Showing posts with label favorite photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label favorite photos. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Favorite Photographs of 2015

As we prepare to turn the page on another year, I always enjoy looking back on my work to create a post for Jim Goldstein's Annual Favorite Photographs Blog Project. I'm disappointed to report that I failed miserably at my new year's resolution to spend more time reconnecting with nature, especially through local parks, this year. However, I did have a handful of special opportunities with my camera, including wading birds in southwestern Florida in the spring, baby piping plovers on Plum Island over the summer, and a very foggy trip to Acadia National Park in August.

If you're interested, here are my favorite photographs from 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Without further ado, my favorites from this year are below in no particular order.

Reacquainted with the sunrise
It was great to be out for the sunrise again a few times over the summer, and especially to share those golden moments with the breeding piping plovers at Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island. The chicks were adorable enough on their own, but it was fun to try to capture the moments of interaction with their parents.
Photograph of a piping plover chick approaching its parent in early morning light

Least tern delivers a fish, Sandy Point State Reservation
The beaches on Plum Island are a breeding ground for other coastal birds as well, including least terns. This pair nested fairly close to the perimeter of the protected area, providing a great view into their tender moments. Here, one partner brought a fish back to the other as it incubated the eggs. I'm disappointed that I clipped the wing tip in this frame, but I still love that both beaks are on the fish during the exchange.
Photograph of a least tern delivering a fish to its partner

Little blue reflection, Bunche Beach Preserve
I had a lot of fun over two mornings in southwestern Florida watching the wading birds during low tide at Bunche Beach Preserve. There was a great diversity of species, but the little blue herons were particularly photogenic. Here, one appeared to walk across the still water of a tidal pool.
Little blue heron looks like it's walking on water in southwest Florida

Curious piping plover chick, Sandy Point State Reservation
These tiny chicks really were a highlight of my summer. I saw them unexpectedly on an outing in June, and then I just had to keep coming back. They were quite curious about all of the photographers lying in the sand to see them, often coming well within my 8' minimum focusing distance. I came home with a lot of images to consider for this list, but this on with the exaggeratedly shallow depth of field was my favorite.
Shallow depth-of-field photograph of a young piping plover

Sun slipping behind the fog, Acadia National Park
Our annual trip to Acadia National Park was wonderful, but we fought the fog the whole time. I had hoped for multiple sunrises or sunsets above the fog, but as it turned out, the first evening was the only chance we had. This image was taken from the trails below the summit of Mount Cadillac as the fog swirled around us.
Photograph of the sun slipping behind the fog in Acadia National Park

Hungry least tern chick, Sandy Point State Reservation
Late in the summer, it was fun to see the young birds growing up. It was interesting to note the difference between the piping plovers that had to feed themselves from their first day and the young terns that relied on their parents to bring back each meal. Here, this least tern was kicking up sand as it impatiently watched its parent circling overhead with a fish.
Photograph of a hungry least tern chick calling out to its parents

Little blue heron in morning light, Bunche Beach Preserve
It was a really long winter in Boston this year with record snowfall, so it felt great to fly south to Florida for a few warm days in March. For me, nothing beats a sunrise photographing birds in the sand and it was almost too easy there. I would just set up next to a tidal pool, and it wouldn't take long for a flock of birds to arrive.
Little blue heron at sunrise on Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, Florida

Piping plover parents, Sandy Point State Reservation
The brooding behavior of the piping plover parents was wonderful to witness, like in this case when all four chicks scooted underneath. However, these moments of calm were short-lived -- the chicks would be off running in four separate directions soon!
Piping plover chicks snuggled under their parent's feathers in Massachusetts

Roseate spoonbill feeding at Bunche Beach Preserve
A highlight of our Florida trip was the chance to photograph this juvenile roseate spoonbill feeding in a tidal pool. It offered a lot of stately poses, but I like the more comical expression captured in this frame the most.
Feeding roseate spoonbill splashes water at Bunche Beach

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Favorite Photographs of 2014

One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is to take a step back and reflect on the work I was able to produced over the last 12 months. I probably wouldn't take the time to consider this exercise so carefully if it wasn't for Jim Goldstein's Annual Blog Project -- so many thanks again to Jim for coordinating such a great effort every year!

I started putting together an annual favorites post in 2009, and I ended up skipping it for the first time in 2013. I had very few chances to get out with my camera last year, other than a fantastic trip to Hawaii. As the calendar rolled through the first few months of 2014, I really felt like something was missing from my life and I made a concerted effort to find time to get out and connect with nature through my photography. While my overall number of trips was still relatively small this year, many of the trips I did have were exciting and productive. Some highlights, in addition to working with shorebirds on the local Massachusetts beaches, were spending five fantastic days back in Point Reyes National Seashore and visiting Acadia National Park for the first time (a location that seems destined to become an annual trip for me). Anyway, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my ten personal favorites from 2014.

Curious quail in focus, Point Reyes National Seashore
It was great to return to my favorite park again after almost two years. While June isn't necessarily my preferred season for wildlife there, the quails were out in abundance. This curious male was bouncing between the bushes near the Abbott's Lagoon parking lot.
Curious quail in Point Reyes National Seashore

Sanderling in the shallows at dusk, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
One of my favorite shorebird encounters of the year came in late October on a trip to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The sun was dropping low in the sky and I thought I was heading home empty-handed, but a last minute choice to walk the path to Beach #6 yielded a very friendly flock of sanderlings in the evening light.
Sanderling wading through the shallows at dusk in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Mount Cadillac Sunrise, Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has been on our to-do list since moving to the Northeast, and we made our first trip there in August. The summit of Mount Cadillac holds some real magic, especially at sunrise.
Sunrise from the summit of Mount Cadillac in Acadia National Park

Sanderlings in a sand storm, Plymouth Beach
It was incredibly windy on my first trip to Plymouth Beach, with really strong gusts whipping up the sand. This is perhaps the most unique shooting conditions I had this year -- and an interesting chance to document the daily challenges of being a shorebird.
Sanderlings brace against blowing sand on Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts

California quail calling out, Golden Gate National Recreation Area
For a long time my photographic wishlist has included photographing a male California quail in song. I love to hear their calls, and they toss their heads back with such gusto. It was awesome to have the chance to spend time watching this quail singing from a photogenic perch along the hillside in Tennessee Valley.
Quail singing from a twisted branch of coyote brush

Sanderling searching for prey at sunset, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
I only made it out twice this fall for the shorebird migration, but I was fortunate to have great encounters on both occasions. My best opportunities were primarily with sanderlings, and this bird's transitional plumage stood out nicely in the late golden light.
Sanderling looking for a meal at sunset in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Common tern at Sandy Point State Reservation
I was a little too early for migrating shorebirds on this summer trip to the North Shore, but a flock of common terns was a delightful consolation prize.
Common tern on the beach at Sandy Point State Reservation

Dunlin feeding in front of the waves, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
I started experimenting with an even lower ground-level style this year, providing an effectively shallower depth of field for creamy foregrounds and backgrounds.
Dunlin feeding in Massachusetts with shallow DOF

California quail atop the brush, Point Reyes National Seashore
I'm not one to pass up the chance for a quail portrait, and this handsome male was particularly photogenic in this coastal scrub setting in Point Reyes.
A California quail stands atop the brush near Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes National Seashore

Sanderling splash, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
It was a very special experience to be laying so close to this sanderling as it washed its feathers and splashed around in the shallows of an ebbing tide.
Sanderling splashing as it takes a bath at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

As a bonus, here is my favorite image that my wife took of me in action this year -- photographing the sunrise in Acadia National Park with my four-legged assistant. One of the best parts of going to Acadia is that it's a super dog-friendly area, so my pup was able to enjoy the entire experience with us.
Photographer photographs the sunrise as his dog watches the morning light in Acadia National Park

If you're interested in seeing more of my work, here are my Favorite Photographs of 2012, Favorite Photographs of 2011, Favorite Photographs of 2010, and Favorite Photographs of 2009.

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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Favorite Photographs of 2011

Inspired by Jim Goldstein's Annual Blog Project, here are my favorite photos from 2011. They may not be the most technically correct images I made this year, and they aren't necessarily the most popular images that I posted, but these are the ten that mean the most to me.

2011 was a productive year for me photographically. In addition to posting over 150 entries on this blog, I participated in my first art show, made my first print sales, had my images appear in a variety of conservation publications (including a cover for Naturalia AC's magazine), and had one of my images selected as Highly Honored in the 2011 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards competition. Additionally, I completed my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley and relocated to the Boston area this fall. My wife and I had an awesome road trip across the country during our move, and we spent 10 days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks -- a childhood dream come true for me!

Without further ado, here are my favorite photographs of 2011, in no particular order, with a link to the original blog post of each.

A sanderling for Laura
This first image on my list is the one that is most meaningful for me, since I dedicated this sanderling and its reflection to my sister-in-law, Laura, after she was taken from us by a random act of violence in November. While Laura’s time with us was far too short, she lived an amazingly full life and impacted an incredible number of people. Her zest for life and fierce love of family, friends, and science will be forever reflected in those of us who knew her – and we will each be a better person for carrying her spirit with us as we move forward.
A sanderling with its reflection dedicated to Laura

Bull moose at sunrise
Finding moose to photograph was a high priority during our trip to Grand Teton National Park, and we were fortunate to find some each morning. I was amazed to see how large these animals really are, and it was a great pleasure to watch this bull and his female companion browse in the sagebrush in the early morning light.
Bull moose in the sage brush at sunrise in Grand Teton National Park

Quail on gnarled branches
I had great luck with quail this year in Point Reyes National Seashore, and it would be easy to make a post of my favorite 10 quail images from 2011. While I had a hard time deciding which image I wanted to include in this list, I went with this handsome male perched on an old coyote bush because of the interesting shape and texture of its perch.
Quail on gnarled branches of coyote brush in Point Reyes National Seashore

Pronghorn in the grass
Heading into our visit to Yellowstone National Park the chance to photograph pronghorn was high on my wish list. Much to my surprise and delight, there was a group of about 8 individuals that were hanging out by the Gardiner entrance almost every day we were there.
Pronghorn in the grass in Yellowstone National Park

Young bull tule elk
This was my favorite shot of my last trip to Point Reyes National Seashore before moving to the East Coast. Point Reyes is where I fostered my passion for photography, and it will always have a very special place in my heart. The pose of this young elk set against that foggy background perfectly captured the emotion of that final trip.
Young bull tule elk standing in tall grass on a foggy day in Point Reyes National Seashore

Burrowing owl at the Berkeley Marina
Every year a small group of burrowing owls take up a winter residence at Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina. I took a number of weekend trips to watch these lovely (and surprisingly small) owls, and this was my favorite shot of the grumpy looking one that made its home on the rocks.
Photographic portrait of a Western Burrowing Owl

Song sparrow singing
As I was photographing wildflowers on an overcast June day in Point Reyes National Seashore, a loud song from this tiny bird caught my attention. I looked up from my viewfinder and discovered that it had perched quite close to me. I watched it sing a few more stanzas before it flew away.
Song sparrow singing from a perch in Point Reyes National Seashore

Quiet glance
On this February trip to Point Reyes National Seashore, I was able to sit in my car along the road as a large herd of tule elk surrounded me. It was such a pleasure to be in the middle of their daily activities, and I just love the quiet look that this beautiful female gave me.
Portrait of a female tule elk in Point Reyes National Seashore

Got him! A plover catches a worm
I took a few spring trips to Pillar Point Harbor with the hope of photographing some black-bellied plovers in their dramatic summer plumage before they migrated north. It was a delight to watch these beautiful birds hunt for worms right in front of my lens, and I loved how much tension you could see on the worm in this shot just before it pops out of its burrow.
Black-bellied plover pulling a worm from the sediments

Elephant seal at sunset
One of the things I will miss most about no longer living in California is my annual trip to Año Nuevo State Reserve to see the northern elephant seals. They are incredible animals to behold, and were absolutely one of my favorite subjects to photograph.
Northern elephant seal bellowing in front of sandstone cliffs

I hope you enjoyed my favorites from this year! If you're interested, please check out my 2010 Favorites and 2009 Favorites, or browse my portfolios and full body of work at