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.

Bald Eagles Of the Apocalypse

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.  Continue reading “Top 17 Critter Photos of 2017”


A Fun Morning with The Sandhill Cranes

Last Friday instead of waking up early to go shopping I drove an hour north instead to photograph the sandhill cranes. This is an amazing sight that happens every year, and I never seem to make enough time for it. I am glad that I made time to do it Friday. In the photo above the morning light really gives a great look to the cranes. It was worth the early wake up and the cold.

A Great Background

This past weekend I was blessed with a dark background with front lit subjects a couple of times. The first was Friday, and one of the photos that I made is above. Then Saturday during the football game a similar condition occurred. It is a great and natural way to isolate your subject. You can only hope for light like this, and I had it twice in two days. You can see just how good the weekend was right here.

The Week In Photos

I feel like I say this every week, but last week was a fun week. I was back in the Hulman Center, and of course the bucket game was amazing. My morning with the sandhill cranes was another great moment during the week. You can view my favorite photos from the week here.

Heading Out To See The Sandhill Cranes

I have had a weird history with the sandhill crane. Back when I was much younger and we would drive out to Colorado we would drive right through the Platte River area when the sandhill cranes were coming through. That is a big deal and people come from all over. When we stopped I was not impressed and I just wanted to ski. A few years ago I stumbled upon the cranes after leaving a Purdue football game. I was headed home when I saw them in the fields and went to investigate. I always said that I was going to go back, but that never happened. Yesterday I woke up early knowing everyone would sleep in, and I loaded up the car to see the cranes in person. I was not disappointed.

Getting The Lay of the Land

Photographing wildlife takes way more prep work than any sporting event does. I really don’t know much about the birds so I spent a good deal of time just watching them as well as making their photo. There are a lot of cranes on the property, and with my head in a 400mm lens with an extender on it I don’t get the full view. With a little knowledge under my belt it makes photographing the birds a little easier. You start to pick up on patterns that help you anticipate the action which as I have said many times on here is what helps you make a good image.

Staying Just Long Enough

As the action was dying down yesterday I had the thought of leaving. I did not see too many cranes coming into the field so I thought the show was over. As I was mulling over leaving the sandhill cranes in the back of the property suddenly all rose up and started flying my way. I started to shoot that event, but the cranes in the field closest to me started flying as well. About 3/4ths of the cranes on the grounds at the time were suddenly in the air. I was chaos. I decided to get in tight and find come cool pockets inside of that chaos. This was my favorite photo of the day, and I am glad that I stayed. As the birds calmed down they started landing in bigger groups as well, and that is how I made the second image of this post. In wildlife photography patience is the biggest tool you can have. Thankfully mine won out yesterday.