Tenaya Creek, laden with heavy spring rain and snow melt, rushes over a cascade near Mirror Lake
I recently spent some time digging through my archives from a May 2011 trip to Yosemite National Park. I had processed some of my favorites right after the trip, but it was fun to delve a little deeper for images I had initially overlooked. It's so easy to get caught up in the dramatic rock faces, that I had passed over some of the more intimate scenes I stopped to photograph along the way. I found a few "new" images that I'm excited about, including this one, but what stood out to me the most during this exercise was the incredible beauty of Yosemite National Park. We only spent a couple of days in the valley on that trip, but there are so many stunning scenes. It is a photographic regret of mine that we didn't spend more time in that incredible place while living in California -- but it's nice to have a list of good reasons to go back and visit!
A sanderling ruffles its feathers and splashes water as it bathes in the shallows at Parker River NWR
When I photographed this flock of sanderlings at the Lot 6 Beach in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge last month, I set up in my ground level position fairly near to the edge of the receding tide. I barely had to move over the next 45 minutes as the flock surrounded me and the birds went about their collective evening routines. It was a delight to share space with them in the fading light, but especially to watch the birds wade and bathe in the shallow water of the ebbing tide. I had never been quite this close to a splashing shorebird before, but I'd love to have the chance to repeat the experience again!
A California quail posing on a fencepost near Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes National Seashore
I've been posting a lot of shorebirds lately since I've had some great recent outings in the area, but I still have a backlog of images from my five day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore over the summer. As I always do while in the park, I was constantly scanning for opportunities to photograph California quail. This particular male perched himself on a relatively plain fencepost, but in front of a nicely colored hillside for a backdrop.
A semipalmated sandpiper searches the exposed sands for a late afternoon meal in Parker River NWR
On my most recent trip to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the only sandpipers I saw and photographed were sanderlings. The exception was this lone semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) mixed in with the flock, which gave me a few chances to diversify my photographs from the outing.
A sanderling pauses a moment to preen its feathers in the fading light of sunset on Plum Island
I really enjoy watching sandpipers preen. It's just an ordinary part of their existence, but it's a special moment to share with them. It's sometimes challenging to capture an effective photograph of those moments though, as their mid-preen poses often don't look that elegant in a still frame. If I lay on the shutter release long-enough, occasionally I come away with a rewarding pose -- one that has enough of the eye visible and the bird with reasonable posture. Even better when you get to see it all come together in nice light too!
A sanderling splashes water droplets as it feeds in the pastel colors of dusk in Parker River NWR
From my evening last weekend with a friendly flock of sanderlings in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. I spent over 45 minutes with this flock as they went through their evening routine of feeding, preening, and splashing through the calm waters of an ebbing tide at sunset.