1800s. San Gará is a family-owned working cattle and guest ranch. It offers a variety of authentic gaucho experiences for its visitors. Luxurious ...

Wild Horses of Sable Island
Monday, April 06, 2015 12:46PM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

Sable Island Wild Horses  Folklore has it that the horses were survivors from some of the 350 plus shipwrecks due to fog, storms and hidden sand bars off the shores of Sable Island since 1583. A less romantic story is more likely. Deported Acadians in the mid-1700s brought the horses to the island from mainland Canada when they tried to farm the harsh land and set up a community.Crops could not survive and the settlers were forced to leave. When they left, they also left their horses behind to fend for themselves.   In 1801 a life saving station was set up on Sable Island. Families soon arrived to live on the island and man the station. Some attempted to train the now wild horses to help in saving shipwrecked sailors.  The rescue station was closed in 1958 and again the wild horses were left behind.   Today Sable Island is run by Parks Canada. The feral horses have thrived over the years. There are more than 500 horses living on this tiny sliver of an island, 150 miles off the east coast of Nova Scotia, today. They are protected by law and under a strict research regime, untouched by man. The horses are wild, but have no fear since they have no predators on the island. They roam in herds and family bands. Four or five horses will roam with a stallion as the patriarch, one mare and two or three siblings.   The horses eat the dense marram grass ...

The Importance of a Good Guide while on Safari in East Africa
Monday, January 27, 2014 10:54AM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

Photographing on Safari in East Africa:Why a good guide is the most important “tool in your bag”.by Bev Pettit“Stop!” Our guide exclaimed! “Do you see that?” “Er, what?” we mutter, turning our heads in all directions with anticipation. “That, over there!” he exclaims. “…all that we see are trees, empty trees! Why? What do YOU see?” I ask. “Nothing!”, our guide responds. “There’s nothing in those trees!” “Oohhh kay …so what does this mean exactly?” “Well, it means that something’s happening out there. Way out there, on the “marsh”!. If there would be something in those trees, like monkeys, all would be normal. But since it’s quiet and the vultures are flying in the direction of that large herd of buffalo, way out there across the marshland it means that there has to be a kill nearby.”Up come the binoculars and we all peer out across the marshy plains, toward a seemingly never-ending line of buffalo migrating to the north. We peer out, but still, see nothing. Then, all of a sudden an ear pops up in the tall grass, about half way between the buffalo herd and our Land Cruiser. Then, sure enough, another ear pops up, and then a tail. There are lions out there! Not one, not two, but many!Our Tanzanian guide starts up the ...

Wild Horses of America, a History
Friday, December 06, 2013 12:08PM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

0 0 1 3268 18630 Bev Pettit Photography 155 43 21855 14.0 96 800x600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE Wild Horses of America, a Historyby Bev Pettit  Horses have been a part of man’s destiny more than any other animal.I love horses. I have had the pleasure of having my own horses' for much of my life. I love to ride them, I love to photograph them. But most of all I just love being around them. They are so peaceful and extremely comforting to be with.But more recently it is the wild horse that has intrigued me. In the past, I had very little direct experience with wild horses. A few years ago I witnessed mustangs roaming freely at the foothills of the Diamond Mountain range in NW Nevada. And this past June I spent 7 days, from sunrise to sunset, watching and photographing herds of mustangs on a private wild horse sanctuary in California. These experiences have led to my becoming aware of and then researching the complex history that has surrounded the horse and how that history has led to current wild horse conflicts.Wild horses have long been considered a living symbol of freedom in America, an icon of independence. They have survived centuries of change. Wild horses have been used, honored, loved, wrangled, fenced, exploited and hated and today are at the center of controversy and debate.Their future seems to be closely tied in with where they came ...

Photographing in Monument Valley
Thursday, December 05, 2013 11:12AM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

0 0 1 822 4690 Bev Pettit Photography 39 11 5501 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE Photographing in Monument Valleyby Bev PettitI am awakened from deep sleep by the sound of high-pitched squeals and the clamor of thundering hoof beats just outside my tent door. At first I feel like I must be in the path of a vicious stampede. But then I hear the commanding yips of watchdogs as they chase the feral horses back out into the wilds of the pitch black desert where they came from, away from our corralled horses. Reminding myself that this is just a normal part of life on the Navajo reservation, I slowly fall back to sleep again.A feral horse in the early morning light.As an equine and landscape photographer based on a small ranch in northern Arizona, I long for any opportunity to spend a few days photographing in Monument Valley, a place where time stands still. My most recent trip there consisted of horse camping in the backcountry. This is truly a spectacular way to experience and photograph the Navajo way of life, Monument Valley and its powerful landscapes which encompass miles of mesas, buttes, windblown red desert sand dunes, pinnacles of tall rock formations towering straight up into the sky, scraggly and twisted wind-worn emerald green trees all combining to create awe-inspiring scenery of color and drama in every direction. My heart skips a beat whenever I ...

The Bleak Future of African Elephants
Monday, September 30, 2013 11:36AM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

 After returning from safari in Tanzania in July of 2013, I began to look through my many photos from that trip. I was astonished by how the animals had revealed almost human expression and gestures in my photographs. Spending time close up with the baboons at Manyara, the cheetahs and lions in the Serengeti, and the elephants at Ngorongoro Crater I began to "develop" these images and marvel at their emotional expressions.While in Tanzania, I was fortunate to be able to spend enough time to watch the herds of elephants and observe their close family ties and loving characteristics as shown by mothers and fathers for their young. I can truly say that I was not prepared for the emotion that I witnessed amongst the elephant families. I was amazed at how babies clung to their mother's sides, how parents would guide their babies and keep them close to their sides to protect them and teach them how to behave as the new members of the family. How siblings would help by also teaching and guiding their younger brothers and sisters as the faimly went about their daily routines in the wild. I so appreciated the struggles and playfullness exhibited by the babies, just like human babies do.This amazing emotion that elephants portray I feel is best described by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Naifobi, Kenya, in this article from the ...

East Africa Safari
Saturday, September 07, 2013 10:57AM
On Horseback with the Gauchos

In July I set out for a trip of a lifetime. In the back of my mind I've been planning a trip to East Africa for many years. In July, 2013, that dream came true. I set out for Nairobi on the 10th of July with a three-day stop over in London. From there it was only an 8 hour flight to Nairobi where I was met by a representative from the Africa Adventure Company for the start of my three-week adventure into Tanzania and several of the famed wildlife parks there: Tarangire, Lake Manyara Eco-System, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti to witness the Great Migration of thousands of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River into Kenya.I also had the great opportunity to spend three days as a welcome respite from the grueling hours of game drives to visit the people, villages and homes of various tribes including the Masaii, Iraqw, Datoga and the Wahadzabi hunter-gatherer bushmen.Following is a selection of images from this journey. Thank you for your interest in my photography! To view more of my work, please visit me on my Website at www.bevpettit.com or on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/BPettitFineArtAll photographs © Bev Pettit Photography, 2013 Great Migration, Serengeti