After a fantastic time with the confiding puffins of Fair Isle, I decided to spend some time photographing Northern Gannets on some of the other Shetland Islands. Northern Gannets are some of the largest seabirds of the North Atlantic. They breed in only a few large colonies and spend most of their time out at sea. Their stunning white plumage is as beautiful to see as its hard to photograph properly.
Northern Gannet

First stop was Hermaness National Nature Reserve on Unst. Overlooking Muckle Flugga – Britain’s northernmost point, this is a haven for seabirds with the gannets here representing 5% of the entire Western European population. And at the right time of year, it is a busy busy place.

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Clowns of the sea – puffins are unique and iconic seabirds.

Puffin!

I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Horned and Tufted Puffins at leisure from various bases in Alaska including the dramatic colonies of St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea. Atlantic Puffins are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and while there are several places to view them, after some research, I settled on the tiny rock called Fair Isle in northern Scotland.

Fair Isle doesn’t seem to get a lot of visitors – relatively speaking – which is a good thing because the infrastructure can only support so much. One of the reasons might be the notoriously poor chances of actually making the journey to the island. There are two ways – by a very rocky four hour ferry ride or a small twin-engine plane from the tiny airport near Sumburgh Head on ‘mainland’ Shetland. Both are regularly canceled due to fog or bad seas. Here is where my luck came through – I was able to make the journey rather uneventfully from the midwestern United States to Glasgow to Sumburgh.

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  • Parameswaran Ponnudurai - Amazing photos and enjoyed your thrilling story.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Kannan - Thank you! Your puffin shots put the viewer eye to eye. Love your description of Fair Isle too.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Rosser - I am in San Diego, but while enjoying your amazing photos I could feel the cool, hear the sounds, and smell the puffin poo! For a moment you transported me to a place that couldn’t be more different than my daily life. You are a rare talent. Thanks for the trip!ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Talerico - Your photos are perfection and your narrative is enthralling!ReplyCancel

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I had the opportunity to visit some Sandhill Cranes at a roosting site on the Wisconsin River last month. This was one of the last possible opportunities to photograph them before they migrated south for the winter.

Winter means early sunset and the cranes didn’t arrive till the light was failing. Nevertheless, the vast numbers of cranes arriving together gave me an opportunity to try some long exposures. I particularly like how the cranes in flight look like wraiths in the air.

Long exposure of Sandhill Cranes arriving for the night

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I’m thrilled to have an image selected in the Highly Honored section of the BIRDS category in the very prestigious Nature’s Best 2016 Windland Smith Rice International Awards Competition. This image of an Indigo Bunting on a freshly opening sunflower was photographed not far from my home at the Pope Farm Conservancy in Wisconsin. It made a short list with some other very talented photographers from over 20,000 images submitted from 51 countries.

Indigo Bunting on Sunflower

Indigo Bunting on Sunflower

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  • Krishna - Congratulations. I love the simplicity of composition and Clean background..ReplyCancel

  • Mark Jeffries - Beautiful photographs.ReplyCancel

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I had the very cool opportunity to spend part of August this year in Zambia with my family. Naturally, I packed my gear along and there were excellent photography opportunities throughout. Since I photographed prolifically, I’m breaking this into three posts with one each to cover the Mfuwe and Nsefu sectors in South Luangwa National Park as well as the Lower Zambezi areas.

In the Mfuwe sector of South Luangwa, we stayed at the lovely Flatdogs Camp right outside the park gate. This sector of the park is known for its unusual abundance of large game including leopards. I naturally had some arrangements made for spending time with the local birdlife as well.

We reached the lodge in the afternoon and set right out for an evening game drive into the park. Here are some images from while it was still light out.

Yellow Baboon - Mother and child

Yellow Baboon – Mother and child

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  • Gaby Aitman - We have been to Flatdogs more than once and I have taken many photos but none like these. CongratulationsReplyCancel

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