Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Photo of the Year 2013

I return to the same photo subject again and again, perhaps to a fault. I couldn't argue with renaming the site "eagles_elk_airplanes.com." But I see value in returning to familiar places and subjects again and again, such as last January when I had a few days in Florida. At Ding Darling NWR on Sanibel Island, I saw a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron hunting tiny crabs, just I had seen more than 10 years before in the same spot. The most striking feature about this species is the intense orange eyes.

The prize, which I award to myself every year, is a trip to Keokuk, Iowa to see wintering eagles. Other candidates for POY were various Mississippi River eagles in January, Montana lightning in June, a hawk that landed in my front yard in September, and an elk snapped by my trail camera in October. Here is this year's POY and previous winners. Click on the images for larger views.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Heron Redux 2013

Here are my POY selections for 2002-2011.

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
Sertoma Butterfly
Sertoma Butterfly 2011
Dark Morph of Broad-Winged Hawl
Dark Morph 2012

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Very Large Array

A photo stop along US 60 on the way to Socorro, New Mexico is the Very Large Array, a group of radio telescopes. On a stop this afternoon there were some pronghorns in the foreground. Click for a larger version.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Arizona Fall League

I made it to one Arizona Fall League game in Phoenix, and picked a good one. Washington National prospect Matt Purke struck out seven in four hitless innings and got the win for the Mesa Solar Sox, 6-1 over Peoria. His teammates supported him with four long homers, including three in the fourth inning.

I wish I had a Canon 5D Mark III when I was trying to shoot nighttime baseball 10 years ago. High ISO performance is outstanding. Click on image for larger version.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grand Canyon Elk

Kudos to the State of Arizona for stepping in to cover up the failures of Beltway partisans, at least in regard to having the Grand Canyon open in time for our visit.

I've never been an enthusiastic landscape photographer. I always keep an eye open for something alive and moving on the landscape, and was happy to spot a small herd of elk hanging around the Visitor Center. Click on the images to start slide show for Grand Canyon and other parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

Grand Canyon

Elk at Visitor's Center

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Yet Another Trailcam Update

I've gotten into approximately a six-month cycle for checking my trailcam in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. It was time for a checkup this month but I was concerned that the government shutdown might prevent me from getting to the location. But the gates were open and I found lots of images of elk and other critters. Click on images to start slide show.

Still in velvet, 6/22/13

Velvet gone, 10/9/13

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Cooper's Hawk

I was alerted to this hawk (Cooper's Hawk, I believe) lunching on another bird on an electrical box in my front yard. I was able to bring the big guns to bear (Canon 5D, 500mm lens, tripod) from about 10 yards away before I spooked it. The upside of spooking it was he took what remained of his lunch with him and I didn't have to deal with the bird carcass. Click on the image for a larger version.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Red Lodge, Montana

A few images from the Red Lodge, MT area, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and Spearfish Canyon, SD. Click on the image to start the slide show.

Lightning near Red Lodge, MT

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trail Cam Update

I was able to bust loose from Chicago for the week and had time to check my trail cam in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Last check was in October, and although there were only 102 images (not a big number for five months), there were some decent shots of elk, deer, and a lone coyote passing in front of the lens. From the parking location several hundred feet above the camera, I saw a herd of about 30 elk on a hillside several miles away. I don't know if I will get much at this location, but I left it attached to the same tree, just pointing it more to the right. Hopefully that herd will include this area in its wanderings. The most recent camera activity was four days ago as several antlerless elk were headed down the hill in the general direction of where I saw the herd.

On my way out of the area, I found a group of bighorn ewes further east on Highway 16 in Custer State Park than I have seen them before. They were just lounging on the side of the road and posed for a few snapshots.

Click here to see the slide show of the trailcam photos and the bighorns.

Wind Cave Elk

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Florida Sampler

I had a work assignment starting in Miami yesterday, so I took the opportunity to fly into Tampa last Thursday and drive through Florida. I hit a few familiar places, including the flagship National Wildlife Refuge, "Ding" Darling on Sanibel Island. Eleven years ago I saw a young yellow crowned night heron with bright orange eyes who ignored me as I snapped his portrait. The picture below is so old it was actually shot on FILM. Saturday in exactly the same spot, I saw another yellow crowned night heron hunting for little crabs. I lingered for a while and got some interesting (digital) images. Click on images for larger versions. Click here for more Florida photos.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron 2002

Yellow Crowned Night Heron (and crab) 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fort Madison Eagles

Since 2004, I've been trekking to the Mississippi River in January to find bald eagles. As usual, I headed to the dams near Burlington and Keokuk (Iowa). The town in between, Fort Madison, has provided infrequent eagle views in the previous years, but this year it was the place to be. There were several large branches just offshore that the eagles found convenient. Click on images for larger versions.