Great Blue Heron by Joe Bevins

Great Blue Heron at Ballona | Photo by Joe Bevins

I grew up in a birding family. Although in recent years I became aware of this special revelation. When I was younger I thought all families must have spent time with their noses between binoculars like mine did. Both my parents have a love our world’s wild places and the all animals that inhabit them. I grew up in Colorado but also spent some of my formative years in in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Kentucky. During this time my parents fostered not only a love for exploration in wilderness through outdoor sports - skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, rock and ice climbing - but also in conservation of land, water and animals. I have many memories of visiting reserves and refuges when I was younger. One that has come to fruition recently is the reintroduction of Black-footed ferrets into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which I got to visit in January 2016. When I was in elementary school in Laramie, Wyoming I remember learning about the Black footed ferret being found again in Meeteetse, Wyoming and the first program for reintroduction in Shirley Basin. What a victory it is to be able to show the public that a program like this can be successful and also in my own life. A testimony to reflect upon in remembering to continue to support local and global conservation programs. This can also be highlighted in the Arsenal’s rehabilitation story itself, having once been a military installation and toxic waste site now a thriving wildlife refuge close to downtown Denver.

My love of photography started during college when I first went to Africa where my parents had migrated for a time. The diversity of all walks of life caught my attention. At that time I was shooting with a waterproof Pentax point and shoot. After I graduated I moved to Japan to teach English and this cemented my desire to capture what I was experiencing. I upgraded to my first DSLR after an English conversation student of mine – who happened to be a pro-landscape photographer – took me under his wing. This friendship continues to be a blessing and as I was able to return to Africa over the next few years to visit both my parents and the wildlife. I moved to Pasadena, California in September 2015 to enter Fuller Theological Seminary. What a joy it has been to see the plethora of our avian brothers and sisters in the greater L.A. area.

I was surprised to capture this photo of a Great blue Heron eating a rat on February 6, 2016 at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. A day in which the Los Angeles Audubon had graciously opened the reserve for the public. I was shooting with a Canon 7D Mark II with a Tamron 150-600 lens on this day.

Joe Bevins