Taken by: Jay Stotts
Jay is the nature photographer that I wish that I could be. It’s tough to find a good place to start talking about his photostream because it seems that everything he takes a picture of looks beautiful; however, one of my favorite parts is undoubtedly the set “from my kayak.” These pictures are so up-close and feel personal, even at 500 or 400mm. In case you don’t have a good sense of what that means, it is “reasonable” (compositionally at lease) to take a portrait from about 25ft away or more at this focal length. I have tried a bit of wildlife photography from a boat, myself but I have never gotten anywhere near this close to anything except for maybe a common loon or two. What makes these pictures special, beyond finding such cool subjects, is the way in which Jay captures all of these animals in action. His pictures of eagles don’t boil down to a static bird or to something gliding on the wind, but instead show an interaction. Sorting through these pictures feels almost like watching a play, even.
Beyond all of that, Jay’s pictures scream of technical excellence. His rendition of subtle details, especially in plumage, his composition, sense of timing, and basic exposure (trust me, limiting yourself to high shutter speeds on a supertelephoto lens can push some camera’s settings even in broad daylight) all harmonize into a wealth of images that make me happy at the end of the day. Jay writes on his flickr that he works for the weekends, just waiting to see what he can capture with his lens. I only hope that I can retire this way or blend more wildlife photography into my upcoming, professional life. Thank you for letting us use your work, Jay, and congratulations on today’s feature!