Aug. 11, 2019 in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle as “Audubon Photography Awards
feature Pinedale photographer”
Last month, a familiar name appeared
on my screen, “Elizabeth Boehm.”
I was reading an email from the
National Audubon Society listing the winners of the 2019 Audubon Photography
I have never met Elizabeth in
person. But she was one of the people who replied when I put out a request on
the Wyobirds e-list for photos of the few bird species we didn’t have for
photographer Pete Arnold’s and my book published last year, “Cheyenne Birds by
the Month.” She generously shared six images.
With my similar request on Wyobirds
back in 2008 for “Birds by the Week” for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Pete
supplied most of the 104 photos (the others were stock), and he contributed 93
for the book. Here’s the small world connection: Pete is Elizabeth’s neighbor
whenever he and his wife visit his wife’s childhood home in Pinedale.
Now here is the big world
connection: Elizabeth won the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards in the
professional category. To qualify as a professional, you must make a certain
amount of money from photography the previous year.
A week later, Audubon magazine
arrived and there, printed over a two-page spread, like the grand prize winner,
was Elizabeth’s winning photo: two male sage-grouse fighting on an entirely
white background of snow.
I decided it was time to get to know
Elizabeth better and interviewed her by phone about her prize-winning
photography. Elizabeth won the Wyoming Wildlife magazine grand prize a couple
years ago and one year she was in the top 10 for the North American Nature
Photography Association. Her photos have been published in Audubon magazine. “I
was totally surprised,” she said of her latest win.
More than 8,000 images were
submitted by 2,253 U.S. and Canadian photographers. Categories included
professional, amateur, youth (13-17 years old), Plants for Birds (bird and a
plant native to the area photographed together) and the Fisher Prize (for originality
and technical expertise).
Elizabeth started shooting
landscapes and wildflowers 25 years ago, then started selling images 10 years
later, adding wildlife to her subjects. Now she works her day job only two days
Of her winning image she said, “I
usually go out in the spring. I know the local leks. I like snow to clean up
the background. The hard part of photographing fights is they are spontaneous.
It’s kind of a fast, quick thing.”
males fight in the pre-dawn light for the right to be the one that mates with
all the willing females. “I set up the night before or in the middle of the
night. It’s better waiting and being patient,” she said.
visits leks one or two times a week March through April. This past spring was
too wet for driving the back roads. Even the grouse weren’t on the leks until
late. They don’t like snow because there is nowhere to hide from the eagles that
prey on them.
This winning photo is from three or
four years ago. Elizabeth came across it while searching her files for another
project and realized it could be special with a little work.
allows nothing other than cropping and a few kinds of lighting and color
adjustments. At one point, Audubon requested Elizabeth’s untouched RAW image. See
the 2019 rules, and 2019’s winning photos, at https://www.audubon.org/photoawards-entry.
Her camera is a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon 500 mm EF f/4L IS USM lens. The photo
was taken at 1/1500 second at f/5.6, ISO 800.
In September, National Audubon will
finalize the schedule for the traveling exhibit of APA winners.
Elizabeth sells prints at the Art of
the Winds, a 10-artist gallery on Pinedale’s Main Street. You can also purchase
images directly from her at http://elizabethboehm.com.
offers guided local birding tours and is also the organizer for the local
Christmas Bird Count.
are a dime a dozen in the Yellowstone – Grand Teton neighborhood where
Elizabeth shoots. She works hard to have her work stand out. She also donates
her work to conservation causes like Pete’s and my book which is meant to get
more people excited about local birds and birdwatching.
Look on the copyright page of
“Cheyenne Birds by the Month” for the list of Elizabeth’s contributions. You
can find the book online through the University of Wyoming bookstore, the
Wyoming Game and Fish store and Amazon, etc.
Cheyenne it’s at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Cheyenne Depot
Museum, Wyoming State Museum, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Riverbend Nursery,
Cheyenne Pet Clinic, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s Pink Boutique, Barnes
and Noble, PBR Printing and out at Curt Gowdy State Park.
Pete Arnold and I will be doing a book signing Aug. 10 at the Barnes & Noble store in Cheyenne, 1851 Dell Range Blvd. The signing will be 1 – 5 p.m.
At 1:30 p.m. I’ll do a talk, “What Birds Want from Your Backyard” followed by Pete talking about wildlife photography.
You are welcome to bring a book you have already purchased or buy one at the store.
While we’ve had several book signings around town at the different shops that carry our book, this is the first one at a book store. And it’s Barnes & Noble. Back in 1979, before B & N opened stores everywhere, I visited the flagship store in New York City. It was overwhelming. Multiple floors crammed with books on every subject. I wanted to read them all. And now “Cheyenne Birds by the Month” has joined the catalog!
P.S. Books are also available in Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Depot Museum, Wyoming State Museum, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Cheyenne Pet Clinic, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Riverbend Nursery, Cheyenne Pet Clinic and PBR Printing. And also at the Curt Gowdy State Park visitor center and the University of Wyoming bookstore in Laramie. And online at the UW bookstore, Game and Fish, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Published July 5, 2019 in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle as a guest editorial, “Participating at the Roundhouse hearing was an intense adventure”
By Barb Gorges
The Cheyenne –
High Plains Audubon Society agrees clean energy is needed. However, wind energy
is deadly for birds when they are struck by turbine blades.
Beginning last December,
CHPAS discussed its concerns about the Roundhouse Wind Energy development with
company, city and county officials. The 120-turbine wind farm will extend from
Interstate 80 south to the Colorado state line and from I-25 west to Harriman
The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council hearing for the
approval of the Roundhouse Wind Energy application was held June 13 in a
Cheyenne-High Plains Audubon Society filed
as a party, preparing a pre-hearing statement. The other parties were the
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s Industrial Siting Division,
Roundhouse, and Laramie County, also acting on behalf of the city of Cheyenne.
presented our opening statements. Then the Roundhouse lawyer presented her
expert witnesses, asking them leading questions. Then I, acting in the same
capacity for CHPAS as the lawyer for Roundhouse, cross-examined her witnesses.
One was a viewshed analysis expert from Los Angeles, the other a biologist from
Western EcoSystems Technology, the Cheyenne consulting firm that does
contract biological studies for wind energy companies across the country.
presented our expert witness, Daly Edmunds, Audubon Rockies’ policy and
outreach director. Wind farm issues are a big part of her work. She is also a
wildlife biologist with a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming.
rushed getting our testimony in before the 5 p.m. cutoff for the first day
because I was not available the next day. I asked permission to allow Mark
Gorges to read our closing statement the next day, after the applicant had a
chance to rebut all the conditions we asked for.
council members chose not to debate our conditions. Some conditions were echoed
by DEQ. But it was a hard sell since Wyoming Game and Fish Department had
already signed off on the application.
Here are the
conditions we asked for:
1) Some of the recommended wildlife studies will be one and a half years away
from completion when turbine-building starts in September. Complete the studies
first to make better turbine placement decisions.
2) Do viewshed analysis from the south and share it with adjacent Colorado open
space and natural area agencies.
3) Get a “take permit” to avoid expensive trouble with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service if dead eagles are found.
4) Use the Aircraft Detection Lighting System so tower lights, which can confuse
night-migrating birds, will be turned on as little as possible. This was on
DEQ’s list as well.
5) Use weather radar to predict the best times to shut down turbines during
6) Be transparent about the plans for and results of avian monitoring after the
7) Relocate six of the southernmost turbine locations because of their impact
on wildlife and the integrity of adjacent areas set aside for their
half of the hearing dealt with county/city requests for economic impact funds
from the state. The expected costs are from a couple hundred workers temporarily
descending on Cheyenne requiring health and emergency services.
At the June CHPAS
board meeting, members approved staying involved in the Roundhouse issue. The
Roundhouse folks have a little mitigation money we could direct toward a study to
benefit birds at this and other wind farms. There is a Technical Advisory
Committee we need to keep track of. And we need to lobby to give Game and
Fish’s recommendations more legal standing so they can’t be ignored.
It’s too bad
I don’t watch courtroom dramas. The hearing would have been easier to navigate.
But everyone—DEQ employees, the Roundhouse team, council members, hearing
examiner, court reporter—was very supportive of CHPAS’s participation. They
rarely see the public as a party at these hearings. I just wish we could have
had one or more conditions accepted on behalf of the birds.
Barb Gorges is the most
recent past president of the Cheyenne – High Plains Audubon Society which
represents Audubon members in Laramie, Goshen and Platte counties.