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.


  1. Your work is incredible - truly amazing.

  2. They are all so special, Pat............... Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. Great collection... Happy New Year. Pat.

  4. Just a stunning series Pat - The Snowy Owl is world class, erm so is the Tricolored Heron, as is the ......

  5. Happy New Year Pat, and what a wonderful selection of favored images. They are each quite beautiful! We adored our brief visit to Point Reyes National Seashore many years ago, and that image sparked memories. I have a friend who is a professor at Harvard. In years past I made several journeys to Boston and the campus is so lovely. Hoping your day and year are splendid in every way~

  6. I can not pick a favorite,the photos are all awesome,thanks for sharing your work & happy new year!phyllis

  7. Beautiful set of images Pat. That plover and sunset reflection is particularly nice. I wish you all the best and a creative 2013!

  8. Great images Pat. Glad to see Harvard isn't taking 100% of your time. Here's hoping you'll have more time to photograph in 2013.

  9. A truly lovely collection, Pat! Your photos and blog make me so homesick for Northern California. I can't wait to be back home but, in the meantime, it's wonderful to have these photographic representations of the people and animals I miss.