Here's round two of some of my personal favorites from this year. The main reason I like this first one so much is because it's the closest I've ever been to a hummingbird. I like the pose and the fine detail. The tip of the bill and the feathers on the back of his head are just out of focus, but that's okay because his eye is sharp. That's key to any wildlife portrait.
My daughter was my assistant for this shot. I like the colors and the open scene, but my favorite part of this photo is the fact that it's an illusion to an extent. The hill is not as steep or high as it appears. In fact, it wasn't very high at all and the slope was very gradual. I shot it prone on the ground with a wide angle lens and my daughter was far enough away to give the illusion of height.
Green Herons are secretive and don't spend a lot of time hanging out in the open, especially if there is human activity nearby. I was fortunate to catch this guy perched on a foot bridge. I love the colors and the long toes gripping the railing.
This is my favorite storm cloud shot ever. It was July and the rest of the sky was mostly clear with the exception of this storm system. The Weather Service said this cloud formation reached a height of 55,000 feet. For several days after this, there were photos of the formation all over social media and the local news.
What makes this shot for me are the water droplets on the goose's head and neck and the water running off the bill. The catch light in the eye fits in nicely with the water drops, too. Certain waterfowl are so common around here that it's hard for me to get excited about photographing them unless I can catch something like this. It doesn't hurt that this photo was chosen for a 2015 Ducks Unlimited calendar.
Sunrises mean having to get out of bed early, but I enjoy shooting them when I can. I like the sunburst through the silhouetted trees, the reflection on the lake, and the blue of the sky and water.