Year in Review: 2022

January 15, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Well, 2022 has come and gone. Thankfully that meant life started to finally feel like it was returning to normal after a long fight with a worldwide pandemic. COVID certainly changed my business quite a bit in 2020 and 2021, but 2022 definitely felt like those challenges started moving to the rearview mirror. 

Sunrise_Sprague_Lake_RMNP_2022_1Sunrise_Sprague_Lake_RMNP_2022_1A stunning sunrise filled the sky above Sprague Lake and the peaks of the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Although I still spent plenty of time with the large and small mammals of the Rocky Mountains, I wanted to venture out and test my creativity for landscape images. I explored more new trails in 2022 than ever before (although I still chickened out on those solo backpacking trips; trying again this year — wish me luck), and I found a few places I am looking forward to returning to in the future for better atmospheric conditions and to host workshops so others can capture the beauty of the locations. I also finally captured some landscape images of places I have visited over and over yet had never photographed the exact conditions I envisioned (see the image above of an alpine lake at sunrise; prints available).

I also spent a lot more time photographing birds in 2022, with most of my travel dedicated to bird subjects. 

Bald_eagle_WASB_2022_12Bald_eagle_WASB_2022_12A pair of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) clash in midair as they fight over a fish on a sunny day in western Washington state. One of the best trips of the year was to Washington to photograph bald eagles. Even with a knee injury that happened during that trip that took until the fall to really feel stronger, the trip produced amazing and intense bald eagle photos. (Stay tuned for more info specific about that trip and about private photo instruction coming in 2023 at this location.)

Piping_plover_NB_2022_1Piping_plover_NB_2022_1A newborn piping plover chick (Charadrius melodus) runs along the sand on a sunny morning in Long Beach, New York. I also revisited a popular beach for nesting birds in Long Island, New York. It is always hard to time the trip because the nesting season runs from late May through early August, depending on which bird is the desired subject. I hoped to photograph the piping plovers, a threatened species in much of their range, and even listed as endangered in some areas. For the trip in 2022, I timed it perfectly to capture photos of the plover chicks just a day or two after hatching. I also had a bonus of seeing two newborn oystercatcher chicks take their first steps after hatching. It didn't take long before they were off and running. 

Oystercatcher_NB_2022_2Oystercatcher_NB_2022_2A newborn American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) sits on the beach next to its unborn sibling still in the egg on a sunny morning on Long Island, New York.

The summer brought many trips into Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy the time with some of my favorite species — elk, moose and pikas — and other wonderful wildlife destinations in Colorado and Wyoming. 

Mountain_goat_sunset_MtEvans_2022_1Mountain_goat_sunset_MtEvans_2022_1A mother mountain goat with her two kids watch a beautiful Colorado sunset above Mt. Bierstadt, Grays Peak and Torreys Peaks as seen from near the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. And the highlight of the year was the trip I led to Churchill, Manitoba to photograph polar bears and other arctic wildlife. The weather was extremely cold, causing the ice to arrive a little early. That was great for the bears, which we observed testing the ice. We also saw an abundance of red fox this trip and a special showing of the Northern Lights. Can't beat all that for one week. I will be heading back up in November 2023; dates and details coming soon.

Polar_bear_CH_2022_5Polar_bear_CH_2022_5A polar bear (Ursus maritimus) mother and her cub test out the early sheets of ice on Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba.

I also had a bit of a mishap with my camera in August thanks to my eagerness to preserve a moment of a little girl in a pink jacket holding a fishing pole. I missed the shot and dunked my camera in the Colorado River instead but managed a perfect series of documentary photos for an article I was working on about outdoor programs for the disabled. The damage to my Nikon D850 was repairable but would take several months due to parts. I needed a new camera and took the plunge into mirrorless and purchased the Nikon Z9. I'll have a separate post about that but let's just say it has been worth every penny of the cost (although I still love my D850 and will continue to use that as long as I can). 

Fly_fishing_Event_RMNP_2022_4Fly_fishing_Event_RMNP_2022_4Dan Real, a volunteer with National Sports Center for the Disabled, shows his collection of flies he brought to the Fly Fishing in the Rockies event in Kawuneeche Valley.

This post has just a very small sampling of the images from 2022. Check out the videos I have produced featuring a collection of bird, mammal and landscape photos in each video.
- Birds
- Landscapes
- Mammals

So, here is to a great 2023 with lots of trips, new workshops, plenty of writing and new trails to explore. I need a year with about 400 days on the calendar. Who am I kidding, I would just fill those days just as fast :) (Speaking of calendars, did you order your Rocky Mountain Wildlife 2023 Calendar?)

NOTE: Links to products may be associated with affiliate programs. That helps me to keep giving you great information and outdoor opportunities at no additional cost to you.

 


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