Saturday, January 28, 2012


Suddenly I'm in possession of a spare laptop so I'm experimenting with it for the next few weeks as a webcam. Not the greatest image quality from a built-in camera pointing through a dirty window. I-90 is in the foreground, the L train runs diagonal from lower right. F5 to refresh. Also at this link:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stop here

I made my annual eagle pilgrimage to the Mississippi River last weekend. I arrived at Lock and Dam 18 near Burlington, IA at about 1 p.m. to find the viewing platform and adjacent parking lot closed due to construction. So it was down to the boat launch in the recreation area, where for the first time I can recall, they were actually launching boats. It has been so warm this winter that there were just a few ice cubes floating in the river.

There were a lot of eagles in view, but most of them stayed well out of camera range. I took some distant shots, and a few turned out like the first one shown below. There were a several eagles roosting above the road on the way out of the recreation area. When I bought my car three years ago, I got a sun roof specifically to drive down this road and get the second shot. Click on the images for larger versions and to launch the slide show.

Eagle over the Mississippi

Eagle launch

I continued on south to my other favorite Mississippi River location, the Keokuk waterfront. It was mostly cloudy, but with better light the next morning I "rushed" down to the waterfront. Unfortunately it's very difficult to rush through Keokuk because there is a stop light on just about every corner. Fifteen stop lights later, I finally arrived and got some decent shots. I headed up to Burlington mid-day and got a few more distant shots over the water, and closer but infrequent flight shots as the eagles made their way back to roosting areas.

This was the ninth straight year I've hit Keokuk/Burlington to see the eagles. On a scale of 1-10, this year was about a 6. This works best when the weather is cold enough to freeze the river and concentrate the eagles around the open water below the dams. Just looking back through previous years, I think 2008 was the best recent year.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Photo of the Year 2011

Once again, snapshot opportunities were limited in 2011 as I was afflicted with employment for the second straight year. Candidates for Photo of the Year included New York City scenics, bighorn sheep large and small, and various other critters. The winner was snapped in April at the Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls, SD. No, the image is not upside down. I think the orientation is one reason I like this shot.

I've never picked an insect before, so this is a first. This is also the first winner snapped with my 100mm macro lens, which I bought with good intentions many years ago but haven't used very much. The prize, as usual, is an all-expense paid trip to Keokuk, Iowa to hunt for wintering eagles. It's on the schedule for two weeks from today.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Sertoma Butterfly 2011

Here are my POY selections for 2002-2010.

Young red-tailed hawk Junior I (2002 edition) right outside my office window.
Junior I 2002
Gentoo penguins greet each other, Jougla Point, Dec. 4, 2003.
Gentoo Penguins 2003
Puffins on Machias Seal Island, Gulf of Maine, 2004.
Little Brothers 2004
Bald Eagle along the Mississippi River, 2005.
Bald Eagle 2005
Blue Jay, 2006.
Blue Jay 2006
Eagle with fish, 2007.
Eagle with fish 2007
Great Horned Owls, 2008.
Great Horned Owls 2008
Custer State Park Bighorn, 2009.
Custer SP Bighorn 2009
Keokuk eagle, 2010.
Keokuk Eagle 2010