Monday, January 04, 2010

2009 Photographic Year in Review

2009 was a challenging year photographically speaking. From about February right through to the end of the year the bulk of my free time was spent on a big non-photographic, non work related project (something which I will talk about later this year).

Between this project and all the responsibilities that go with Maya, I had to force myself to find time to shoot. However looking back upon the catalog of images I made this past year I've still managed to make a lot of images and hit some personal milestones.

The first was which was near the beginning if the year with my first trip dedicated entirely to photography. I've done lots of photography on many trips before and have made many images I've been pleased with, however my trip to Death Valley and Lone Pine in February was the first time where the primary goal was photography and everything was planned around that. I found it to be creatively stimulating and a great experience which has motivated me to plan several more.

Spring 2009 wasn't a great time for birding for me. I didn't get much of a chance to get out and the lack of Egrets at the nesting area in the Palo Alto Baylands didn't help.

Another one of the firsts this year was photographing shore birds on the coast from a boat. Though I was mentally for the challenges of shooting from a small boat, its something that one needs to experience to truly appreciate. I was surprised by the number of good images I was able to get even when shooting with a long lens like the 800.

I visited Canada (and Ontario in particular) several times this year. Though none of the trips were dedicated to photography I did manage to sneak away for a day or so to get in some shooting. During one of these 'getaways' I managed to visit Point Pelee for the first time.

The end of the year was photographically more productive with my first trip dedicated to bird photography, i.e. Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. Once again, this trip has stirred up my creative juices and I'm trying to plan as many bird photography trips as time and Kim's patience will allow.

Gear wise, 2009 has been a fun ride. I started the year off with my then 16 month old Canon 1D3. Now at the end of the year I'm shooting with a 1Ds3, 5D2 and 7D and had a brief 6 month interlude with a Nikon set up. 2009 was the year that Canon demonstrated that they can make exceptional wide angle prime lenses.

I was fortunate to be able to pick up both the 17m and the 24mm tilt shift lenses and use them quite a bit during the holiday trip and both are exceptional.

Body-wise, in 2009 we saw Canon introduce the 7D which is something a lot of bird and wildlife photographers have been asking for, for a very long time (a high density crop sensor with great AF) and overall I'm pleased with it. 2010 will be a very important year for Canon as the 1D4 (and presumably) the 1Ds4 hit the streets with their new auto-focus systems.

2010 is already off to a great start. I'm very pleased with the weather and light we got on our trip though Death Valley and the Alabama Hills. I'm planning a trip to San Diego to photograph Pelicans later this month. I'm also hoping to do a lot more bird photography near home this spring, the Egrets in the bay area, the raptors near Half Moon Bay and another boat safari at Elkhorn Slough. In May, we'll be heading off on our big trip of the year to the Galapagos Islands which will be the first photography workshop that Kim and I will be attending with Andy Biggs. I'm definitely very excited about all of these photographic opportunities.

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