In terms of the images I produced, 2013 was an unusual year for me. Over the course of most years, I shoot a wide variety of nature images. But 2013, like the title of the book I just completed, was for me the Year of the Eagle. Easily two-thirds of my images were about bald eagles as I worked hard to fill gaps in the story I wanted to tell.
But the year wasn't just about bald eagles. I made my third trip to Iceland. While there, I photographed the inside of an old volcano's magma chamber, the only known one in the world people can climb inside. I also got to capture an incredible northern lights display perfectly reflecting in a lake that is normally quite choppy. I also worked hard to capture beauty close to home.
In the end, I think my annual best-of collection is still quite varied. Here are a few of my favorite images of 2013:
It's hard for me to pick my favorite bald eagle image of the year, but this is a strong contender. It was one of the last images I shot for the project and it became the final image in the book. At this point, the young eagle I observed was very independent and returned to the nest only at night. Here, its mother waits for it to return.
This is a portion of the wall inside Thrihnukagigur's magma chamber. Thrihnukagigur last erupted 4,000 years ago and I thought the pattern here looked like an hour glass. It's one of the most colorful places I've visted.
Lake Mývatn can be a miserable place. It's named for the biting midge flies that live there. Located near the mountains, wind often makes the water incredibly choppy. But the wind stopped and the flies were not biting as I captured this bright northern lights display reflecting in the lake.
I had hoped to capture the northern lights over the icebergs in Jökulsárlón, Iceland's glacial lagoon, but the aurora borealis was too dim that night. I caught part of the Milky Way instead. I lit the icebergs by “painting” them with a flashlight.
This is one from my backyard. A gorgeous oak tree managed to hang on to its fall color through the first frost of the winter. I spent more than an hour photographing it from various angles in early morning backlight to bring out the color.
During one of my trips to Washington's Hood Canal to document how young eagles learn to hunt, I caught this great blue heron landing on the water as the sun was rising. Sometimes what you get is better than what you planned.
In addition to a bald eagle nest, I also spent the summer observing a barred owl nest and caught this tender moment between a mother barred owl and its owlet.
When it's really windy, spray from Snoqualmie Falls in Washington can travel some distance, forming a secondary falls in the punchbowl. This is one of the secondary falls there. I was drawn by the way the falls seems to emerge from the mist.
The Columbia River Gorge waterfalls in Oregon were quite striking during a week-long deep freeze. I thought the ice next to Horsetail Falls looked like frozen jellyfish.
Even in summer, Iceland's weather can be tough. This young artic fox was curled up near the summit of a mountain, trying to keep warm during a storm.