Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Photographs of 2012

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
Snowy owl on sea ice along the beach

The Great Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore
The Great Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore reflecting warm sunset colors

Tranquility at sunset, Dowitcher at Radio Road Ponds
High key image of a dowitcher at sunset

Semipalmated plover at sunset, Sandy Point State Reservation
Semipalmated plover in warm sunset colors at Sandy Point State Reservation

Portrait of an ibis, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Portrait of a white ibis in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Barred owl, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Barred owl in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tricolored heron, Bunche Beach Preserve
Focused tricolored heron in a tidal pool at Bunche Beach

Merlin, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Portrait of a merlin sitting on a fence railing

Tule elk at sunset, Point Reyes National Seashore Windblown 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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Barred owl, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Barred owl in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

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.