Long-Eared Owls rarely range west of the Cascades.

Cuckoo Over Owls

It once roosted in a thicket the size of a two-car garage, amidst wetlands and diked agricultural fields near Stanwood. The brush was so thick, the Long-Eared Owl must have felt unassailable. Long-barreled photographic devices proliferated and trained at it like arms in a cold war. The birders and the avian paparazzi jostled and bickered and shoved like football fans queued for playoff tickets. With Mount Baker gleaming in the background, hunters boomed rifles, dogs sniffed and barked and, just across a flooded field, a battalion of construction workers jack-hammered and backed loudly beeping trucks. Yet, all the while, the object of everyone’s desire might crack open one of its impossibly large eyes but otherwise appear to not give … a hoot. The people did, for sure. The nocturnal birds of prey with the long, distinctive ear tufts prefer shrub-steppe habitat in Eastern Washington, making their presence on the other side of the mountains a “thing,” the way a new iPhone is a “thing.” The resultant mobbing of the Long-Eared Owls at one point regressed into panic that one … [Read More...]

Twilight at Second Beach.

2015 Calendar: Nature Calls

People keep telling me, “You should do a calendar!” And other people smarter than me say, “You’ll be sorry!” I'm heeding the former; let's prove those latter folks wrong! I know $30 is at the high end for a calendar, but, honestly, I might make a couple bucks on each, paying for half a gallon of the many gallons of gas I burned, chasing the light this past year. You can see the lineup below. I will take orders until DECEMBER 7. That way, I can get the calendars out before the holidays. Hit me on the Contact Page to make arrangements. PayPal would be great, but Bitcoins also work (not really; can anyone explain to me how they work?). By the way, clicking on any image below will launch a viewer. … [Read More...]

799px-Los_Angeles_Clippers_logo

Less than Sterling

Gifted with an opportunity to seize and shape a defining moment in their sport’s history, they pondered and met and schemed. They geared up and took aim. And on Sunday night in Oakland, the players of the Los Angeles Clippers shot a figurative air ball. Wading amid the cultural rip tide created by their owner, Donald Sterling, his most prized employees assembled on the court before their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, and deposited their warmup jackets in a pile to reveal practice shirts turned inside out, hiding the team logo. But, when push came to shove, they reported dutifully for the opening tip, played and lost a game, and not even for a second did the NBA cash machine cease dispensing dollars. So, for an extremely critical news cycle, the toxic, racist comments attributed to Sterling provoked no repercussions of substance. There was outrage, of course. The vast One-Nameness – Magic (Johnson), Michael (Jordan) and Lebron (James) – stepped forward. But such is the mathematics of our times: Outrage minus a hit to the pocketbook equals meaningless … [Read More...]

A male Wood Duck at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

Duck on Branch (Be Prepared)

NISQUALLY, Wash. -- During winter, I usually am toting my long lens and often run into hunters. “Big lens,” many will comment. “Big gun,” I usually reply. Though a lot of birders and wildlife photographers bristle, I enjoy my encounters with hunters. After all, we’re both looking for the same thing, and we’re both going to shoot it, albeit me with a camera. We also both usually have gathered intelligence the other can use. … [Read More...]

Photography Buzz

Snow Lake, in Mount Rainier National Park.

Hike: Bench & Snow Lakes

(NOTE: Clicking on an image opens full-sized version in a separate window). This down-and-back has a lot of what the average hiker might look for — enough up and down for aerobic challenges but not too strenuous for children and the creaky kneed, nice wildflowers and … [Read More...]

More Photographic Buzz

More Buzz

Salmon Cascades in Sol Duc Valley, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Splash

If you’ve ever been photographically challenged by the likes of the indifferent dog, recalcitrant relative or churlish child, try Mother Nature on for size. She can be as fickle as any subject, requiring planning, alternatives and flexibility. To wit, I recently visited my “home” national park, Olympic (Wash.), with the goal of shooting Sol Duc … [Read More...]

Sunrise at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Gambling on Sunrise

Outdoor photography is probably not for the financially meek. In addition to all the gear and travel, it’s also going to cost a good 10 of your usual 40 winks. That’s because purveyors of the heavy lidded lifestyle swear by the so-called “Golden Hour” – the first half hour after the sun rises and the last half hour before it sets. Give or take. … [Read More...]

Jordan Pond under the stars, serenaded by loons and coyotes.

Loon-y Jordan Pond

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine – Much of what I read about the East’s first national park referred to Cadillac Mountain as its crown jewel. If that’s true, Jordan Pond is at least Acadia’s centerpiece. With its crystal clear glacial water and the two Bubble Mountains sitting like camel humps beyond its northern shores, Jordan Pond is the park’s … [Read More...]

799px-Los_Angeles_Clippers_logo

Less than Sterling

Gifted with an opportunity to seize and shape a defining moment in their sport’s history, they pondered and met and schemed. They geared up and took aim. And on Sunday night in Oakland, the players of the Los Angeles Clippers shot a figurative air ball. Wading amid the cultural rip tide created by their owner, Donald Sterling, his most prized … [Read More...]

My Nikon D800 captured its own end.

Grieving Gear

She'd been with me only about a year, but had photographed my wife, dog, daughters, parents, artists, raptors (though no rappers), the holidays, Seahawk heaven. She'd ushered me from sports to landscapes and wildlife, accompanied me to four national parks, four national wildlife refuges, and my 10th wedding anniversary, helped me win two … [Read More...]

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