The pursuit of reptiles and amphibians often results in much time spent peering into dark cracks and crevices. On a good day, you might see something peering back, like this early season Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) photographed in situ. I wanted to light this shot in a way that conveyed the dark, concealing nature of this crevice, while using just enough directed light to barely reveal the rattlesnake.
"Shades of Blue" - Margerie Glacier, in the upper reaches of Glacier Bay, Alaska, is an awesome sight. Although this glacier appears to be massive, it is but a shadow of its former self. Only a couple hundred years ago, all of Glacier Bay was a giant glacier. Today, it is a 65 mile long fjord, with several smaller glaciers remaining, but rapidly retreating, in the upper reaches of the Bay. Warmer temperatures and less snowfall has doomed these rivers of ice, and the consequences can be felt on a global scale. #climatechangeisreal#bepartofthesolution
A handsome Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) drake showing off his iridescent plumage while bathed in warm evening light in the heart of San Francisco. Thank goodness for #goldengatepark , a beautiful and green oasis in the concrete jungle of SF.⠀
This Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana opistholeuca) was one of the very first animals I encountered in my visit to Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula several years ago. This anteater was meandering across the road and promptly climbed a tree and began tearing into this termite nest. Tamanduas are incredibly cool mammals. They are highly arboreal and possess a prehensile tail, like many primates, that serves as a 5th limb to grasp branches. The most notable feature on this anteater is it's incredibly long and sticky tongue which is perfectly adapted for slurping up tons of ants and termites.⠀
A marine flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.) from Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. I rarely shoot critters from above, but I loved the design and pattern created by the black and white colonial tunicates and thought they made for an interesting background as the flatworm crawled over them.⠀
A good-sized adult Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) from Southern Arizona. There are many different species of beautiful rattlesnakes in the western U.S., but it's tough to beat a nice golden "molo" from the Sky Islands.
Summer rain in the Mojave Desert is a rare sight. This time, the passing storm coincided with sunset, in a brilliant display of atmospheric drama that just lit up the curtains of rain with orange, pink and purple light. What a memorable few minutes this was!⠀
A Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) comes in for a landing in a Southern California wetland. I really enjoy watching these comical birds. If you're lucky enough to catch them hunting, you'll see a crazy bird running around the shallows, darting and changing direction... a very active hunter. They'll occasionally take a break from the theatrics, and spread their wings over their head, creating a tent that shades a section of the water which both removes glare and causes fish to take shelter in the shade.⠀
It's Sea Otter Awareness Week, so here's a shot of a nice blonde male otter looking very satisfied with his Washington Clam (Saxidomis nuttalli) meal. Did you know that sea otters, as apex predators in nearshore communities, play a pivotal role in shaping entire ecosystems? And not just in kelp forests, but in estuaries too! If you're interested in learning more about sea otters and the dedicated researchers studying them, this is the week to do it! Check out seaotterweek.org for a list of talks and events going on in the Monterey Bay area all week.⠀
There are several species of pygmy seahorse in the Indo-Pacific, but Denise's Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus denise) is one of the least frequently encountered. I was thrilled to come across this little gem on a sea fan in about 80ft of water in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia. Like it's cousins (H. bargabanti and H. pontohi), this seahorse is almost too small to see with the naked eye. It is perhaps the size of your pinkie fingernail. Photographing the "littles" of the ocean requires magnification that is greater than "life-size" (1:1). I used a Subsee +10 diopter in addition to my 100mm macro lens to achieve the magnification I desired in making this image.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Lush ferns and redwood sorrel give vibrant life and color to the understory of this ancient redwood forest in Northern California. I find forests to be one of the most challenging landscapes to photograph. They're just so busy. Being able to see through the "clutter" and isolate subjects with pleasing depth and spacing is key to coming away with a good image in this tricky environment.⠀
The Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) is a normally shy and reclusive bird of Central and South American wetlands. They reach the northern extent of their range in Florida, where this individual was photographed. These unusual birds feed almost exclusively on Apple Snails and have an unmistakable screaming call. I got out at sunrise, had the whole place to myself, and was rewarded by this Limpkin perched way out in the open, in good morning light, just asking to be photographed. #earlybirdgetstheworm ⠀
"Prime Real Estate" in Glacier Bay, Alaska. So many Steller's Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) have hauled out on this rock that the island appears to made entirely of pinnipeds! These super-sized sea lions are much larger and more intimidating than the more familiar California Sea Lion. Though pinnipeds are perfectly at home in the water, hauling out on land is important for mating, rearing young, molting, resting, thermoregulation and escaping aquatic predators.⠀
The Halimeda Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomus halimeda), appears to be made out of Halimeda algae. The cryptic abilities of this species are remarkable, causing the fish to virtually disappear in a bed of algae. In the ocean, it's a fish eat fish world so it pays to be big. If you're destined for the #tinylife not to worry, #evolution got your back. Some species evolve to be toxic, others are heavily armored. The Ghost Pipefish literally "ghosts" on would be predators by going undetected. #howcoolisthat
A Mojave Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes) moves across a desert playa. Despite being a common snake in Southwestern deserts, Sidewinders remain one of the coolest in my opinion. They have perfected side-winding locomotion as an efficient way to move quickly across searing hot sand. And what's not to like about a rattlesnake with horns?⠀
A Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) cruises low over a lake on the SF Peninsula in California. Skimmers are such cool birds. Their colorful bills have a comical under bite, but are razor thin when viewed from head-on. The lower, more elongated portion of the bill cuts through the water as the skimmer "skims" the surface, until the bill comes into contact with a fish. The bill is snapped shut and the skimmer flies off with its meal.⠀