Today’s Shot

10 for 2017

10 for 2017

In 2017 I spent much of my “outdoor time” exploring Washington, our new state since mid 2016.  Most of my images from this year were clustered around a few species: bald eagles, short-eared owls, great horned owls, and jaguars.  Landscape efforts were focused mainly on Mt. Rainier.  Our “big” trip for the year was to the Pantanal in Brazil where we had great luck in seeing and photographing jaguars, as well as five types of indigenous king fishers.  These may not be my best shots from the last 12 months, but they are my favorites for a variety of reasons that I will comment on below.   2018 here we come!!

Click on an image to see it larger (highly recommended).  🙂

In no particular order:

#1 Hunting Jaguar

Jaguar (6748)

Seeing a jaguar in the wild was phenomenal.  And I was pleasantly surprised with how many good images I was able to capture of this amazing cat.






#2 Theft by Eagle

Bald Eagle (3425)

During the year I visited two areas where bald eagles congregated to feast on exposed fish.  In this scene the eagle is about to steal a bullhead fish that is just in front of the Great Blue Heron.  I have dozens of images of eagles to process from the year.





#3 Barred Owl

Barred Owl (9133)

I have seen barred owls several times over the years without much luck in getting a worthwhile image.  And then this happened in a small park in Seattle!







#4 Pygmy Kingfisher

Pygmy Kingfisher

We spotted this little jewel while in the Pantanal in Brazil.  I like this little guy because he reminds of this Malachite Kingfisher shot, that is also one my favorites.








#5  Mt. Rainier Meadow

Wildflowers (2249)

On of my first decent images of the wondrous wildflower displays that one can find near Mt. Rainier.








#6.  Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake (2114)

And my first decent image of Mt Rainier at Reflection Lake with a nice dash of color from wildflowers.  A twofer!









#7 Cougar Rock

Cougar Rock (0050)

A lovely sunset vantage point near Mt. Rainier.









#8 Mt. Rainier Fall

Rainier Color (3331)

An autumn scene near Mt. Rainier.  In Vermont the fall is all about looking up into the trees to see the display.  Here near Mt. Rainier it is all about looking down as Huckleberry and Larch provide much of the color.







#9  Goose Family

Canada Goose (3657)

Last year an image of a robin was a surprise entry in the top ten list.  This year it is the Canada Goose.  Usually not one of my favorite creatures, as explained here, but I love this image.

















#10  Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl (1917)

I prefer images of owls in flight but I can’t resist the grumpy face and devil horns of this short-eared owl.

Bald Eagle

A Bald Eagle catching fish at Seabeck, WA

10 for 16

2016 was a year of transition — we moved across the country from Vermont to Seattle, Washington and we (Nicky and I) both took on new jobs.  Between moving and career transition I did not have as much time for photography.  We did manage to make two trips to Yellowstone NP (once in the Fall, and once in the Winter) while most other photographic forays were weekend trips exploring our new state.  Four of my favorite images were shot in Washington while the other six images were shot in Yellowstone.  Click on image below to see it bigger (highly recommended).

The Top Ten for 2016:

#1  Bobcat

Bobcat, Hoh Rain Forest (4655)One of my earliest forays in Washington State allowed me to see my first bobcat in the wild and produced this amazing view in the Hoh Rainforest.  You can read the full story behind getting the shot here.






#2  Marmot

Marmot, Mt. Rainier, Olympic NP (0823)During the summer we visited Mt. Rainier several weekends in a row to try and capture the summer wildflowers at their peak.  I didn’t have much luck on that front though I did get this nice shot of a marmot.  And in my defense, there are 4 types of wild flowers in this scene!




















#3  Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl, Yellowstone NP (0550)I spent three magical hours alone with this Great Gray Owl in a forest in Yellowstone NP.  Wow.













#4   Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep, Yellowstone NP (5387)On the fall trip to Yellowstone I had my first sighting of a male Bighorn Sheep.  Our guide said that this may have been the biggest ram he had ever seen during his 35 years as a guide.


















#5 Yellowstone Landscape

Landscape, Yellowstone NP (3684)A nice sunset in Yellowstone captured using the HDR technique.  If HDR is jibberish to you, learn more here.







#6  Robin

American Robin, Washington State (1346)I have to admit that I never imagined that an image of a robin would make my top-of-the-year list, but I really like this scene of a robin in a holly tree.  Not bad for backyard photography.






#7  Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, Washington State (2213)I never had much luck in finding Short-eared Owls (SEOs) on the east coast. Turns out that many owls winter over in Washington state.   You now know how my winters will be spent…..This shot of an SEO taking off in the snow is my favorite capture so far.





#8  Coyote

Coyote, Yellowstone NP (3244)Our winter trip to Yellowstone provided my first opportunity at a decent image of a coyote.







#9  Bison

American Bison, Yellowstone NP (5584)The star attraction of our winter trip to Yellowstone was the bison.  I loved the abstract nature of this shot.







#10  Pronghorn in a snow storm

Pronghorn, Yellowstone NP (3659)Probably my favorite shot from our winter trip to Yellowstone.  One day one, five minutes from the gate at the end of the day as were leaving the park we found this herd of Pronghorn caught in a sudden flurry of snow.









Wishing you a great 2017!

10 for 15 B&W

A couple of days ago I posted 10 of my favorite images from 2015.  There were all color photos. Here is a sample of 10 of my favorite black and white images from 2015.  Is that cheating?

Loon, Vermont (9616)#1  Loon Take Off

This actually is a color photo that lacks color.  This image was shot on a  foggy, early morning pond looking into the sun.  I love the back-lit water splash.






Moose, Maine (4745)#2  Moose in the Mist

Another early morning shot.  There was not much color to be seen at this hour and converting to B&W set a great mood.







Spider Web, Vermont (0374-01)#3  Spider Web

I shot this photo with a point-and-shoot camera.  I love the multi-layered, diagonal transition from pure white in the upper left corner to pure black in the lower right corner.






Loon, Vermont (7843-003)#4  Loon Love

Harsh light when I shoot this image.  But in B&W the image suddenly seems to become a timeless ode to familial love.  (Its more an ode to hungry teenager, but let’s not ruin the moment…)






Moose, Cape Breton (2258)#5  Moose On The Trail

I like how this young moose really seems to pop in 3D with the different focal planes of the shot.




















Waxwing, Vermont (7443)#6  Waxwing Love

These birds were harshly back-lit and I almost didn’t take the shot.  But then I realized what a great silhouette it would make.  Glad I saw the light before it was too late….so to speak.






Waxwing, Vermont (9659)#7  Waxwing Love, part 2

Another pair of courting waxwings.  I shot this image while lying on the ground and supporting my 600 mm lens on my raised knees.  I had to shoot through many layers of leaves and branches.  I love the resulting effect.  Stealing a secret moment among the trees…





Alligator, Florida (3890)#8  Alligator

Really harsh mid-day light.  Converting to B&W really brings out the menace in this alligator.




















Blue Heron, Vermont (1472-001)#9  Ruffled Heron

I like the mixture of different hues and textures.  A lovely dreamscape…








Willet, Florida (8279-001)#10  Pedestal

I like how the bird really pops against the background.




















Bonus Images for making it to the end:


Loon, Vermont (7979-001)#11  Peek-A-Boo

More loon love.





















Lighthouse, Acadia National Park (1627)#12  Edge of the World

I love the color version of this image.  I converted it to B&W on a whim and to my surprise I like this version very much also.  The sky and ocean merge into one as the lighthouse beacons at the edge of the world.



10 for 15

It seems all the vogue with nature photographers these days to post their best shots from the previous year.  I figured I would give it a go.  Well, these are not all of my best shots but each is special to me for a range of reasons.  I will provide a quick explanation for each image and why I chose it.

The images are not in order by preference.   Please click on an image to see it larger (It is the best way to view them… :-))

Fall Abstract, Vermont (5038)#1  Fall Abstract
Despite living in Vermont for the last 5 years I haven’t had much luck in getting good fall foliage shots.  This year I had some great luck but I am most pleased with a series of shots where I experimented with a new technique (for me) that produced some nice abstract shots – to me they seem to really capture the explosion of color that happens here during this magical time in the Northeast.




Lighthouse-Bass Harbor-HDR2-v2#2  Lighthouse, Bass Harbor

I don’t shoot landscapes very often so my skills are pretty basic.  This year I managed to spend only one full day in Acadia National Park but still managed to get this respectable shot.  In this image I experimented with an HDR technique (I will explain this in a later post) that allowed me to capture the full dynamic range of the image.  Another experiment that went surprisingly well!




Loon, Vermont (7317)#3  Loon Chicks

2015 was the year of the Loon for me.  After 4 years of trying I finally managed to get some very nice images of loon chicks riding on the adult’s back.  The series of shots I got this year is definitely my best accomplishment of the year. (I still need to get these images on my website…)





Osprey, Vermont (9084)#4  Osprey

I have never had much opportunity to photograph osprey diving for fish.  This year I found an osprey family that lived near a fish hatchery and I was rewarded with a few new images to add to my portfolio.






Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Vermont (3197)#5 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

I had never seen this stunning bird until we moved to Vermont.  I also never had much luck in getting an image that came close to conveying how beautiful these birds are.  This year my luck improved.


















Moose, Maine (1672)#6  Moose and calf

This year I finally got my first decent image of a calf moose with mom.







My final 4 shots are from a trip to Florida that I took in December.  (I just got back a few days ago)


Blue Heron, Venice Rookery, Florida (2681)#7  Heron Love

I was able to capture a nice collection of behavior shots of Blue Herons at a rookery in Venice, Florida.  This couple displayed a fascinating range of courting rituals.  Here we can see the male giving a stick as a gift to his partner.  She will then add it to the nest that they were building for their new family.




Roseate Spoonbill, Ding Darling NWR, (4854)

#8  Roseate Spoonbill

I love this shot of a Roseate Spoonbill in flight.















Great Heron, Ding Darling NWR (8601)#9  Great Heron

I have always admired images like this where the background is all blacked out.  I was able to experiment with this technique on the recent trip and I was pleased with a few of the images.






White Pelican, Ding Darling NWR (5446)#10  Pelican Landing

This lighting on this pelican is exquisite! The colors blow me away.  Love it!







Bonus item for those making it to the end of this post:

#11  Moose Trip Video

This year I made my first video…not professional by any means but I think it does a good job of giving a sense of what it was like trying to photograph moose in Maine from a canoe.


Have a great 2016!

Happy Holidays 2014!

Happy Holidays 2014

Happy Holidays – 2013


Monday! Harrumph…

More from our recent trips to Canada

Great Gray Owl, Canada (4688)

Great Gray – Dinner

In the space of 10 minutes we saw this Great Gray Owl hunt twice – successfully.  This was the first meal…

Great Gray Owl, Canada (5875-3)
















Great Gray Owl

We spent the weekend in Canada looking for Great Gray Owls…more images to follow.

Great Gray Owl, Canada (4448)