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.
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.
On my first day in Panama City I wandered around the area near my hotel and saw this man doing what looked like repairs to the grate along the roadway. I took this photo, not realizing how much I would like it until after I was reviewing the photos from my trip. The pose, flying sparks, and colors all seem to just fit.
I snapped this one completely by luck. I’d gone ashore from the sailboat along with several others of the crew, looking to see if the tiny village had a tienda where we could buy some fresh tortillas and maybe some Coca Cola. While the others were buying things, I spotted this hummingbird fly up to a flower only about two meters away from me, directly in the bright desert sun. The first time I’d ever gotten a hummingbird in flight, and it turned out super sharp, aside from a bit of blur on the wings. This is a subadult male Costa’s hummingbird.
The first of quite a few good pictures on Blake Island, this was a very lucky coincidence. I was walking around the campground getting an idea of where the light would be coming from in the morning, and this male American goldfinch fluttered down onto the water fountain I was walking directly toward. I immediately snapped a few photos (including several of it climbing down onto the handle) and this one was my favorite.
The morning of July 27th on Blake Island was an experience I’ll never forget. After wandering around for an hour while the sun began to rise above the horizon, I eventually came back to our campsite and noticed quite a few noisy barn swallows sitting on driftwood, on the beach. I walked over, and carefully and slowly over the course of about fifteen minutes got closer. I snapped quite a few of these amazing mid-air deliveries between hard-working parent and needy fledgling, and catching them wasn’t as hard as you’d think: one to two seconds before their parent arrived with an insect (you can just barely see a leg in this picture) they’d begin squawking in excitement, and I’d need only point my camera at the fledgling and burst-fire photos.
Last shot from Blake Island. Later in the morning, the raccoon were out in force, looking for any abandoned food that campers had left behind. We were eating breakfast since we were in no hurry to leave, and one of the younger raccoon began walking directly toward us after washing its paws and taking a drink in the puddle beneath a water spigot. I didn’t even realize I’d gotten this shot with its tongue out until I reviewed the images!
My first time visiting Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, I was walking down the long raised boardwalk above the marshland when I came upon a great blue heron perched on the railing. It allowed me to get surprisingly close and stand there, snapping photos of it for several minutes, until other people began approaching from the opposite side. I’ve done a bit more digital enhancement than I normally do on this photo, but I think the result is pretty close to true to life.
Best (Badly Executed) Shot
I love this scene, but my boneheaded mistake makes me wince every time. I was driving back from camping with friends near Seabeck, WA, when I noticed several cars parked along the highway (which itself was next to Puget Sound) and some bald eagles overhead. I immediately pulled over, and was delighted to see out on the oyster beds several bald eagles (including two juveniles) and nearly a half dozen great blue heron, along with (of course) several gulls. I caught this moment as this great blue heron caught a large fish. This bald eagle was in the air overhead and immediately made a dive at the heron, who dropped the fish. Seeing that the fish was gone, the eagle aborted the attack run at the last moment.
Unfortunately, I completely miffed the shot: my camera should have been set to a 1/1000 second exposure, but I’d accidentally left it at 1/250 second. Instead of the birds being sharp and clear, the motion is blurred. Since then I never change lenses or turn the camera off without resetting it to the settings I normally use!