My 17 Favorite Critter Photos of 2017
I really think that I had an amazing 2017 with the amount of cool critters that I was able to see and photograph. Almost off the bat I was able to capture a few photos of bald eagles grabbing fish out of the Wabash River. From there it was a fun year finding new and interesting wildlife to chase. After fruitlessly looking for a few years I was finally able to photograph a few owls as well. This was a fun year for wildlife, and here are a few of my favorites.
17. I spent a lot of my year waiting for eagles to do something. Often they would just sit in the trees doing nothing. At some point you start to get bored and you try and make an image out of that. Here the light was hitting the branches just right to make that work.
16. Usually I don’t use my iPhone when making photos of wildlife. Here in Ocean City, Maryland though I was able to do just that. While crabbing on a pier one of the crabs came right up to me. The phone was the only thing that I had available so I made the photo with it.
15. When we go to the Indy Zoo the first thing that the girls always want to do is to see the butterflies. Of course I have my camera so I go around and try and find something interesting to photograph. Here we found a female that was fending off many males. One male comes in close to the female here.
14. This year I finally made it up to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area. They were amazing to watch as they spent some time here before continuing south. Here one grouping takes off out of the marsh.
13. More fun at the zoo. While the kids watch the animals I like to have fun photographing them. I will probably not go on an African Safari in my life so I like to pretend that I am on one while I am there. It is fun to try and make photos of the animals that don’t look like they were made at the zoo.
12. I spend a lot of time in the winter waiting for bald eagles to do something. While I am waiting I am also looking for other things to photograph. Here a flock of geese came by in great formation giving me a good photo. I don’t know that I came away with a good eagle photo that day, but I did come away with a cool silhouette photo.
11. When I made this photo I called it “The Bald Eagles of the Apocalypse” With the sun lighting up the clouds behind the eagles that is what came into my mind for some reason. This is another example of me waiting for the eagles to do something. It sounds boring, but at times it can be fun coming up with shots while I am waiting. This is one of my favorites from those times.
10. The reason that I wait on the eagles to move so much is that when they do it usually ends in something amazing happening. Here one mature eagle thought it had a meal when an immature eagle came swooping by to steal it. When you get a large group of eagles together anything can happen. It is hard to believe this happens right in our backyard.
9. For the last few years I have been wanting to photograph an owl. I see them all the time when driving somewhere in a hurry, but never when I am ready to photograph them. Thanks to the site eBird I found a couple of hotspots to see them. This short-eared owl posed a bit for me. It was worth the wait.
8. The next two photos were made at the zoo with the kids again. The lions really do sleep most of the time so it is hard to make a good action shot of them. The look here was good enough though to make a good picture. My Canon 100-400mm lens got me in tight to see the look on the face of the lion as well.
7. The kids love to look at the flamingos. They don’t seem to mind the smell either. Instead of standing there taking in the smell I put my head into my camera to make some photos. This was one of my favorites from those times.
6. Just when I thought it was time to leave the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife area both of the large groups of sandhill cranes took flight. It was amazing to see all of those birds flying through the air. I made many photos of them flying, but this one was my favorite.
5. Nature is everywhere. Even when you are cutting grass. We had a weed that is growing way too big on the side of our house, but I have seen a few preying mantis’ on it so it stays. Here while cutting grass one day I saw one on an outer leaf so I ran into the house for my camera and macro lens. I made my photos, and then finished cutting the grass.
4. On my trips to Terre Haute to photograph the Sycamores I try and see something new to make multiple blog posts from one trip. On my first trip to the Goose Pond preserve I thought that I was going to be shut out. As I was driving away I noticed the ground way out in the marsh start to move. That move was actually the beginning of thousands of snow geese taking flight. It was amazing to see all of those geese in the air at one time.
3. This year snowy owls have invaded our state. These are amazing birds to look at, and I was extremely lucky to see one this close. I watched from afar for a while noticing that it did not mind cars driving by. I drove past the bird and then turned back to see it. As it looked at me I knew I had my shot so I moved on. No sense distressing the bird any more than I had to.
2. I am the only person that seems to like this shot. I love the gesture of the owl in focus as it braves the cold wind and snow. I thought it would make a good photo. The owl flying in the background just made it that much better. After not seeing any owls for years I had found a bunch of them in just the span of a few days.
- This is my favorite critter shot of the year, and I made it very early in the year. In late January I was having some good luck making photos of eagles fishing near the Wabash River. My friend Trevor Mahlmann came along one day with me. I explained that it doesn’t always pan out, and that sometimes it takes a couple of days to finally see something amazing. Of course within ten minutes of pulling up to our spot an eagle swooped down out of a tree to grab this fish. It then banked right at us giving both of us an amazing shot. The funny story about this shot is how many people after the fact would send me Trevor’s version asking if I had seen it. He has a great social media reach, and I have a couple of people if you don’t count family. I would always nod and say that I had seen the photo. I actually saw it in the back of the camera that day. As we left I knew that Trevor was now spoiled because photos like that don’t come along very often, and we saw this way too easy. Hopefully we can have the same luck again this year.