16th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Animal: Mountain Goats (Nanny & Kid)
Location: Colorado, United States of America
Experience a dramatic sunset with a Nanny Mountain Goat and Kid as rich dark storm clouds fill the backdrop. When Mountain Goat kids are born the nannies demand the most out of their babies. Living in elevations higher than 14,000 feet forces the pair to live in unforgiving terrain where one wrong step leads to certain death. Equipped with hard hooves and flexible pads these goats are built for the rocky terrain allowing them to leap from rock to rock. Mountain Goats put humans to shame with their vertical jumping distance of twelve feet.
In an unforgiving area, I climbed and jumped from rock to rock as I overlooked an impressive valley while standing at 14,000 feet. As I began climbing to where the Goats were early in my expedition altitude sickness started to impact me. Traveling from sea level to nearly 2.7 miles high caused me to have an extremely short breath making each rock I climbed harder and harder.
As rich storm clouds started to fill the backdrop I was following a Nanny and its Kid. After eating the tundra vegetation and licking the area for minerals, like salt, the Mountain Goats started their decent down the Mountain to where they rest for the night. As they were walking at the top of a mountain they approached the edges of the peak. Once the Nanny and Kid reached the edge they stopped and overlooked the impressive backdrop they called home allowing me to photograph the bond between a parent and child with vivid clouds surrounding them. This moment shows why Mother Nature is truly the greatest artist of us all.
© Thomas Chadwick.
All rights reserved.
||July 4, 2018, 8:58 p.m.