Like many folks, I am busy reflecting on the year gone by and making plans for 2012. One thing I like to do at this time is select my favorite photos. Over the next few posts I will share these favorites with you. My top ten countdown continues with these images:

When heading out to do some nature and outdoor photography, I like many other photographers have several preconceived images in mind. Often enough, existing circumstances come together and permit us to capture these images. However, if you are like me, you will create some of your favorite images when you encounter and capture the unexpected.

While driving through Fishing Bay WMA to photograph Chesapeake Bay watermen near Elliott Island, I stopped and shot a number of images when this gigantic cloud suddenly appeared over the marshy landscape. This is my favorite from that series. It is a lovely graphic image. To me it illustrates clearly that a relationship exists between nature and man. I leave it to the viewer to decide the character and quality of that relationship.

Feline father and sonFor my forthcoming book Washington, DC Memories (Countryman Press, ©2012) I hoped to include a shot of the giant pandas in the National Zoo. Despite numerous visits over the years in various seasons, I do not have what I consider a successful image of these well-known critters. As luck would have it, they remained reclusive during my visit that day so I decided to head home. On the way to my car I took a detour through the African lion exhibit. The National Zoo is famous for its giant pandas, but it is equally recognized for its Great Cats. The lions were active that morning, and I was captured this behavioral shot of the alpha male Luke interacting with one of his sons.

Monty Python fans reading this know the value of expecting the unexpected