2014 Photo Year-in-Review: My Favorite Shots

I’ve gone through my past year of shots in Lightroom, picked out my favorites, and present them here with brief descriptions of where and how I got them.

February 3rd

A bold Downy Woodpecker gets close. Washington Park Arboretum, February 3rd 2014

A bold downy woodpecker gets close. Washington Park Arboretum, February 3rd 2014. ISO 1600 (auto), 400mm, f/8.0, 1/500s

I’d just finished a rather unlucky birding session in the Arboretum when I noticed a small bird climbing around on a low-hanging branch. I carefully circled around the tree to be able to catch the bird in the morning sunlight and sure enough, it not only circled the branch, but climbed toward me a bit closer as well. I liked this shot so much I made it the first photo I had printed onto canvas, and it’s hanging in my kitchen. This is a downy woodpecker, the first of about 4 that I saw in 2014.

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2014 Photo Year-in-Review: Equipment

(Don’t bother reading this post unless you’re interested in the equipment side of photography, you’ll be bored)

Within a week of the beginning of 2014 I bought my first super-telephoto lens: the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6. After renting large primes (notably, the Nikon 300mm VR and VRII, ~$3000 and ~$5500 lenses, respectively) from Glazers, a local camera equipment and rental business here in Seattle, I decided it would be worth my while to buy something with significant reach for myself. While those Nikon lenses were way out of my budget (not just the primes, zooms as well), I was able able to pick up the Sigma for about $900. An expensive bit of kit, no doubt, but comparatively reasonable.

Something like 90-95% of the shots I took during 2014 were with this lens, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. As I tell people, “you need a big lens for little birds.” While I feel I’m ready for an upgrade, I’m still able to consistently get great results, and I’ll be keeping this lens around as a backup for a while.

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