Bev Pettit Photography: Blog en-us (C) Bev Pettit Photography (Bev Pettit Photography) Sun, 17 Jan 2021 02:16:00 GMT Sun, 17 Jan 2021 02:16:00 GMT Bev Pettit Photography: Blog 120 108 Sable Island Wild Horses (Part 2) Sable Island Wild HorsesSable Island Wild Horse Family A small band of wild horses graze through the sand dunes on Sable Island, Nova Scotia.
In mid-July, 2019, I had the extreme honor to be part of a small group led by Kattuck Expeditions out of Halifax, to return to Sable Island. We were the first visitor group ever to be able to spend TWO full days on the Island. We sailed by boat, leaving Canso, Nova Scotia, at night for the 10 hours one-way journey to Sable Island. Debra Garside, our guide, led us from north to south, east to west, over this sliver of an island in the Atlantic Ocean where we found hundreds of horses living freely in this untouched paradise. There are such few places left in this world where one can go to visit pure nature, where man has not interfered with flora nor fauna. The wildlife on the island consists of around 500 wild horses, and a variety of birds and seals. Once you visit Sable you are bound to return. It is a given. 

(Bev Pettit Photography) Canada horses NovaScotia sable island wild wild horses wildlife Fri, 26 Jul 2019 16:09:19 GMT
Sable Island Wild Horses by Bev Pettit Sable Island Wild Horses by Bev Pettit

According to historical documentation, Sable Island’s horses were survivors from some of the hundreds of 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 Sable Horse is one of the hardiest breeds of horses living today, anywhere in the world. They eat the dense marram grass that grows naturally on the island. They find water in the scattered ponds created by rain and snow. If the ponds dry up they dig for water, which is generally quite close to the surface. Their only shelter against the ferocious winters is their own family. They huddle together between sand dunes to stay warm and increase their chances of survival until the next spring.

All photos are Copyright Bev Pettit Photography and are Registered with the US Copyright Office. It is strictly prohibited to copy any text or photos on this page. 




(Bev Pettit Photography) Canada horses NovaScotia sable island wild wild horses wildlife Mon, 03 Jun 2019 03:29:27 GMT
Charreada! The Charreada is a competitive sporting event like you've never seen before! Horses fly with all fours off the ground. Lariats unfurl fast and far. The sound of mariachi music and the smell of churros frying at the food stands permeate the senses. The colors and the costumes alone are worth the price of entry.

Originally the "charreada" was developed in Old Mexico on the Spanish haciendas. It has been a part of Mexican culture since the colonial period. Today, the Charros (Mexican cowboys) and the Escaramuzas (Mexican horsewomen) are business professionals more than they are true cowboys. They gather together along with their families to honor the age-old tradition by competing in rodeo events on horseback and on foot. They wear brightly colored traditional clothing and use Mexican charro saddles and gear for their horses. The horses are well bred, fast and strong. It's a fun day to watch these expert horsemen and horsewomen compete and perform. And just for the record, I witnessed no inhumane treatment of animals and all humans ended the event unscathed. 

To view more of my work please visit


(Bev Pettit Photography) Charreada Charro Cowboy Escaramuzza Mexican Mexico Sat, 01 Jun 2019 23:25:44 GMT
Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA) 2017

It was a great honor to learn that my photo "Graceful White Stallion" (Espy) received an award in the General Monochrome division at the prestigious 2017 Siena International Photo Awards in Siena, Italy. SIPA is one of the most important international photography contests, with 50,000 images coming from 130 countries around the world. 

I was thrilled to be able to attend the awards ceremony and to be handed my award personally at the opening and at the gallery showing in Siena in October of 2017. It was a fantastic gala event! The exhibition, held at the Former-Distillery "Lo Stallion" Via Fiorentina, 95 - Siena, ran from October 29th - November 30th. The Show, Beyond the Lens" showcased the edition's best shots of the Siena International Photo Awards 2017.

Siena International Photo Awards Monochrome Division Winners

The Awards Venue!

That's me with Ami Vitale of National Geographic fame at the Exhibit! She is the most kind and warm hearted person you could ever want to know. Her work with Pandas in China and Elephants in Africa have won many awards. Bravo Ami!!!

Gathering outside the Distillery for photos ops before the Exhibit "Beyond the Lens" opening in Siena.

(Bev Pettit Photography) Italy photo awards Siena Siena International Photo Awards SIPA Thu, 23 May 2019 21:00:11 GMT
On Horseback with the Gauchos at Estancia San Gará, Argentina Photographing in the Esteros de Iberá, Argentina

On horseback with the Gauchos

By 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 vegetation, the extensive marshlands of the Esteros and an abundance of exotic wildlife throughout the property would offer any photographer a visual extravaganza not easily forgotten.


The seldom-visited nature preserve, Esteros del Iberá, represents one of the most critical biological areas in Argentina. Iberá is an extensive freshwater system of lakes and rivers that are extremely vital to the environmental balance of South America. These are the second largest wetlands in the world, just after Brazil’s Pantanal.

On my third day during a weeklong visit to the Estancia I was invited on a daylong horseback ride with the Gauchos and one of the ranches’ Argentine guides out to gather a herd of cattle that grazed Monkey Island. The island is a patch of lush vegetation surrounded by marshlands as far as the eye can see. As we navigated our way through a network of deep water trails marked on either side by tall grasses, we passed through some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen anywhere. The purple, pink and green hues of the exotic flora were exquisite.

Along the route we experienced visits from wild caiman (blunt-nosed alligators), capybaras or “carpinchos” (the world’s largest rodents), marsh deer, hefty armadillos, and many of the more than 350 species of birds that live in the area, which included colorful ducks, graceful herons and the endearing chaja, similar to giant flying chickens!

Once on Monkey Island we had the pleasure of being greeted by its namesake, a large family of black howler monkeys. With a lifespan of up to 15 years the wild monkeys are at home in their subtropical forest habitat. They have long prehensile tails acting like a fifth limb which allows them to grasp and even hold onto objects. But this limb structure also makes it quite difficult for them to move along on the ground. So they spend most of their time high up in the trees, coming down for water only during the very driest seasons. Most of the time they can get water by wetting their palms with the droplets that form on the large tree leaves and then licking off the water.

After we located our herd, it was time for work. The cattle were rounded up and driven into wooden holding pens where they were vaccinated and branded. I’ve been on a number of roundups on large ranches back home in Arizona and I must say, our American cowboy’s Argentine counterparts, the Gaucho, work in very similar ways. That is, I thought so up until it was time for lunch, which was entirely different than the “chuck wagon” style cowboy meals of home. Our meal here consisted of very fresh asado! (typical Argentine beef). A fresh slab of beef was skewered onto a cut tree branch and then stuck in the ground while being cooked over open flames.  Fallen tree trunks served as sturdy chairs to sit on while we ate.  The barbecued beef was sliced by the Gauchos’ handmade knife, the facon, which is always kept sharp and handy. Our meal was supplemented by yerba maté, a tea made from the leaves of the yerba tree. Yerba maté is the traditional Gaucho beverage poured into cups made of gourds and drunk through a straw.


Aside from photographing the abundance and variety of wildlife on this trip I thoroughly enjoyed photographing the Gaucho himself in his traditional garb of bombachas (loose baggy pants), wide-brimmed hats, alpargatas (rubber soled cloth shoes when they weren’t riding barefoot!), and the faja, a wide band worn around the waist which held knives and other tools. I was also intrigued by the gear that they carried for their work, including bolas or boleadoras (stones bound in leather strips used to trip animals by looping it around their legs), traditional lariats, hand carved wooden bats and long sharp knives, as well as the bridles on the horses, saddles donning thick sheep skin pads, and of course, as an equine photographer, the horses themselves.

Called the Criollo, the native horse of Argentina descends from the horses of the Iberian conquest. They resemble the ancient Sorraia wild horse of Portugal and Spain. Carrying a straight head and a convex neck the Criollo’s have strong, short backs and very sound feet. The herds of Criollos that live at San Gará are light caramel colored with thick black manes and tails and a dorsal stripe down their backs. They are strong, hardworking, intelligent, willing and sensible equines, and small to average in height. All of these qualities are important when having to endure the long hard days on the vast Estancias of Argentina.




Estancia San Gará is located in the National Route nº 12, Kilometer 1237, 18 Kilometers from Ituzaingó, Province of Corrientes. It stretches from the Paraná River to the marshy lands of Iberá. You can reach Estancia San Gará at their page on Facebook:

It may take some creative planning in order to get to Esteros del Iberá as it is a bit off the beaten tourist path, but I have found it to be well worth the effort. A visit there is a chance to experience one of the last great ecosystems on earth, virtually untouched by man, offering astounding beauty, lots of elbow room, an abundance of wildlife to study and photograph and friendly people who care about their environment.

  Most of the Gauchos rode without boots or shoes.

All photos are Copyright Bev Pettit Photography and are Registered with the US Copyright Office. It is strictly prohibited to copy any text or photos on this page. 


(Bev Pettit Photography) Argentina capybaras carpinchos Criollo estancia Estancia San Gara Esteros de Iberá gauchos horses ranch Thu, 23 May 2019 19:28:15 GMT
Photographing in Monument Valley Photographing in Monument Valley

by Bev Pettit

The Mittens under Puff CloudsThe Mittens under Puff Clouds

I 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

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 happen upon a band of feral horses roaming the valleys and dry creek beds providing another dimension to my photographs and filling them with flavors of the last frontier.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. Its 30,000 acres straddle the borders of Arizona and Utah and offer breathless scenery any time of the year and almost any time of the day and night. Though Monument Valley is one of the most photographed landmarks in the United States, its varied seasons and spectacular lighting provide ample opportunity to capture new and refreshing visions of the red desert sands, crimson mesas and sandstone towers which spread throughout the area.

The intense drama created by thousand foot spires, and the long morning and evening shadows that they cast onto the desert floor, are sublimely surreal. Every time I see them I am in awe of their beauty and spellbound by their majesty. They never seem look the same twice. If you are lucky enough to visit Monument Valley when the sky is dotted with its famous puffy-white clouds you will be blessed with the beauty that they add to your photos. Sunrises are well worth getting up at the crack of dawn for. I enjoy getting out onto location before sunrise and waiting for the sun to show its blues, purples, reds, pinks and oranges against the dark sky. Sunsets are equally spectacular. During winter months, snow can provide a blanket of white that contrasts beautifully with the red of the desert and the bluest of skies creating such intense colors and rich hues that many will think your images have been enhanced. In reality, the colors that you see in the pictures of Monument Valley are truly that strong and deep. I generally find very little need to work any of my photographs in Photoshop to increase hue/saturation or intensity during editing!

Effie Yazzie at Ear of the Wind, Monument Valley

As a visitor to the park you can drive on your own along designated routes that circumnavigate most all of the renowned landmarks such as The Mittens, Three Sisters, John Ford Point, Rain God Mesa, Thunderbird Mesa, Totem Pole, Yei Bi Chei and Sleeping Dragon. However, you are not allowed to venture off the official trails and roads (which are extremely rough by the way) on your own. If you would like to journey farther back onto private Navajo lands to see ancient Anasazi ruins, 2,000 year old rock art and petroglyphs, sacred Indian sites, Navajo homes and hogans you will need to hire a Navajo guide to show you around. You would travel in their purpose-made tour vehicles, on horseback, or in your own four-wheel drive SUV, jeep or truck.

For a stay in a modern, comfortable hotel I recommend The View. ( This is the only hotel within the Tribal Park itself. The official park visitor center is located here. Each room has a view of the valley and offers opportunities to photograph spectacular sunsets and sunrises from your own private balcony.

The Legendary Suzie Yazzie standing at the door of her childhood Hogan, Monument Valley. After your visit to Monument Valley you will not only leave with fantastic photographs but also with a deep sense of peace and harmony for having shared time with the Navajo people. They will welcome you with their good humor, quiet, yet simple way of life, and leave you with a yearning to return. “Ya’at’eeh”.

"Monument Valley is the place where God put the West."  ~ John Wayne

All photographs © Bev Pettit Photography, 2013 




(Bev Pettit Photography) Arizona landscape Mittens Monument Monuments Nation National Natural Navajo Park Photography The Tribal Utah Valley Sat, 18 May 2019 17:29:41 GMT
East Africa Safari East Africa Safari

Sep 7, 2013 | By: Bev Pettit

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.

All photographs © Bev Pettit Photography, 2013 

Wildbeest at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania



(Bev Pettit Photography) Africa baboon elephants Great Migration Kenya leopards lions Safari Tanzania Wildebeest wildlife Sat, 18 May 2019 17:14:15 GMT