2009 Photos: Birds, Butterflies, Beautyberries, Bullfrogs, Bears and More

It's been a busy year -- little time for pictures -- but I have managed to snap a few. As always, I'm blessed to spend much of my time in places where we get to see a bit of wildlife, and I love sharing it.

(in roughly chronological order)

My first bear
My first bear
This is a terrible-quality picture, but it captures a big moment this year... the first bear I've ever seen in the wild. I was out at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge with some of my Forum buddies and Aidan swore we'd see bears. I was skeptical, but it was worth a try. So we're driving down this dodgy dirt/gravel road and off in the distance is a tiny dark blur. "That's a bear!" Aidan claims. I didn't know, but it did seem to move. So when the next one came out, I stopped the van, hung my telephoto lens out the window and took a picture. After much photo processing -- the stuff the Hubble guys got nuthin' on me -- I can confirm that it was, indeed, my first wild bear.
photo by Mark Minasi