Trogon GreensMale Amazonian trogon (Trogon ramonianus) showcases his shimmering back feathers in the Amazonian rainforest of Alta Floresta, Brazil.
Trogons are ancient and mysterious creatures. They move as if in slow motion, observing everything with robotic and meticulous head twists. This male trogon perched on a branch next to our observation tower, the green of the forest was no match for his iridescent green feathers.
SentinelBacklit by the moon, a tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) holds as still as a dead tree, on the side of the road at Wilsons Promontory, Australia.
This was an amazing moment, driving out of Wilsons Promontory at night. The frogmouth flew off to the side, and since there was no traffic, we stopped right in the middle of the road, and had enough time to change lenses, set up the tripod, and get lots of long exposures of this beautiful bird, lining it up perfectly behind the moon.
I couldn't believe how cooperative this bird was. It remained still enough to get long exposures of over a second, while still changing its pose from time to time to give me new compositions as I adjusted the camera to the moon's quickly shifting motion.
RavenousA raven pauses briefly over the travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
A spectral haze from nearby forest fires settled around the travertine terraces. I set up to take photos of the skeletal tree, when an almost impossibly perfect raven walked straight into the frame, and briefly held his sepulchral silhouette.
SymmetrySay's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) hunts for flies in the fishbone and salt-encrustred shoreline of the Salton Sea, California
I chased this Phoebe around for a while, the white landscape of the shore was perfect for high-speed shooting, and also offered a nice bounce light from below. I was trying to get a good angle in which the bird was facing me instead of flying away from me. I was really lucky to get this symmetrical shot.
Trashy PortraitTrashy portrait of an Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) in an alleyway in Sydney, Australia.
Since the 1970's these birds have become very common in urban areas around the east coast. They are very smart and daring, they figured out they can get away with quite a lot by being fearless and taking chances with tourists.
When we were walking down this alley in Sydney, I liked how this odd curtain pattern and strong black/white/red colors worked here, it had an odd vintage and retro vibe with a punch of contrast. The red bounce light from the trashcan onto the bird looks fantastic too.
Flower DevourerChestnut-eared aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis) devours flowers at the Jaguar Ecological Reserve, Brazil.
This was our first morning in the Pantanal, I woke up and walked outside where I spotted this gorgeous aracari, very close to our room. He methodically devoured about a dozen of the flowers, and then left.
Rosella HaloCrimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) opens its beak, framed by a bokeh halo of sunlight shining through leaves, at the Tidal Overlook Circuit of Wilsons Promontory, Australia.
I was following a group of rosellas at the Tidal Overlook Circuit, near Whale Rock. This guy flew off to a nearby branch, so I quickly moved to frame him with a bokeh halo, created by the sun shining behind trees. The trickier part of this photo was the small amount of time I had to get ready, and since my focus point was in the center, I had to first focus on the head, then reframe, then snap the photo. Better settings would've made it easier, but when you only have a few seconds to react, you make use of whatever quick options you have.
CrissaegrimAn osprey (Pandion haliaetus) delivers breakfast straight into the nest, which sits atop a tufa at Mono Lake, California.
Many ospreys build their nests at Mono Lake, but since there are no fish at the lake they have to go to lakes farther into the mountains to find food and bring it back to their chicks. This early bird brought breakfast home before the sun had a chance to rise. There are a couple of chicks in the nest, hiding in the branches.
Robin HunterA vibrant eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis) captures an insect for lunch, at the Tidal Overlook Circuit, Wilsons Promontory, Australia.
They were really hard to shoot! The robins moved too fast and didn't want to be near me or my camera. I had my cam settings ready and waited for it to give me a split second where it stood still. I got this shot, and then he moved on. I was very lucky to catch it with the bug in its beak.
Weightless EgretAs if weightless, a great egret (Ardea alba) floats elegantly next to two large-billed terns (Phaetusa simplex) near the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge, Brazil.
This turned out both dynamic and motionless, the poses complement each other and make you focus on the egret. I love it when the sky is just dark enough to still feel bright, but not be overblown to white, so that the whiteness of the feathers can be the brightest spot in the image, while still having the shadow areas of the feathers feel darker than the sky.
In the Dead of DawnA swallow flies by as a Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) perches near the shore of Mono Lake, California.
That is not the sky in the photo, it's the water of Mono Lake reflecting sunrise, I was aiming down. I was taking photos of the blackbirds, who are always around screaming at me when I get close to their territory, when by pure chance a swallow flew by. It's not the best blackbird pose, I got some better silhouettes of it alone, but without the swallow the image felt incomplete.
DisturbanceGreat horned owl (Bubo virginianus) stares intensely at the photographer while perched on a snowy tree, during a foggy morning at Tule Lake, California.
This great horned owl was too cold and tired to move in such a frigid morning. I got fiercely glared at, but he never flew off or moved and inch. Shot at Tule Lake, right on the side of the road by the first large bird blind. We drove by the same tree the next morning hoping to see him again, but he chose a new spot where he wouldn't be bothered.
Hawk TakeoffA hawk takes off from farm equipment at Tule Lake, California.
I saw this guy perched during a foggy morning. I used the 2x extender for extra reach, and a watering pipe as a makeshift tripod. The background of mountains is completely hidden by the fog.
Full Frame FlightJabiru mycteria flies over a pond filled with caymans, with his neck pouch engorged with fish to feed to his chicks, at the Araras Pantanal Eco Lodge, Brazil.
This bird is so immense that I wasn't able to get the tips of his wings into the frame in time. He was hunting nearby, grabbing lots of fish, eels, and amphibians. We saw some jabirus nesting on a trail nearby coming home with huge neck pouches, and feeding their catches to their nestlings. This one seemed to be headed home to do the same.
Lark Sparrow BeamA lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) is silhouetted by the bright Soda Lake. Temblor Range, Carrizo Plain National Monument, California.
We had many view of the distant Soda Lake at the bottom of the Carrizo Plain, from up on top of the Temblor Range area. I'm always looking for opportunities to line up elements like this. When I saw this sparrow I started by taking a safe photo from far away, then slowly approached while keeping everything aligned to the bright spot on the lake. the slowly approached while keeping everything aligned to the bright spot on the lake.
MithlondThousands of Wilson's phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) flock over the Mono Lake tufa, as they stop to feed in California before they make their 3,000 mile trip to Argentina.
We went to Mono Lake to see the phalaropes that had come by on their migration, as I really wanted photos of the tufa with flocks of birds around them. These amazing birds stop at the lake to feed for 6 weeks before they embark on a 3,000 mile journey to Argentina, flying non-stop for 3 days, covering 1,000 miles a day. The brine shrimp and alkali flies at the lake are nutritious and bountiful, allowing the birds to double their weight and molt into new feathers before they take the long journey.) flock over the Mono Lake tufa, as they stop to feed in California before they make their 3,000 mile trip to Argentina.
We went to Mono Lake to see the phalaropes that had come by on their migration, as I really wanted photos of the tufa with flocks of birds around them. These amazing birds stop at the lake to feed for 6 weeks before they embark on a 3,000 mile journey to Argentina, flying non-stop for 3 days, covering 1,000 miles a day. The brine shrimp and alkali flies at the lake are nutritious and bountiful, allowing the birds to double their weight and molt into new feathers before they take the long journey.
Bristlecone DiveDiving from an ancient bristlecone pine, a mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) lets its translucent wings shine in front of a bright sky, at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California.
I took notice of the spots the bluebirds frequented, so I set to find a composition using this elderly log, which is likely several thousand years old. The wood is from a dead tree, sitting on top of a rocky hillside 10,000 feet above sea level. I waited uncomfortably for the birds to return, sitting on the cold, sharp rocks. Several of them came by, males and females, briefly pausing on top of the log and taking off in different directions. I kept my aperture sharp, since I did not not in which direction they would fly off, and I wanted to get a sharp picture in mid-air.
Double EclipseA Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) eclipsing the setting sun by the beaches of Guaquen, Chile.
After spending some time in Los Molles, on the way down to Santiago from our eclipse trip, we drove on some smaller roads by the ocean to see the sunset. We ended up in Guaquen, where I saw a few vultures, cormorants and seagulls flying around. With only a few minutes left before sunset, I got out of the car and went to the shore to get some silhouettes. It's odd for me to see vultures by the ocean, I'm used to seeing this species in the chaco, or the south west deserts.
Vása, The Heart of FireA bird flies straight into the setting sun, after perching on a tufa at Mono Lake, California.
I couldn't tell what species of bird this was, I could barely see what I was shooting. It was smaller than a blackbird, bigger than a sparrow. When I take photos of this sort, I tend to look down to see if my own shadow lands in the shadow of the object I'm aiming to photograph, so I can line up the sun without staring at it. Then I use live-view on the back screen of the camera so that I don't burn my retinas.
Monolith GatekeeperA hooded crow (Corvus cornix) stares vigilantly in front of the Vigeland Park monolith, a massive sculpture carved from a single granite rock that depicts 121 entwined human figures. Oslo, Norway.
Gustav Vigeland was a very prolific sculptor, his park in Oslo is the largest sculpture park in the world by a single artist. I had fun exploring character juxtapositions and new interpretations, the combinations are endless, especially when using a long lens.
For this image, I tried different apertures until I found one that blurred the background just enough, while still keeping the human figures discernible. The crow was very cooperative.