Lewis Frazier is a 29-year-old American wildlife photographer and conservationist who is passionate about capturing stories that show the beauty of the natural world and inspire people to evaluate their relationship with nature. He has travelled to some of the most remote places on the planet to give wildlife a voice and share their stories with the world. During the global pandemic this past year, Lewis spent his time pursuing subjects near his home in the Rocky Mountains.
“Meeting in a Daydream” – Red Fox – Rocky Mountains, USA Of the many moments I had this past year, this may be my favorite. Living in a tiny off-grid cabin in the mountains while the world was in lockdown last summer, I hiked into the backcountry behind my house every single evening for many months, where I sat quietly in different areas and waited, hoping to see wildlife. In this area, there was a beautiful grove of aspen trees and a small meadow filled with wildflowers. I decided to hike here every single day and wait until dark, hoping something might pass through the lupines while they were in bloom. Many days, I would hear a brief rustling in the leaves, or feel myself being watched, but would see very little aside from mosquitos and bees. Occasionally, short glimpses of a fox or a deer, but only in the dark. I kept going out and waiting, sometimes even falling asleep. This is exactly what happened one stormy afternoon, and I woke up to find this wonderful creature leisurely trotting through the flowers, completely unaware of me. After stopping in his tracks for a quick scratch, he looked up and paused, finally realizing I was there. Our eyes met, and for just a few seconds, time stood still. I took this photo and we just looked at each other for a moment before he continued on his way, straight past me and into the trees. The wildflowers were done blooming the very next week, but over the months that followed, this fox kept passing through as I sat in the forest every evening, sometimes curling up for a nap under a tree nearby as I did the same. A meeting with a wonderful creature I will never forget.
“Face to Face with the King” – American Bison – Yellowstone National Park, USA It was -20°F (-30°C), with 60mph (95kph) gusts. My eyelashes were frozen, and whenever I looked up, my eyes were blasted with snow. “Just two more minutes,” I kept saying to myself. “If he doesn’t move this way in two minutes, I’ll start moving.” The minutes kept passing by, but I stayed put. I had finally come across a massive bull alone in a blizzard. The conditions were harsh, but this was exactly the opportunity I had been after for years – I knew I would regret getting up and leaving. Finally, he rose up, pointed right for me and began straight-lining at a considerable pace. The camera would not focus with all of the blowing snow. I didn’t have much time. I took my other glove off and began to manually focus. The viewfinder was fogging up from my breath. Squinting, eyes watering, I held my breath and slowly turned the focus ring as he approached, praying I might get one shot in focus. I thought my thumbs were going to fall off. When I pulled my eye from the camera, I realized he was getting very close, and that he was going to walk straight through me. I took a few final shots and slowly moved up the hill into the trees, giving him space and watching him pass below, right where I sat. Worth every bit of frostbite.
“Alpenglow” – Mountain Goat with Kid – Rocky Mountains, USA Waking up before 4:00AM every morning for weeks on-end to go wait for sunrise above treeline is fun the first day and misery every day after. Struggling to keep my eyes open on the tundra in deafening wind day after day, I often found myself asking why I’m doing this with my life. It’s a fair question, and one that comes up often for me, especially when I’m shivering in the dark. The answer is – because of moments like this one. Just an instant before the sun rose over the ridge one morning, a mountain goat appeared on top of the ridge, with her wobbly young kid scrambling over the rocks to get a step ahead of her. Just like that, every shivering sleepless morning was worth it.
“Hidden Paradise” – Waterfall – Maui, Hawaii, USA While hiking to a distant mountain through the remote and uninhabited rainforest of East Maui, I came upon a deep canyon and followed it until I ended up here.. on accident. Never made it to the top of the mountain I had originally set out for, and almost died several times on the way out trying to outrun a sudden flash flood. Flash flooding is no joke – especially when you’re miles deep in a canyon with thousand-foot walls and only one way out! When I finally made it out late that night, I was exhausted, banged up and so stoked I didn’t drown. The pros and cons of exploring, I guess!
“When the Forest Stares Back” – Red Lynx – Rocky Mountains, USA It was broad daylight as I finally sat up to walk out of the woods. The clouds were coming in and I was ready to go, having seen nothing all morning or any of the days before. As I reached for my camera behind me and looked up into the clearing, I felt the forest staring back at me. I squinted into the shadows and couldn’t believe my eyes – alone in the woods with this beautiful cat – I felt like I was looking at a ghost. The way he looked at me, it seemed he had been watching me for quite some time.. maybe even days, without my knowing it. We kept our eyes locked on one another as he stepped forward into the light, his tail casually flickering up and down, left and right. He slowly walked several steps between the trees, glancing my way every so often until he seemingly disappeared, though I’m sure he was watching as I departed sometime later. I would never see him again, though I’m sure he saw me every single time I returned.
Follow Lewis Frazier – American Wildlife Photographer
WEBSITE : www.lewisfrazier.com
INSTAGRAM : @lewisfrazier
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