2017 Favorite Images              2018/01

No kayak trips, a couple of backpack overnights, bird photography in May and June and bird photography by kayak in the Fall. A thin year, but one that yielded keepers none-the-less. Oh, and every image here was shot with the tiny Sony a6300, using Canon, Sony or Rokinon lenses.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/1250s, f/5.6, ISO6400
Light in the Forest. I called in a Barred Owl after observing their nearby nest was empty. Both adults flew in, and this one posed briefly on a nice perch. I was forced to shoot through foliage, but that added mystery and emphasized a nice directional light on the bird.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/320s, f/5.6, ISO1250
Sapsucker Wells. Near the Juanita Park firehouse in Kirkland, these Red-breasted Sapsucker wells were the best I’ve seen, drilled in Red Alder. An adult pair had a nest nearby, making the shot a short wait as they frequented the wells.

Sony a6300, 12mm f/2, .6s, f/8, ISO100
Mossy Grotto. At the Columbia Gorge, I did my first spring visit to the “Mossy Grotto”, a rather difficult location to find without a guide. Spring at this site shows much, much better than Autumn.

Sony a6300, 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO800
Tiny Home. I discovered this Anna’s Hummingbird nest, about seven feet off the ground, not long after the coffee-bean-sized eggs were laid. On my second day of observation, when mom left briefly to feed, I walked over and lifted my Sony a6300 overhead for a quick hand-held shot.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO6400
Humdinger. Same nest 25 days later, mom feeds the fat chicks. They fledged two days later.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/1600s, f/6.3, ISO3200
First Light. Early morning sun fleetingly lights a Hairy Woodpecker male feeding a grub to a chick at Stillwater.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/500s, f/6.3, ISO400
Hair Wired. When I heard April 1st on Tweeters that Great Blue Herons were nesting at the Everett Marina, I thought it was a joke. Not so. About 20 nests provided excelent photo ops of adults feeding goony nestlings in May and June.

Sony a6300, 12mm f/2, 1/100s, f/8, ISO100
Resurrection. My first visit to Mt. Saint Helens for landscapes yielded this trailside image, blended from a focus stack of five, plus a darker exposure for the mountain itself. It was a fortunate shot, as fog quickly blanketed the mountain, and I headed for home.

Sony a6300, 12mm f/2, 1/5s, f/8, ISO100
Alpine Delights. On Lillian Ridge overlooking Badger Valley in Olympic NP, I love this mix of alpine flowers: spreading phlox, hairy arnica, smooth douglasia, in pre-dawn light.

Sony a6300, 24-105mm f/4, 1/640s, f/6.3, ISO1600
Sustenance. Same morning in Olympic NP, I followed this blacktail buck into the woods and set up where I hoped he would wander. So nice to have such tame deer in this Park.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/500s, f/6.3, ISO400
The Call. I started a Pika project that will eventually turn into a video. The plan was thwarted by early Fall snow, but not before I got good if incomplete footage at Mowich Lake, Mt. Rainier NP. This image is a screen capture from 4K video. It’s harder to get Pika calling with a still. You have to be ever alert and quick, and shooting at 6 or 10 frames a sec with stills is less likely to hit the peak action compared to 30 f/s video. With 8K video in the pipeline, video encroachment on still shooter turf is inevitable.

Sony a6300, 500 f/4L, 1/1600s, f/5.6, ISO4000
The Gathering. Shot from a kayak in Union Bay on Lake Washington, I was too close to get it all in with one shot, so I panned left to pick up the male Wood Duck entering the water. In Photoshop, I composited this from four images, choosing best head positions to strengthen the composition.

Happy Shooting in 2018!

22 thoughts on “2017 Favorite Images              2018/01

  1. Gary:
    You gave beauty and nature to us. Thank you.

    Shinho Park

    My Honda Acura is 19 years old, so we may need a new one, this could be our last car as I am 72.

  2. Gary, Simply amazing. The only change , year to year, are the subjects. We will
    look forward to 2018!!!

  3. Rich work Gary. You covered a variety of subjects and brought out the best in each. Thanks for sharing.
    Robert Howson

  4. Great portfolio of work for 2017! The Mt St Helens image is my favorite, excellent subject and composition. The focus stacking works really well on this type of composition.

    Don Larkin

    1. Thanks, Don. A focus stack here was imperative, as I got as close as the lens allowed to the foreground paintbrush. Even a tilt-shift lens at f22 would have difficulty finding an encompassing plane of focus, and as you know, f22 suffers from resolution loss.

  5. Gary,

    Nice work! Love each one for different reasons, especially the Heron and the Alphine. Simple image but full of shades, light, depth and color.

    Have not been to the meeting but will try harder in 2018.

    Thanks for sharing,


  6. Thanks for showing us all what is possible. I know that looking at your images both inspires me and gives me ideas for my own shots.

    I’m with the other commenters on the Mt St Helens shot.

    1. Thanks, Larry. Something I frequently tell myself: “What can I do to take it to the next level?” It seems if I don’t say that, I tread water.

  7. All fabulous images…can’t recall where I’ve seen better! Are you also using manual focus with your non-Sony lenses. I don’t think I can use auto-focus with Nikon lenses…therefore, I bought the Nikon D500 instead of the Sony A6300. Regardless, your images are truly inspirational and wow, do I have some work to do! 🙂

    1. Peggy, thanks so much. I shoot manually with the Sony a6300 quite a bit because the auto-focus with my mostly old Canon lenses (and Metabones adaptor) hunts a lot. The combination works fine for accurate focus for portraits, but not so much for moving subjects. The bird nest images were all manual prefocus, for example, so that when a parent bird flew in, I could just fire away.

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