Asking a photographer to choose a favorite image is about like asking a loving parent to choose a favorite child. Both questions are inherently unfair and perhaps unanswerable.
So for the New Year I decided to ask myself a similar question but from a different perspective: If a cruel and heartless thief stole my hard drives containing all of my 2016 photos but allowed me to keep a single image, which one would I choose? After all, one of my best is better than none at all. Much better. So in those circumstances I’d make the choice. I’d have to.
In 2016 I took many images I like very much – including photos of Red-naped Sapsuckers, American Kestrels, Barn Owls, Short-eared Owls, Burrowing Owls, Long-billed Curlews, Northern Flickers, Swainson’s Hawks, Western Grebes, Red-tailed Hawks and many others. I also captured several interesting behavioral series and I even wiped the Belted Kingfisher off of my “nemesis” list by finally getting numerous quality images of that elusive species after almost ten years of trying.
So choosing just one is difficult. Very difficult. But here it is – my final choice after much consideration.
1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in
The Golden Eagle has been my single most difficult subject for my entire photography “career”. I’ve had a fair number of opportunities with them but something always seemed to go wrong so I ended up with images that were only fair to mediocre or no images at all. My goal was to get a very sharp image of one in flight in good light with a pleasing background. I took a dozen shots of this bird as it flew between me and the mountain and this is the only one of the bunch that was tack sharp. And for me that yellow rabbitbrush in the background is the icing on the cake.
So there you have it – my “favorite” photo from 2016 and the reasons why it would be my choice. Some regular readers may wonder why I didn’t choose another image but this is the one I linger over most often when I stumble across it and this is the one I’ll probably print next to hang on one of my walls.
On an unrelated note – Hallelujah, I survived the dreaded and illegal neighborhood fireworks last night! Temps were in the low 20’s at midnight and I think it was just too cold for most of those clowns to stay out for long because their revelry was relatively short-lived and subdued. A good night’s sleep on New Years Eve was a late and unexpected Christmas present for me.
And speaking of the New Year I hope yours is joyous, prosperous and healthy. With everything going on in the world 2017 is likely to be a difficult year but we must always have hope. And at least try to make a positive difference if we can.