Monday, December 13, 2010


A number of people who missed my exhibit down at Water St. Coffee Joint, or missed an opportunity to purchase a print, wondered if I had the photos online.

Well, in the absence of a central website (it's in the works), I'm posting the entire show on my blog so people can see it and review it for potential Christmas gifts.

(Along these lines, any of the photos on my blog are available for purchase. Please refer to the sizes and prices listed in the side-bar to the right for those photos)


Great Blue Heron - 15 X 24"

Cedar Waxwing - 6 x 10"

Doe & Two Fawns - 10 x 18"

Whitetail Doe - 16 x 22"

Coyote - 10 x 18"

Red-Tailed Hawk - 16 x 22"

American Kestrel - 8 x 16"

Kingfisher - 12 x 20"

Black Capped Chickadee - 8 x 10"

Osprey - 12 x 20"

Tree Sparrow - 8 x 10

Killdeer - 10 x 14

White Breasted Nuthatch 8 x 10"

Whitetail Bucks - 12 X 18"

All photographs are printed with archival inks on 100% cotton, archival paper.
To purchase prints, either use PayPal (in the right column) or make check out and send to:

579 Nazareth Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048

NOTE: Include $5.00 for shipping/handling on all orders.
With either PayPal or mail-order, remember to identify the photo(s) and quantity you're ordering.

Questions can be directed to Matt Clysdale at

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010


Early November. This is the period of the rut when things get surreal.

When bucks show up in the strangest of places - in broad daylight.

Drawn by the lust to breed, bucks shadow does in heat, where ever it may take them.
Not unlike a dutiful guy tending his girl all the way to a woman's store at the mall.
The price we pay for love.

I noticed this buck tailing a doe in front of WMU's School of Engineering at daybreak on the 8th. It's possible the doe was grazing there for breakfast and got trapped by the sudden traffic of the day, or perhaps the buck had corralled her there for a private little tryst, away from other competing bucks.

The hunchbacked buck below was little threat because of a crippling wound from a previous year. It was a sad sight to see him limping around, driven by his own lust, hoping to get in on the action. He was a fine 10 point at one time and I'm sure quite a player when it came to the does. He was always a step behind the dominant but would limp away with little more than a stern look.

When traffic started to pick up, the doe and buck sought some temporary cover in the tall, landscaping grass. As it is with doe so often, she suddenly bolted out of the grass and high-tailed it out of the area for another quirky little island of cover basically in the middle of another field - also out in the open and next to traffic. Right behind her was the eager 8 point.


Seasons Greetings,

Just a reminder that my wildlife photos at Water Street Coffee Joint (downtown location) are coming down this Saturday. So, if you’re looking for a unique, locally made gift, consider a fine art photograph of native wildlife to gift that special person in your life. 

Prints range in price from $10 to $75, making it possible for just about anyone--even in this economy--to take a little bit of nature home with them. 

Stop on in this week for a cup of coffee with chickadees, herons, bucks and coyotes.  

Enjoy the last days of Autumn and the forthcoming Winter wonderland. 
Happy Holy-days!

Matt Clysdale

Saturday, November 20, 2010


When I'm chasing a buck--nose to the ground, so to speak--it's easy to fly by the rest of the forest, especially the canopy. 

It's nice to stop and look up. 

And then eat my lunch.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Last summer I stumbled upon a very promising mature buck with an impressive rack (below). He was hanging with another bachelor who was literally and metaphorically out of focus for me; this beta buck's rack didn't have the same grandeur as our big buck in the foreground and consequently I never gave him any thought - until now.

After scores of days in the field, searching for that bigger buck, to this day, I still haven't had a single sighting. Instead, that blurry buck in the background has come to the fore and proven to be the Don Juan of the area. I've run into him about a half dozen times now, and nearly every single time he's been hot on a doe.

This first photo (above) was caught on the run when I saw him hound-dogging a doe group. The photo gave me a chance to study his rack and that's when I realized who he was - and pleased with the way his rack had grown out.

Given the way this buck has been ruling the roost, without any real competition--compounded by a sighting and reports of hunters (there's no hunting allowed in this area)--I'm starting to think the bigger buck got poached. Something I never, ever expected for the public property they live on in the city.

I can just hear the experts chuckling right now thinking he's just a wise and wary old buck, giving me the run around. Well, I'm not so sure. Unless his libido has expired, he should be courting or fighting for one of the many does in the area and making himself known. 

I hope he proves me wrong.

In the meantime, this backup has proven to be a decent substitute. I can't complain.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Another reason the Carolina Wren is a symbol of fall for me is because it's colors match the hues of late autumn: tans, browns, rust, and a splash of white for the early snows.

Oh, by the way, this little guy was photographed at the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy's Bow In The Clouds nature preserve off Nazareth Road.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I scouted these bucks earlier in the season, looking for a bruiser I could follow for some prime photos. Not all bucks are worth following.




I'm keeping an eye on this guy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


You know the rut is right around the corner when you find your deer target decapitated and thrown down to the ground by an irascible buck in the middle of the night.

Bucks are revving up for the chance to breed a doe (the rut) and starting to challenge the local competition, even the fake ones! I had the same thing happen with a fake tom during turkey breeding season. He got pretty torn up as well.

Check out the bend in the stake that holds up the deer. That's almost a 45 degree bend in half inch steel. That's some serious fury!

Monday, October 18, 2010


In my experience, I know Autumn is peaking when I hear the clarion call of the Carolina Wren, slicing through the morning fog of a chilly, October morn.

Ever since I first heard, and filmed, my first Carolina Wren down at Kleinstuck Marsh, that piercing call has become the signature bird song for my favorite time of year. It serves as a life affirming siren when the air is still and the decay of Autumn lays down an eery silence.

In my wildlife doc, ANIMALS AMONG US, the little wren has a small but starring role in the big buck scene where I begin an obsessive quest for Karl, the alpha buck of Kleinstuck Marsh. He's in the opening part of the scene, setting the mood for Autumn's classic, ritual hunt for whitetail bucks.

Producing and editing a documentary has a way of etching sights and sounds into the memory banks, causing them to spontaneously surface in life and add meaning to a moment. Well, two days ago, the bold little Carolina Wren did just that, bringing all the fond memories and sensations from that indelible moment some six or seven years ago to the fore. Just like the scene in the film, he signals the beginning of a mad search for a massive rack, "worthy of a good shot". And just like the film, you'll be seeing, and hearing, more about my pursuit.

Monday, October 4, 2010


...want to thank everyone who came out for the opening at Water Street last Friday. Your presence contributed to a steady stream of people flowing in and out of that beautifully tiny coffee joint. It all made for a good buzz, a lot of good will, and plenty of mini-reunions of friends and family.

(Unfortunately, there are no photos from the night of the "event" because we were too busy living in the moment)

I was personally thrilled to see photos that were living in my computer screen for months, if not years, finally hanging on the wall in front of satisfied eyes. The images seemed to pass the test: people REALLY liked them.

That's why I want, and need, to thank some others for my first wildlife photography exhibit: my parents for all their love and support; Kirsten Field for curating Water Street; Brent Spink for inspiration and insight into my new stomping ground, Schipper's Crossing; my dear friend Michele for supporting me in my craft; all the others who offered feedback and support; and of course, big thanks to the wildlife, the land, creation and the mysterious life force that crafted all these masterpieces I only mine with my lens.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


If you didn't get one of these cards in the mail, or pick one up around town, then I formally gift you with an invitation to my photography exhibit this Friday, in Kalamazoo Michigan.

This Friday is the infamous Art Hop for October in Kalamazoo, and this one proves to be insanely big and busy, with an emphasis on photography. There's a photographic conference going on at WMU this weekend, so photography is the buzz around town.

I'm personally thrilled to see my own work magically shape-shift from a digital image on screen to a real, tangible photograph, hanging on the wall. If you've been following my blog, and come to the show, you can also experience this transformation.

It's also a chance to purchase a framable print, at "just starting out" prices. So invest now, before inflation kicks in.

Nearly all the photographs were taken in and around Kalamazoo, except for two that were taken at Ottawa Marsh in the Allegan State Game Area. So these are our urbanm, animal neighbors, and there's a distinct possibility you my have seen one running, or flying, around town.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Driving around late summer and early fall, I always see more redtail hawks than usual, with the light chest glaring from a distance on a telephone pole or wire. Now that I know redtail behavior so intimately, I know full well these are the juveniles from this years brood striking out on their own, trying to earn a living. They're learning the ropes when it come to hunting.

As rookies, or novitiates, they don't have hunting down yet. That's why they perch in some of the oddest and most conspicuous spots. The bird above and below stuck out like a sore thumb right off East Michigan Ave, surveying a patch of mowed grass just outside the junk yard and unusually close to traffic. The juvies cluelessness is a photographers blessing because it means extreme approachability. Any adult redtail, in their right mind, will instantly fly if it senses you approaching within 100 yards. They can be a real challenge. Juvies, however, are a real gift.

The trade off to this easy photographic victory is the absence of the trademark, rust colored tail of the mature red-tail, as well as the less mottled chest. There is a graphic clarity to the adult redtail that makes it a more prized visual, much like the adult bald eagle compared to a juvenile. The adult is simply more beautiful.

What amuses me about the juvy red-tail though is how they remind me of myself when I first took up whitetail deer hunting, particularly with bow and arrow. When I first started, being relatively clueless as to deer behavior, movement, eating habits, and just how damn elusive they can be, I would plunk myself down in the middle of the woods, next to what looked like any old game trail, thinking right at dusk a deer would come sauntering along. Or I would sit a tree stand in a small tree in the middle of an open field, sticking out like a window washer on the side of a building, thinking I was invisible. It's amazing how far I've come. The same will be true for any juvy hawk that survives the passage into adulthood.

The driving force though can be hunger, sharpening the hunting skills as hunger zeros in on prey. All the crazy, trial, hunting zones (the ones that initially felt like a jack-pot) just don't bear any fruit, and any hawk (or hunter) with sufficient processing power, figures this out quickly and moves on. The same was true for me. The only difference being the absence of hunger. I would go home and simply open up the fridge. My learning curve was a tad slower than the hawks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From The Wild to the Walls of Water Street

I'm really excited to announce my exhibition of wildlife photos at Water Street Coffee Joint during the months of October and November.

Some of the photos seen in my blog, as well as many never seen before photos, will finally greet the public in my first exhibition of wildlife photographs. The show opens on the October Art Hop which happens to be Friday, October 1st, coincidentally the opening day of archery season for deer. Clearly my favorite time of year and I'm thrilled to finally share some of my photos with the public.

You'll be hearing more from me about the show as it approaches.

Friday, August 6, 2010