Blog: Words and images

Nuthatches: ‘Heads down’ view


When I look through my collection of nuthatch photos I often need to recalibrate my brain. Many of the photos appear, at first glance, to be upside down. 

But the orientation of the photo is correct. That’s the world of the nuthatch, the subject of my featured gallery for June. It spends much of its life with its head pointing toward the ground, clinging to tree bark while looking for insects hiding in bark or for food it has hidden in the crevices.

I have a number of photos showing a nuthatch hanging parallel to a tree with its head pointed down. …

A reminder


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

Arlington National Cemetery, the nation’s military cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is a very solemn place — most of the time, anyway.

Even with reminder signs placed throughout the cemetery grounds, there are still some people who do not know how to behave in a cemetery.

For instance, there was the woman who posted a photo on Facebook of her yelling while giving “the finger” toward one of these sign. …

Contrasting styles


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

New York City is filled with interesting architecture, one of my favorite subjects to photograph. The city has buildings constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s (shortly before or after the start of the 20th century), buildings completed in the 21st century and everything in between.

This photo shows two architectural extremes standing side by side on Broadway at West 42nd Street on the south end of Times Square.

Bobwhite walking


It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

This photo of a Northern Bobwhite isn’t one of my more interesting or memorable bird photographs. It’s rather boring, to be honest. The composition is generic — just a bird walking in short grass. If I had to rank this photo among all my wildlife shots it wouldn’t make the top 1,000, or maybe even the top 10,000.

It’s not the quality of the photograph that persuaded me to post it as my photo of the week. …

Mirror image

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another photo of the week and the story behind the image.

There are times when I encounter an interesting scene, lift the camera to my eye and immediately capture just the shot I visualized. I’ve posted many of those photos on my site.

Then there’s this scene that took about a dozen tries over five or six years to get the shot I wanted.

But it was worth the wait.

The scene shows a courtyard between buildings at 400 and 444 N. Capitol St. NW in Washington, DC. It’s about a block from the hotel where I would usually stay in DC and I passed this courtyard multiple times each day: on morning runs, when walking to the U.S. Capitol complex for meetings, when walking to the office or heading to dinner.

The wide view: My favorite lens


Night traffic moving in Times Square, New York City. 

A question I often get, usually from people just starting out in photography, is “what’s your favorite lens?”

The majority of my photos are of wildlife captured using my very large, very heavy and very expensive Canon EF 600mm f/4L, so most will assume that’s my favorite lens.

They’d be wrong.

My favorite is the least expensive and lightest lens I own: the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens used to capture all the photos in this featured gallery for May.

I know that seems odd, citing as my favorite a lens that cost a fraction of what I’ve spent on any of the other lenses I own. …