Readers' animal photos show Valley as a fantastic place to live | Slideshow

The Snoqualmie Valley Record's staff judges seem to have preferred our feathered friends in the first Animals photo contest.

It can be tough to see evocative feelings in birds, as opposed to furry companions like dogs and cats, or our lively four-footed wildlife, such as Valley elk.

Yet first-place winner Pat McMartin of North Bend seems to have captured a universal feeling—facing a rainy day with spirit—in the shot of a fluffed-up, shiny bird in front of the home bird feeder, last November.

McMartin, who lives near Rattlesnake Lake, has a quasi-bird sanctuary in his front yard. He watched this young Brewer’s blackbird show up in the rain, feathers poofed, colors highlighted. The bird’s expression brightened Pat’s day.

Prior to retirement, McMartin was in law enforcement.

“The better the pictures, better evidence,” he told the Record. “Pictures should invite stories and in a lot of cases, fantasy. Good pictures bring better memories and sharing photos is always an ice breaker.”

Local wildlife, he says, is incredible. He goes out several times a week in different places, just to view what’s out that day—elk, deer, bears, birds or the landscape.

“The wildlife is a sign of a fantastic area to live.”

McMartin picks up a hands-on mentoring session with Valley professional photographer Mary Miller.

Garrett Meyers snapped a shot of a family of baby ducks. At the center, a duckling seems to be laughing.

“There was this mother duck just sitting on a rock in the lake, and underneath her was about 15 little ducklings,” recalled Meyers. “The ducklings were all slowly falling asleep, and falling over one another, one little duckling kinda fell off the rock into the water, he quickly shot out of the cold water and shook off, then quickly ran back up to the warmth of his mother.”

Meyers was inspired by his mom to take the photo.

“If it weren’t for her, I would have been too wrapped up in the moment, and completely forgotten to grab my camera,” he said.

Meyers likes photography for the way it can portray a story with a single image.

“Wildlife adds just that much more to the Valley,” he said. “Waking up in the morning and being able to see 200 elk in your front yard is just awesome.”

Puffing out its feathers on a rainy day, this brightly-colored Brewer’s blackbird brightened first-place photographer Pat McMartin’s day.

Garrett Meyers took this photo of a duckling smiling for the camera.

This dignified Dachshund was submitted by Mary Freeman.


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