Well, the year pretty much sucked but at least it closed out with a beautiful view. Yesterday morning I made sure I was in place to catch the show and was rewarded with this view. The frozen lake, blaze orange clouds and blue sky sure looked nice. Now, let’s just hope 2021 is better!
Continuing a look at my personal favorite captures of the past photo year, today for Freedom Friday we showcase my favorite photo subject, the bald eagle. Without a doubt, I take more pictures of bald eagles than any other type of creature. To me, they symbolize freedom, power and of course, our great nation and they have always held a special fascination for me. Over the 12 months I was fortunate to photograph hundreds of them across the state of Colorado in all seasons.
I had expected to have a bit more variety of views to enjoy during the past photo year. However, vacations were cancelled due to the virus and we stuck closer to home than anticipated. That was not entirely a bad thing given that Colorado certainly has lots to see and we managed to go some places that had been on our wish list for quite some time. From the eastern plains to those dominating, Rocky Mountains, we still managed to cover a good bit of ground. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite captures of the landscapes we saw in 2020.
Now these are some pretty good looking #ducks. I had heard a bunch of them were hanging out at a suburban pond, catching crawdads off the bottom. While I was there, they made dozens of dives but, unfortunately, all came back empty-handed. Nevertheless, they looked quite handsome with their crest and beautiful plumage.
I always joke that, “I don’t take pictures of little birds.” That is not entirely true and every now and then, a non-raptor will get my attention and I can’t help but take a picture. While I took pics of probably dozens of species of birds during my 2020 photo year, this is a look at 25 or so that I really liked, either because of the image itself or because of the species. All taken in Colorado. In order of appearance:
1. Broad-tailed hummingbird
2. Snowy egret
3. American goldfinch
4. American white pelican
5. Lark bunting
6. Long billed curlew
7. Northern flicker
8. Wood duck
9. Common nighthawk
10. White faced ibis
11. Black crowned night heron (juvenile)
12. Bullock’s oriole (female)
13. Blue grosbeak
14. Black capped chickadee
15. Red winged blackbird
16. Grasshopper sparrow
17. Great blue heron & American white pelican
19. Yellow headed blackbird
20. Double crested cormorant
21. American avocet
22. Dark eyed junco
23. Mallard duck (female) and ducklings
25. Blue jay
A look back at my personal favorite captures of these (usually) nocturnal birds taken during my 2020 photo year. Owls seem to capture the imagination unlike any other bird, probably due to the fact that while they are common, many go unseen. I know I certainly love taking their picture. Among the types of owls I photographed were the common great horned owl, the summer visiting burrowing owl and the lesser seen screech owl and barn owl.
Some days out taking pictures just don’t turn out as planned.
This past Sunday I headed to the northern Colorado Front Range, certain I was going to have a great day with bald eagles. After over 100 miles driven I had seen a total of two eagles, none of which were close enough for pics.
Frustrated, I worked my way home, hoping to find something – anything – to take a picture of. Just a few miles east of home, I see this male American kestrel hovering over a field, ready to drop on some unsuspecting prey.
As skittish as these little falcons are, I didn’t have much hope but I stopped anyway. Much to my pleasure (and relief), he flew up and landed on a pole right by me. Three times he would go out and hunt the field, returning to the pole each time.
This allowed me to get some pretty cool shots, including this one as he returned to the pole. He looked absolutely handsome and the blue from behind the clouds really helps make the image pop. A reminder to never give up a
Saturday found me southwest of Denver, Colorado checking out a bald eagle nest. Unfortunately, the birds did not want to play that day but, not soon after arrival, Mother Nature put on one heck of a show and best of all, it was a stunner no matter which way you looked.
To the east toward the rising sun, the colors were deep orange and reflected nicely on a lake. To the southwest, the colors faded to pastel pinks and oranges lighting up a wave cloud beautifully.
It was hard to focus on one area so I found myself pivoting back and forth, soaking in the view one way before turning back to the other. Just awesome stuff!
From a random encounter earlier this month. Driving along, I spotted this beautiful eagle hanging out on a high-tension power pole running through the suburbs northwest of Denver, Colorado.
Given the location and the height of the tower, I wasn’t too inclined to stop until I noticed a pedestrian bridge went right by the pole and provided closer proximity.
That allowed me to get relatively close to the bird and I spent a good 20 minutes photographing it as it kept watch. It finally took flight, going right overhead giving me a nice sequence of images.
I stopped by Fort Logan National Cemetery this morning to visit my dad. This is the 10th Christmas since he has been gone and in many ways it doesn’t get easier. I sat and talked to him for quite a while, shed more than a few tears.
Afterwards, I wandered the rows of headstones, contemplating all of the brave men and women that stake their final resting place on that hallowed ground. The cemetery is a beautiful and peaceful place, any time of year.
During the holidays though, it is even more special as his and many other veterans’ graves are decorated with wreaths for Christmas. The red ribbons and green pine really pop against the gray marble of the markers and provide a fresh reminder to never forget those who served this nation and are no longer with us.