COVID-19 caused all of my photo safaris for 2020 to be cancelled. It seems so apropos that this photo, taken within a few miles of home, would be my awarded image! This epitomizes what I’ve tried to tell people over the years—you don’t have to travel far to take wonderful wildlife images. In fact, many times you get your best images in an area you can return to many times.
Having recently retired and relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland, I have spent lots of time exploring local wetlands and wildlife refuges. Koll Center Wetlands Park is a small wetlands bordering a business park. When I heard that a number of common mergansers were hanging out there, I went in search of them.
In this photo, I love the way the dark background makes the merganser really pop and allows her personality to reveal itself!
How I got the shot
This photograph was taken when the light was fairly harsh. The background was dark so I needed to underexpose so as not to blow out the whites in the merganser. I thought the log worked really well with a black background so I simply had to wait for a merganser to climb up on it. When another tried to share the same log, this female went into attack mode. I’m always looking for moments when my subject’s personality really shows itself. To me, her feisty nature shines through!
What I used
Nikon D850, Nikon 500mm PF lens, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO 900, with exposure compensation set at minus 1.3.
I am now a resident of Portland, Oregon, and am an avid amateur wildlife photographer. I got my first SLR in 2008. I love photographing all wildlife but my real passions are non-human primates. My goal in traveling to remote areas around the world is to capture special moments in the lives of animals that many people will never have the chance to experience. By sharing these images I hope to educate the viewer, instill a sense of awe and, hopefully, to cultivate a sense of responsibility to help with their conservation.
As a long-time animal advocate, I’ve always loved spending time in nature. For me, wildlife photography feeds my soul. I never tire of spending time in nature observing and photographing the amazing behavior.
I am a recently retired anesthesiologist. I spent 30 years of preparing, patiently observing, and then jumping into action at a moment’s notice. To me, these skills that I honed over the years, are exactly the same skills needed for wildlife photography!
My photographic journey
I have no formal photographic training. I learned primarily from camera clubs, small photo critique groups, webinars, seminars and workshops. I began competing in international competitions in 2012. Having an image in the Smithsonian in 2012 and the Natural History Museum in London in 2013, and seeing all the amazing images in those exhibits, pushed me to work hard to improve my photography. I have since returned to both the Smithsonian and Natural History Museum in London, and each time, I feel pushed to work even harder to improve! Seeing one’s images in such museums and wonderful publications such as NANPA Expressions is such an honor and, for me, a motivator.
NANPA and me
I have been a NANPA member since 2013. In 2018 my image of an Infant Snow Monkey was 1st runner up in Mammals. In addition, I’ve had 8 images in the Top 100 or Top 250.