Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Photo of the Year

I like this contest. I'm the judge, jury, and the only one eligible to enter. The grand prize is a long weekend in Keokuk, Iowa Jan. 13-18, which I have duly awarded to myself. I gave consideration to some of my griz shots from BC, the New Mexico harrier, and recent Galapagos images, but my favorite photo of the year was taken in August in the Gulf of Maine. It is of two puffins on Machias Seal Island, which is part of either New Brunswick or Maine depending on whom you ask.

Although I'm happy to have my new 8-megapixel Canon 1D Mark II, this selected photo is one of the last taken with my 4-megapixel 1D.

Click here for all of my Photos of the Year.

Fratercula arctica - Little Brothers of the North

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I headed down to the Galapagos on Dec. 10 and got back home late on Dec. 19. Yesterday I started in on the photos and I'm sure 50 or more will make it onto the site. [Update: Or maybe 107.] I've posted a few and more will be coming. One minor detail - I have seen two different spellings of "vermillion" as in "vermillion flycatcher." Since I went to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, I'll use two L's at the risk of being out of step with sources such as the USGS.

After weeks of pondering my lens selection, I ended up taking the 17-35mm f2.8, 70-200mm f4, and a 1.4x extender. The alternative to the 70-200mm would have been the heavier 100-400mm. I don't know whether "tame" is the right word, but the wildlife in the Galapagos is relatively unafraid of humans and it turned out that the 70-200mm was long enough most of the time. I used the extender a few times but not extensively. Add the S45 P&S, ZR60 camcorder, and other electronics, my backpack was heavy enough. I haven't used the 70-200mm much except on the trips to Antarctica and Galapagos, so I guess it is my exotic location lens. I can't get quite so close to the Mississippi River eagles next month so will be taking the 100-400mm, but I can eliminate the 17-35mm and the extender.

I have too many gadgets so have been making the effort to clear out camera equipment that hasn't been used much recently. I've sold off three cameras and am now pondering which lenses should go. The Canon 100mm f2.8 macro and the venerable 300mm f4 are candidates for the chopping block. The macro is considered to be a good lens but I just don't use it enough. The 300mm was my first Canon "L" (premium) lens more than five years ago, but most of the time the 100-400mm makes more sense.