Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Favorite Photos of 2015

For each of the past two years I have shared my favorite photos from the year.  Here is the 2015 edition.  Enjoy.

Most of the photos that I take fall in one of two categories.  I am either trying to take a "pretty" picture or I am trying to document something (and don't care if the photo is "pretty").  A smaller portion of my photos fall into a third category - abstract.  These pictures show unique details or patterns (rock, bark, leaves, etc.).  This first image was taken on January 14th and shows broken shards of ice, refrozen into a new pattern, crossed over by animal tracks.  Is it "pretty"?  Maybe, but it's definitely unique.

I love photographing clouds and "bad" weather.  Dark clouds add so much drama to a landscape and their brooding nature can take a hum-drum image and make it something special.  This photo was taken at the Forest Hill Nature Area on March 26th.

On May 1st, I photographed a Barred Owl at Mission Creek Woodland Park.  This was the second time that I have seen and photographed an owl at Mission Creek.  Maybe it was the same owl?

Back in May, I bought a new wide angle lens for my camera.  I soon got to test it out at a photography outing at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's Audubon Woods Preserve.  I spent a lot of my time taking close-up low angle shots of wildflower, such as this picture of Mayapples and Large-flowered Trillium near a fallen log.

Over the past several years I have helped plant and maintain four native pollinator gardens in the local community.   One of my favorite photographs from the gardens is this close-up of a Prairie Dock leaf at the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum on June 15th.  I liked this photo so much that I entered it into a photo contest.

During July, Shara and I took a vacation to Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.  One of the early highlights of this trip was a visit to a public garden near Sturgeon Bay.  The Garden Door is a public demonstration garden operated by the Door County Master Gardeners.  This garden was absolutely filled with insect and bird life during our visit.  My favorite picture from The Garden Door was this picture of a female Goldenrod Crab Spider with a recently captured hoverfly.

This next image was taken during a nighttime moth hunt at Mission Creek Woodland Park on July 25th.  We saw lots of interesting moths, but my favorite image of the night was this one of a Daddy Log-legs on a tree trunk, silhouetted against one of our lit-up sheets used to attract moths.

One of my favorite experiences of the year was spending a day searching for bobcat tracks with Heather Shaw, wildlife biologist for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.  I wrote about this experience on August 28th.  In this photograph, Heather is measuring and recording tracks at a scent station set up along a rural road.

On rare occasions, I post photos on this blog that were taken by other people.  This next photograph was taken during a Rural Education Day activity on September 22nd.  The photographer in this instance was a CMU student named Leigha Shoaf.  During the fall semester, Leigha spent a couple of hours each week as a volunteer, helping me with programs.  Leigha said that she is not much of a photographer, but I think the composition of this image is absolutely spot-on.

The best part of my job is when I can get students out of the classroom and out into nature.  This photograph of students measuring the forest canopy appeared in a post about students from Winn Elementary performing a forest ecology study

Sometimes beauty is found in ugly things.  These scrawling lines were created by Emerald Ash Borer larvae.  This photograph appeared in a post on November 10th and inspired a follow-on post on November 12th.

I took this photograph on November 24th in the parking lot at the Conservation District office.  When I look at this photograph, I don't see bubbles in ice.  Instead, I see an entire universe of galleries, stars, and other celestial objects.  My favorite abstract photo of the year.

The next photograph is one of many from a Bald Eagle release near Empire, MI.  It appeared in a post on November 30th.

Rebecca Lessard preparing to release a healthy Bald Eagle back into the wild

My final image for the year was taken on December 7th.  It is an image of decaying oak leaves in a pool of water at Mission Creek Park.  The oils from the plants creates a rainbow sheen on the surface of the water.

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