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City of Rocks

Wallace Keck calls this photo of a tree growing out of boulder at City of the Rocks National Reserve, 'A Study in Contrasts.'

Sutphin's corner: By looking for a location that utilizes stark contrasts, the photographer is able to make the subject pop without manipulating or altering the scene.

ALMO — Wallace Keck hunts down a lot of animals both on the job and off.

Even on vacations, Keck is on the lookout for targets, such as the Black-crested Titmouse or Golden-cheeked Warbler.

As an accomplished photographer, his shots are nonlethal.

Keck is the superintendent of City of Rocks National Reserve and director of Castle Rocks State Park. He’s rarely seen without a camera slung over his shoulder. He is a member of the Magic Valley Camera Club, but you’ll often find him in someone else’s viewfinder.

“Rumor has it that our photographer lives outside and only goes indoors to post photos,” says the City of Rocks Facebook page, which is full of Keck’s photos and promotions of southern Idaho tourism.

He holds photo workshops and wildlife safaris for photographers of all levels throughout the year in the Almo area. The next photo workshop will be Jan. 19, followed by a weekend safari.

Keck also hosts Great Backyard Bird Counts several times each year. The next bird count is Jan. 3.

He set a goal to see 300 species of birds last year, and he put at least 10,000 miles on his Jeep Liberty looking for them. Birding took him to more than 50 parks and wildlife refuges, where he shared experiences with casual birdwatchers and serious birders alike. Keck maintains a blog about his “epic birding trips” in which he meets the Elegant Trogon, Whiskered Screech Owl and Strickland’s Woodpecker along tree-lined creeks across the U.S.

Keck came to Idaho 14 years ago from Arkansas and lives in the Big Cove near Almo.

His best advice for photographing wildlife?

“Don’t ever say, ‘I’ll get that one down the road later. There is no tomorrow,” Keck said, when it comes to taking the right shot.

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