As I sit writing I can hear the wind and rain outside my window. The sky is grey. It is cold and wet. Not a good time for taking pictures.
I have tried it before. Last year I was pursuing a Black Phoebe when it started to rain. I was getting the best Black Phoebe picture I had ever made so I continued. When I returned to the pickup I noticed that the gaskets in my zoom lens had gotten wet and pulled out. The lens had to be sent in for repairs and I was down for over a month.
So, what is one to do when it is yucky out? It would be a good time to sit and do taxes (if there is such a thing as a good time for doing taxes). I could be updating our various web sites. No, it is time for a review. A time to look back over the images from the last year and seek out those forgotten gems.
Forgotten Gems? Yes, there were times in the last year when I was having such fun taking pictures that many of them just got shuffled off into files and were never given a good look. We should all have such problems.
Durring the months of August and September, for example, I had a wonderful time working a pair of Pectoral Sandpiper. Each morning I would go out and find that they were still hanging out in the same area. Sometimes they were skittish and would not let me near enough for a shot. Other times they flew in and landed within a few feet, too close to focus and make a clear image. A few times, however, they were in the right place and I could get some close intimate shots of them.
This fun activity was occuring at the same time as the presence of a very cooperative pair of Killdeer, a Least Sandpiper, a Rednecked Phallarope, and Egrets. Every day I would return from my morning shoot with something. While some of the birds, such as the Least Sandpiper, are birds that I already have numerous images of, they were always exciting and challenging.
Least Sandpiper spend most of their time in front of me simply walking about picking up food. Rarely do I get a chance at an action shot. When shuch an opportunity presents it is fleeting; jump into flight and gone. Durring this time, I was presented with a bird that would bathe in front of me, jump up and shake off, return to feeding and then bathe again. It was a thrill to watch.
While the shorebirds were the primary focus of my efforts, I was often presented with an Egret when I first arrived. There seemed to be one Snowy and one Great Egret that were hanging out in the area and one or the other would give me something to start my day before I settled into waiting for the shorebirds to perform.
It was a time of extreme productivity for my photographic efforts. When it ended I was immediately presented with new opportunities a short distance away when the Yellow Legs arrived in the bay. They spent a good portion of September in the area and helped keep me occcupied with more challenges and more fun.
This year also gave me my first opportunity to photograph the endangered Snowy Plover. These little shorebirds are challenging in that they run very fast, are quite small and hang out in areas of sand that make them hard to see. The blowing sand also threatens equipment making me a bit more timid than usual. Once locate, however, they make adorable subjects.
In review, it seems that last year was the year of the shorebird. I had great encounters and pleasant conversations with many species and obtain some of the best images I have.
Though the year was dominated by shorebirds, I did manage a few landscapes as well. On one outing I was so taken with my crawfish images I had forgotten the fall color images I had captured.
And, in my review, I discovered that last year that I had managed to add another image to my “morning mist” series.
It was indeed a good year. What will this year bring?