I'm back in Northern California after our very busy but great holiday travels, and I wanted to wish you all a (belated) Happy New Year! I still have a handful of images from late 2009 that I haven't had the chance to post yet (including probably two more sets from the San Diego Zoo), but I thought I would start off a new year with a recap of my favorite photos that I took in 2009 (as inspired by Jim Goldstein's annual Blog Project). Last year was a really fun year for me photographically, as I had some of the best wildlife encounters I've ever experienced, as well as upgrades to both a longer lens and a new camera.
In no particular order, here's my Fine Fifteen from 2009.
Without a doubt this was one of my favorite shots from last year -- it even appeared as an editor's choice in the Autumn Issue of The Nature Conservancy's magazine.
When I went to Ano Nuevo State Reserve in January, we opted for a late day tour, since we had done an early one the previous year. It turned out that we were always facing into the sun when viewing the elephant seals, which made for poor photo conditions. However, we luckily decided to walk one of the other beaches in the park for the sunset, and were treated to great light on three spectacular giants.
As I wrote about when I posted this one, I am still searching for my 'perfect' shot of the bridge in the fog, but this one did turn out nicely.
My Halloween outing to Point Reyes was one of my favorite wildlife experiences I've ever had (posted as a four part series, see part one here). I had never before spent time with a wild coyote up close, and the deer gave some great poses too. This was one of those times that the experience makes the images better in my mind than they may actually be, and I had to limit myself to picking just two.
Spending this much time with a coyote is something I won't soon forget.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to get a nice series of this willet in the overcast early morning light.
This shot was an attempt on my part to make the conscious effort to get out of my comfort zone and take images that were not wildlife based. There was something attractive to me about this tumbleweed shape in the sands of Point Reyes.
A classic pose of a dowitcher preening from the ponds at Radio Road.
This was the closest I've ever been able to get to oystercatchers, as a trio of them were quite relaxed along the rocks at Point Lobos State Reserve. The overcast skies made for some dreary scenery, but also for a great exposure of their black plumage against the sandstone.
Taking a friendly charge from this guy was quite a thrill, and he gave me this awesome pose as my prize for not ducking under the bench I was sitting on.
I'm a sucker for both preening birds and Northern Shovelers -- so put them together, and this had to be one of my favorites.
This great blue heron was kind enough to allow me to work my way in quite close for some full-frame portraits.
After finding very few birds along the beach at Limantour Spit, this sparrow was waiting for me in the parking lot when I returned to the car.
It was a pleasure to watch a small group of godwits feeding in the surf at Drake's Beach in Point Reyes.
A different angle on a small waterfall on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, WA.
Here's to hoping that 2010 gives all of us even more memories, and some stunning photos too.