Thursday, July 3, 2014

Five days in Point Reyes National Seashore

An overcast sunset at North Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore
An overcast sunset casts a pastel glow over the landscape at North Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.

In June, I had the opportunity to take a trip to relax and focus on photography for a few days. It had been almost two years since I was last in California, so I decided to spend those 5 days photographing and hiking around my favorite park, Point Reyes National Seashore. While early June isn't necessarily what I would consider prime time for photography in Point Reyes, I had an exceptional trip and came back with a number of photographs that I’m rather excited about. The wildflowers were really putting on a show (especially the wild radish and yellow bush lupine), the tule elk were looking handsome in their summer velvet, quail were running around all over the place, and I even had a nice encounter with a bobcat.

It was a truly refreshing experience to be back in a place that I love so dearly and to have the chance to focus so much contiguous time on experiencing the park through photography. Each morning I rolled out of bed with the first light under the fog and spent as long as possible photographing wildlife under the overcast skies. Then as the harsh light of the midday sun finally broke through, I'd pack away my camera and head out for a long hike. I hit up a number of trails that I had never hiked on during my five years of frequenting the park while I was in California, so it was great to experience new aspects of an old friend. Then as the sun started dropping, or the fog started rolling back in, I'd start searching for wildlife again.

I came back with a ton of pictures which are partially sorted and processed so far. You can drop by my Point Reyes National Seashore Special Collections to see my new work as I upload it, and I'm hoping to post new images here on the blog with a regular rhythm over the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Semipalmated sandpiper reflection, Sandy Point State Reservation

Semipalmated sandpiper reflection

I have a habit of keeping tons of images that I'll never do anything with. On my first pass after downloading the images from a trip, I'll delete anything that doesn't meet my standards for focus or sharpness. I'll mark images that have a particularly strong composition (flag with a "P" in Lightroom) to come back for another look, but I generally just let the normal images take up space on my disks and fill up my Lightroom catalogs. I basically make the argument that if it's sharp, perhaps I'll find a purpose for it later. I've really come to the realization though that there are tons of images I'll probably never look at again, and that I'll certainly never do anything with. So, I've started going through old folders and trimming out things that just don't meet a minimum level of compositional interest. It's kind of fun to re-experience old outings, and while my primary focus is cutting images, I've found a few diamonds in the rough that I had no idea were in there. This image of a semipalmated sandpiper and its reflection in the sand is one such example. I have no idea how this wasn't favorited when I took an initial pass through this folder, but I'm excited to find it again!

View my twenty favorite shorebird images in my Shorebirds Portfolio.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dunlin in the dunes, Sandy Point State Reservation

Dunlin in the dunes by Pat Ulrich

A dunlin peers out from a depression in the sand behind the dunes at Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island, Massachusetts.

View more of my dunlin photographs.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sanderling at sundown, Plymouth Beach

Sanderling at sunset on Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts

My most recent trip to Plymouth Beach was reminiscent of a California beach trip for me. I arrived a few hours before the sun was scheduled to set under clear blue skies. Then as I walked further along the beach, the beautiful high-level clouds started to move in. By the time I had reached what should have the "golden hour" I was sitting under delightful gray skies! A minor challenge was trying to find the right white balance under these conditions, but the dramatic skies provided some unique side lighting as this sanderling cruised along the round stones of the waterline.

See more in my Sanderlings Gallery.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Has it really been a year? Dunlin at Plymouth Beach

Wildlife Photography by Pat Ulrich: Resting dunlin on Plymouth Beach

Well today marks an entire year since I last posted a new image here on my blog. That's far too long! While I haven't had as much time over the past twelve months to put into photography, I'm starting to get back into a groove. A trip to Hawaii last summer and some recent trips to local beaches have provided a bunch of images to share, and I still have plenty of unpublished images sitting in my archives just waiting for their turn.

This image of resting dunlin is from Plymouth Beach, which is my new favorite spot to look for shorebirds. It was exciting to see them starting to molt into their summer colors when I was out earlier this weekend.

View more photographs of dunlin.