At the end of every year, I look forward to participating in Jim Goldstein's annual blog project. It's a great opportunity to force myself to sit back and evaluate my previous 12 months of photography, and to identify the images that mean the most to me.
This year was a photographic mixed-bag for me. I had many fewer opportunities to get out with my camera than in my previous years in California, as starting my new job at Harvard and adopting a dog over the summer have limited my time to get outside. At one point I actually went over 3 months without even touching my camera, which I followed-up with a blog post about how good it felt to get back out in nature with my camera in hand. That said, I started out my year with some cold-weather photography in the North Shore of Massachusetts (my new favorite local area), I took my first trip to southwestern Florida (including a stop at Ding Darling NWR), and over a year after leaving California, I made my first return trip in September. I was invited to give a talk at the 2012 Annual Photographic Society of America Conference, and I really enjoyed adding a local flavor to the nature presentations. Additionally, it felt great to get back out to the west coast! As most of you who have followed my work for a while probably could have guessed, I was in Point Reyes National Seashore for as much of my limited time on the trip as I could. I didn't see anything remarkable while I was there, but it was great to return to the birthplace of my photographic vision. This year I also added a few more publication credits to my record, including an alumni magazine at Cal, as well as my first book credit in Gary Crabbe's fantastic new book "Photographing California: Vol 1" -- a guide that I wish I had when I started exploring the great state of Northern California. Lastly, I was excited to find out that my image of fighting tule elk is on display at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum as part of a digital presentation of Highly Honored Images from the 2011 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards (view the digital presentation).
Even though this year was slower for me than in the past, I still came away with a handful of new images that I am excited about. Without further ado, here are my nine favorite photos from 2012, in no particular order.
Snowy Owl, Sandy Point State Reservation
The Great Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore
Tranquility at sunset, Dowitcher at Radio Road Ponds
Semipalmated plover at sunset, Sandy Point State Reservation
Portrait of an ibis, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Barred owl, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Tricolored heron, Bunche Beach Preserve
Merlin, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Tule elk at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore
If you're interested in seeing more of my work, here are my Favorite Images of 2011, Favorite Images of 2010, and Favorite Photos of 2009.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
To celebrate my 30th birthday this weekend, my wife and I took a trip up to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island so that I could hopefully find some shorebirds to photograph. I did manage to get myself pretty well-soaked in the cold, wet sand, but the real highlight was photographing this barred owl on the drive out of the park. It was a bit like being in Yellowstone, as we could see a cluster of cars pulled off the road and a slew of tripods all set up with their lenses pointed in one direction. I considered just driving by slowly to see what was there instead of joining the crowd, but I'm glad that my wife convinced me to stop and pull out my gear.
The sun had nearly fully set, so I had to up the ISO to 3200 to try to get a sharp shot, but it was a real delight to spend a few minutes photographing this gorgeous bird. A wonderful birthday surprise for sure!
View more owl photos in my Birds of Prey Gallery.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
On an overcast morning during the summer of 2011, I found a sizeable flock of Caspian terns relaxing on the exposed mudflats of the Estero de Limantour in Point Reyes National Seashore. In my experience, terns can be somewhat difficult to approach, since they are quick to fly away. However, this flock was amenable to a ground-level approach. As I crawled towards them across the sand, something spooked the flock and they all took flight. Much to my delight, they circled around a few times and landed closer to my position.
View more photos from the Limantour area of Point Reyes National Seashore.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
This past weekend, my wife and I took a trip out to Sandy Point State Reservation on the southern tip of Plum Island. The impacts of Hurricane Sandy and the recent Nor'easter were clear. The small dune that I found this flock of plovers taking refuge behind in early October is no longer there, as the beach is now one large flat expanse. It's fascinating to see the power of nature, and this was a prime example of the ephemeral existence of the beach environment.
View more of my photos of plovers.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
This image of the Great Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore at sunset was one that I had always intended to make while I was living in California. Somehow though, I never found myself near the lighthouse around sunset -- so I specifically added this shot to my to-do list for my September trip to Point Reyes. This view looking north from the lighthouse parking lot is a very common vantage point for photographers, but the sight of the last rays of the day lighting up the sandstone bluffs is well worth it. Even though I would have worked this scene regardless of the conditions, I was excited to see the wave-like patterns in the sand.
View more landscape photographs of Point Reyes National Seashore.