Looking Back On 2019 – My Five Favorite Images Of The Year

Northern Cardinal Photo by Scott Bourne

Looking Back On 2019 – My Five Favorite Images Of The Year

Each year, I try to look back at what I accomplished photographically. I do this merely to have a reference point. That way, as I move forward into the next year, I can think about what I want to do to up my game.

Some of you have heard me speak of kaizen. It is the Japanese word for improvement. It means to continuously try to improve, but it’s really more of a philosophy than anything else. To constantly strive for something better.

To do that, I need a benchmark. So I pick a few of my favorite images from the previous year as motivation and this year I thought I’d share them with all of you.

Remember, I am not saying these are my best images (but sometimes they are.) I am saying these are my personal favorites.

In no particular order:

Northern Cardinal Photo by Scott Bourne

“Cardinal That Wishes He Was A Swan”

The two weeks I spent in southern Texas in 2019 were easily some of the most productive shooting days for me all year. I found this guy in Texas.

I love this photo I made of him. He is a Northern Cardinal (Male – Cardinalis cardinalis) flying by. He looks graceful; more like a swan than a cardinal.

I used the #GetOlympus “Pro-Capture” mode to get this shot. It would be dumb luck to get it any other way.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X, 40-150 f/2.8 Pro Lens, ISO 800, f/4, 1/4000th, mounted to a tripod, shooting from a blind.


Kestrel Photo by Scott Bourne


This lovely American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) was nice enough to pose for me with lunch on a fence post. Also note that the bird was nice enough to point the mouse’s face at the camera.

P.S. Sometimes it sucks to be a mouse.

#GetOlympus OM-D E-M1X with Olympus 300 f/4 IS Pro Lens, ISO 250, f/5.6, 1/2500th, handheld.


Female Cardinal Photo by Scott Bourne

“Fabulous Female Cardinal”

This female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was another bird I found in Texas. She sat on a perfect branch, in perfect light, in front of a perfect background. It was one of my most financially successful images of 2019, but that’s not why I like it so much. It brings me peace, every time I look at it. I also like photographing female cardinals because they are unique in the bird world. They sing as much or more than their male counterparts. In most bird species, only the males sing.

#GetOlympus OM-D E-M1X with Olympus 300 f/4 IS Pro Lens, Olympus 1.4 teleconverter, ISO 250, f/5.6, 1/320th, mounted on a tripod and shot from a blind.


Sandhill cranes at sunset photo by Scott Bourne

“Dancing Crane At Sunset”

Over the last three decades, I have been lucky enough to both witness, and photograph many stunning sunrises and sunsets at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. Each year, I try to make at least one iconic sunrise/sunset photo that features cranes or geese. This year, I really concentrated on making such images and got several winners. But I think for me personally, this is the one I like best. It’s as if the one sandhill crane is teaching the others how to line dance.

One of the great things about bird photography is that you can make up any story you want to describe the bird’s behavior and nobody can prove you wrong 🙂

#GetOlympus OM-D E-M1X with Olympus 40-15- f/2.8 Pro Lens, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/30th – handheld.


Crane photo by Scott Bourne

“Cranes In The Mist – No Fire”

Six weeks ago, I made this image at Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge in some of the worst weather I have ever experienced there. I stayed at the crane pools because there were few birds, which actually upped the chances of getting nice separation and artistic compositions.

I used the reeds in the foreground as a graphical element and made this pictorial style to tell the story of the sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis) at the refuge.

I made the original photo with my #GetOlympus OM-D E-M1 X mounted to the Olympus 12-100 f/4 Pro Lens. Post processing was in Luminar, plus Topaz Labs Glow and Impression II.

This pictorial style is something I keep working towards because it is very popular in Asia.

#GetOlympus OM-D E-M1 X with Olympus 12-100 f/4 Pro Lens. ISO 500, f/5, 1/320th, handheld.

Post processing: #MadeWithLuminar, plus Topaz Labs Glow and Impression II.


I hope you enjoyed my picks. It’s very difficult to select only five. I had a great year photographically speaking and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to speak for the birds for yet another year.

Here’s hoping 2020 is good for all of us.

Picture Methods has partnered with Hunt’s Photo & Video to bring you the best gear at a competitive price and backed by personal service. Call Alan Samiljan at 781-462-2383 or Noah Buchanan at 781.462.2356. If you cannot reach either one try Gary Farber at 781-462-2332. You will ALWAYS get the best prices if you call the store v. Using the web site. You can also email Noah at: nbuchanan@huntsphoto.com or Gary at: gfarber@huntsphoto.com. Hunt’s has been around a long time and you can trust them. Make sure to mention that Scott Bourne sent you. That will get you the best deal.


5 Responses

  1. All excellent photos. It seems as though the Cardinal might have been “on to you,” but it might just have been the way the camera caught his glance. The Kestrel with “lunch” is a super shot. Sad for the mouse, but living things have to eat! And of course, kudos to the bird for posing the mouse in such a favorable position. [ Is that a trained bird? : ) ]

  2. Just out of curiosity why was the photo of the cardinal one of your most financially successful last year? Was it because it’s a rare bird (I’m not from or in North America so wouldn’t know), or was it because of the moment and composition etc.? It’s a wonderful image.

    1. Hi Sean cardinals are very common in the USA. They are the state bird of seven different states. So the popularity of the bird is a factor. They aren’t rare at all but that doesn’t have to be a factor. Also the pose, movement and composition – with the bird suspended in mid-air, seemed to appeal to people.

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