This is always my favorite blog post of the year. I realize I don’t do enough blogging, but this is a one I look forward to do at this time of the year. I hope everyone had a great year shooting in the field. My year was highlighted by bobcats, great gray owls, various songbirds and bears – safaris to Morongo Valley, Yellowstone, Colorado, and Glacier Park. For the several hundred of you that were along on these adventures, thanks so much for making 2016 a great year of photography.
#1 Boar Black Bear bluff charging my group – on my first Black Bear Safari in May in Sequoia National Park.
#2 Great Gray Owl in hover-attack mode – on the Autumn Yellowstone Wildlife Safari in October in Yellowstone National Park.
#3 Great Gray Owl crossing meadow towards me – on the Spring Yellowstone Wildlife Safari in June in Yellowstone National Park.
#4 A Wilson’s Warbler demonstrating to females – on an Explore! Safari to Oso Flaco Lake in California.
#5 A Great Horned Owl in flight in desert cottonwoods near its nest – on an Explore! Safari at Butterbredt Springs in California.
#6 Rocky Mountain Billy Goat just before beginning to shed his winter coat – on the Spring Yellowstone Wildlife Safari in May in Yellowstone National Park.
#7 Crystal Mill on the Crystal River – on the Colorado Fall Colors Safari near Marble, Colorado.
#8 Golden Eagle on the hunt zooming a mountainside – on a Bobcat Safari near Highway 25 in San Benito County, California.
#9 The biggest muley buck I’ve ever photographed at 6×8 points -in September on the Colorado Fall Colors Safari in Mesa Verde National Park.
#10 The quad sow (of 2010 fame) wounded in battle protecting her two cubs – on the Spring Yellowstone Wildlife Safari in May in Yellowstone National Park.
#11 Snowy Plover fledgling working the smooth sandy beach – on an Explore! Safari near Ventura, California.
#12 Tiger Swallowtail pollinating a Leopard Lily – on a Black Bear Safari in Sequoia National Park.
#13 Black Rock Falls on the Explore! Safari in September in the Mineral King section of Sequoia National Park.
#14 Least Bittern peering from the reeds at Oso Flaco Lake on an Explore! Safari in March.
#15 Bobcat relaxing on a fallen oak log waiting for the wet grass to dry – on a Bobcat Safari in January.
#16 Male Bushtit calling – on the Morongo Valley Bird Safari at the end of April.
#17 A mountainside of fireweed in Glacier National Park – on the Glacier National Park Safari in August.
#18 Lesser Goldfinch maneuvering through the dry weed stalks – on the Morongo Valley Bird Safari in May.
#19 Gambel’s Oak and Rocky Mountain Maple leaves in a knot-hole on a oak trunk – on the Southern Utah Fall Safari in November.
#20 Red-shouldered Hawk doing a close fly-by – on a Bobcat Safari in Pinnacles National Park in January.
#21 Macro shot of a Desert 5 Spot wildflower – on the amazing Death Valley Spring Safari in March during the “super bloom”.
#22 Run up a cottonwood tree by a coyote, this bobcat begins descending the tree with a California Quail in its mouth – on a Bobcat Safari in January.
#23 Red Admiral butterfly takes flight from American Bistort wildflowers – on a Black Bear Safari in Sequoia National Park in July.
#24 Twin spotted mule deer fawns in predawn light – on a Black Bear Safari in Sequoia National Park in May.
#25 A grizzly cub stands up against his mother (again, the famous Quad sow of 2010) to get a better look at the growing crowd – on the Spring Yellowstone Wildlife Safari in May.
There were fourteen other images that made it into the final group, but these 25 had some element that elevated them to me – made them better, stronger images. These images all have a driving element – such as action, color, emotion, energy, or danger.
I just updated my photo safaris through June 2017. (LINK) This year included new locations that will become regular stops on my safari tours, as well as many new species of birds and wildflowers. Every year photography gets a little better – new locations and new opportunities at some old and new species. Our equipment gets better, our tactics in the field get better, our overall knowledge gets greater – and each trip out seems to build on the previous safaris. There is no better place to be a nature photographer than the American West.
My book called “How I Photograph California Bobcats” will be up for sale for another week or so. Prepping this book for Amazon (books with lots photos anyway) is no small or easy task. You can still buy it at PayPal for $12 plus tax (LINK), but remember, I send you the copy, not PayPal.
I hope we all have a great 2017 in the field.