20,000 Photos in Newport!

December 2011







































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2011 was a big year for me. I felt that I had finally mastered the craft of photography and I decided to set myself a goal of taking 20,000 photos in a single year. Now I realize that this may seem like a fairly small number to some of my fellow photographers out there. I actually saw a program about presidential photographers in which it was revealed that 20,000 photos per day was not all that uncommon. For me, however, the benchmark was a real milestone.

The magic photo!

When I arrived in Newport, RI I was well over 1,000 short of my goal. My destination for photography was the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, which is renowned for its winter ducks. I would have liked to spend more time trying to capture images of harlequin ducks, but the weather simply wasn't cooperating. I was in Newport for three days and it wasn't until the morning of day 3 that I finally broke the 20,000 mark and captured this male bufflehead on one of the small ponds along the ocean drive in Newport.

Heads UP!

It was my second day at the Sachuest NWR and the terrible weather of the previous day had given way to a brilliant blue sky and very cold temperatures. White-tail deer were scattered all over the refuge, but I was astonished when this magnificent male came bounding over to my location. Based on his body language I think it is safe to say that he was equally astonishe when he realized that I was standing there. He had obviously kept his eye on the females that were feeding nearby and had missed me completely. If ever a deer said "Oh Crap!" I think it would have been then.

An Unexpected Surprise.

While I was clambering around the rocks along the eastern shore of Sachuest I happened to catch sight of a pair of small birds that flew in and landed near me. I was pressed against the cold, wet stone in an effort to go undetected by harlequin ducks that were swimming just off the shore, but these new arrivals turned out to be much more cooperative than the ducks. They were purple sandpipers and this was the first time I had ever been able to get a close look at them. Lucky for me I was looking at them through a telephoto lens and taking photos the entire time!

The Timeless Art of Seduction

On my last day in Newport, with all of the weight of my challenge off my back, I decided to take one last look at a quiet cove that has always provided productive birding in the past. I rolled up to a boat ramp where I could get an unobstructed view of the water and what did I find? Red-breasted mergansers in full courtship. Another first for me, I took this photo while seated in my car. It was way to cold to stand outside, but with the window down and the heat on full blast I was quite comfortable.

Copyright 2013 William Danielson