Memories of 2018

Each year my friend and colleague Jim M Goldstein at reminds me to review my work and post a few images to share with my fans, friends and followers.  Thanks Jim.

As I scan the thousands of digital files I made in 2018, that are taking up way too much space on my hard drives, I’m looking more at memories than images. Each one conjures up some great adventure and experience I’ve had this past year.

These may not be my best images but they are some of my favorite memories. All images shot with Nikon D500 300mm pf lens w/wo 1.4x except Wild Horses 70-200mm

Enjoy, Jim Stamates 

The Eagle is Landing – 1/2000s f7.1 ISO 800 420mm

This is my most exciting image in 2018. Not because it came out great, even though it did, but because it was a once in 43 year occurrence. I made this image from my deck! We might see an eagle fly by once or twice a year but we’ve never seen one land on the river bank. Turns out it had caught a 26 inch rainbow trout (never saw a trout that big, either)  It was too heavy to fly with so it dragged it onto the beach and fed on it, with 2 other eagles, for 3 days. What a treat! We’ll never forget that and we have a couple of thousand images it reminds us.

Fan Django – 1/4000s f4 ISO 4000 300mm

This flycatcher was chasing a meal at Llano Seco Riparian Sanctuary in central California. Overcast, a little drizzle, light wind, the perfect combination for birds in flight. I just love the wing pattern, almost translucent. Shooting down from a platform is not the ideal perspective, but this time it worked out, reminding me to break the rules with intent.

Wild Horses – 1/5000s f3.5 ISO 3200 200mm

I just like the feel of this one. Soft light, shot from a low angle, mud flying, and the lone stallion thinking; why can’t we just get along. Each year we go 4-wheeling with my 2-wheel drive van into the Pine Nut Mountains near where we live to find and photograph wild and free horses. It’s a great first outing while the snow still covers the driveway reminding us as soon as the snow melts, we’ll be wild and free, too.

Wing Tips – 1/1600s f5.6 ISO 800 420mm

Sometimes a subject is so common and abundant I tend to ignore them and this image reminds me not to. There is always a different or better shot to be had so don’t ignore the common…keep looking for the unique. I love the way the wing tips are just touching the river.

Mama with an Attitude – 1/640s f4 ISO 800 300mm

Look at that pose, a little slinky. Reminds me of Mae West. “Come up and see me sometime!” It was late in the day and about to call it quits, okay, one more dirt road before we head to camp. We slowly drove a few miles in looking for anything that moved, turned around and headed out. As we come around a bend we are surprised. We just passed here moments ago and now there is a bear and her two cubs! Spent about half an hour with them, then she gave me the pose.

Shake it Off – 1/640 f5.6 ISO 800 420mm

The pronghorn was acting strange; running one way then the next. I squatted for a better angle and watched. It started running toward me and stopped right at the top of a knoll, shook, then continued running in my direction passing about 20 feet to my right. I don’t know how it got so wet but I love the backlit water flying from its body.

Let’s Dance – 1/1600s f4 ISO 1600 300mm

It was a quiet, calm, crisp, rather cool fall morning as we started out pre-dawn hoping to find bull elk crossing String Creek in Grand Teton NP. The silence was broken with the bugling of a bull elk, then an answer, and another. They are all around us but not near the creek. The sound of elk bulging is enough to make my day and we are happy just being in nature. We hiked quite aways as the sun rose and warmed frozen cheeks. Later, as we retraced our steps back to the trailhead a mother elk and her yearling calves appear at the edge of the water. One calf was very active, running and jumping, trying to get her sister to play. These situations don’t last long so keep shooting. Moments later they crossed the creek as a large bull followed. This dance, the splashing water with the reflection is my favorite image of the day and will always remind me of this spectacular morning.

What? – 1/5000s f5 ISO 400 300mm

I love photographing moose, especially during the rut. The bulls just go nuts looking and snuffling for females. When a cow is near, watch out, cause all the bull cares about is her and nothing better get in his way. As this big guy came very close to me he was swinging his head from side to side, saliva slinging off in all directions. 

Whistling Dixie – 1/400 f5.6 ISO 400 420mm

Large or small I love to photograph wildlife. This is a Pika, cousin to the rabbit. Ears are small, voice is loud. They are quick, darting between rocks, hiding, then reappearing. Patience is the game with these guys. Find a log or rock to sit on and just stay still. It’s a great way to de-stress and helps me get back into the rhythm. No worries, hang out, mellow your mind, and look what appears. Looking at this image now reminds me to chill more often.

The Three Amigos – 1/640 f8 ISO 800 420mm

Finding a den or nesting site is a great reward and this was no exception. Again, patience is paramount. We found the den and moved away quickly to not disturb the occupants. Set up under a tree, well hidden with shrubs, we waited. It felt like forever and then…one fox kit appeared, then another, and another. Once they are out, don’t move. You’ve picked your spot, do the best you can. Any sudden motion will send them scurrying back into the den for hours. The next morning I returned early and took my position under the tree. Moments later a cow moose came feeding through. I didn’t move, she’d looked my way but not sure if she saw me or couldn’t figure out what I was. Closer she came, browsing and staring in my direction. She was probably 10 feet away as she walked around the back side of the tree. Best part, I was all alone, just me, the moose, and the tree. Another favorite memory.

Thanks for looking. Share, post, follow, and I always appreciate your comments. May your memories be good, adventurous, and always plentiful. Jim Stamates