Monday, January 11, 2016

Little blue staredown, Bunche Beach Preserve

A straight-on photograph of a little blue heron at Bunche Beach Preserve

Little blue herons have such a great "personality" and this one put on a show for me last spring at Bunche Beach Preserve. I saw it catch a surprising number of fish in this small tidal pool, all the while casting a series of expressive poses. Though, I can't quite decide if this straight-on looks is more comical or stoic.

View more photographs of herons and egrets

Sunday, January 10, 2016

In the shadow of my hat, Plover chick at Parker River NWR

Photograph of a plover chick stepping into the shadow of my hat

When I was putting together my Favorite Photographs of 2015 post, I had a hard time winnowing down the number of piping plover chicks to include. In the end, I still selected plovers for 3 of the 9 photos, which felt a bit heavy-handed, but it was so special to share space with these curious young birds multiple times throughout the summer. This photo helps to illustrate just how inquisitive they were. There I was, lying in the sand photographing the chicks as they scurried around the beach, and this one took a real interest in trying to figure out what I was. It came close enough to step into the shadow that was cast by the low hanging sunrise and the hat I was wearing. From my experience visiting the beach a few times over the summer, the chicks were very curious about the photographers in the sand -- often coming well within the minimum focusing distance of my lens.

View more photographs of piping plovers

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sanderling and reflection, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Photograph of a sanderling walking with its reflection in Massachusetts

This trip to Parker River NWR in October 2014 was one of the most productive sandpiper encounters I've ever had. I came across a very friendly flock of sanderlings a little before sunset, and I stayed with them until it was too dark to shoot anymore. As they went through their evening rituals of feeding, preening, and bathing, the sun went from subtle warmth behind high clouds, to brilliantly golden as it slipped to the top of the dunes, to deep pastels as day faded into night. It was one of those encounters that left me feeling so connected to nature, one that in the moment you hope can last forever, but ultimately I had to force myself to slowly back away and head to the car as darkness spread over the beach.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Elephant seal for the new year, Año Nuevo State Reserve

Photograph of a bull elephant seal under an overcast sunset at Año Nuevo State Reserve

For my first post of the new year, I thought I'd dig into the archives to celebrate one of my favorite January traditions while living in California -- the northern elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Reserve. There's nothing quite like seeing these beasts hauled out on the beach, and I definitely miss being an easy car ride away from the spectacle. These two frames are of the beachmaster of loser's beach in January 2011. After successfully charging a rival seal back into the water he reared back and roared before settling back into the sand.

Photograph of an elephant seal resting on the beach at Año Nuevo State Reserve

View more photographs of elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Reserve

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sun slipping behind the fog, Acadia National Park

Photograph of the sun slipping behind the fog in Acadia National Park

As we watch the sun set on 2015, I can't help but wait with anticipation for the sun to rise on the new year. This past year was a really busy one, and while I don't see signs of that changing in 2016, I do hope to find a way to make more of an effort to connect with nature on a regular basis. I discovered my need to use nature photography as a meditation while in California for graduate school, and it's been exciting to see the recent articles (like the cover story for the January issue of National Geographic) supporting what I found to be intrinsically true. So as I look forward to 2016, I wish you all the best for a great year filled with family, friendship, love, and quiet time spent in nature!

This image from the slopes of Cadillac Mountain was the only landscape I selected for my Favorite Photographs of 2015 post. I had previsualized a number of photographs that I hoped to work at on the trip, but the ever present coastal fog had other plans. For about 20 minutes on our first evening in the park, I had my only chance at seeing a sunset, and I think that this is my favorite frame from that experience. What was most surprising to me was how quickly the fog descended down from the summit of Mount Cadillac once the sun slipped behind the fog for the last time.

View more photographs from Acadia National Park.