In Memorial…

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro__1/3 sec at f / 32
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__EF50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro__1/3 sec at f / 32

On Monday, not long after the snowstorm had cleared off, I heard a loud crashing noise outside my house.  Both my 8 year old son and I were alarmed and so we looked out the front door where we thought the sound had come.  We saw nothing at first.  On occasion, we have quail fly into a window.  Searching further, we looked out a narrow window in my living room, we saw a sad site.  A Cooper’s hawk lay on the ground, twitching in its last moments before dying.

As a memorial to this beautiful creature, I made this photograph of its wing feathers.  The late afternoon sun backlit the feather patterns.  I did not want this life to pass without a tribute to its elegance.


Published by William Neill

William Neill, a resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a landscape photographer concerned with conveying the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and feels in Nature. Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill received a BA degree in Environmental Conservation at the University of Colorado. In 1995, Neill received the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Neill's assignment and published credits include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, Outdoor Photographer and Communication Arts, from whom he has also received five Awards of Excellence. His corporate clients have included Sony Japan, Bayer Corporation, Canon USA, Nike, Nikon, The Nature Company, Hewlett Packard, 3M, Freidrick Grohe, Neutrogena, Sony Music/Classical, University of Cincinnati, UBS Global Asset Management. His work was chosen to illustrate two special edition books published by The Nature Company, Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder and John Fowles's The Tree. His photographs were also published in a three book series on the art and science of natural process in collaboration with the Exploratorium Museum of San Francisco: By Nature's Design (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1993), The Color of Nature (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1996) and Traces of Time (Chronicle Books / Exploratorium, Fall 2000). A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness (Yosemite Association, 1994) which received The Director's Award from the National Park Service. A retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1997) relates his beliefs in the healing power of nature. William has taught photography since 1980 for such prestigious organizations as The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Friends of Photography, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, The Maine Workshops and Anderson Ranch Workshops. He specializes in landscape and nature photography and is concerned with conveying the beauty seen in Nature. Currently, he teaches online courses for and One-on-One Workshops in his home studio near Yosemite National Park.

9 replies on “In Memorial…”

  1. Two things that amaze me is how nature creates these wonderful patterns. Weather they are fern fronds, hillsides or feathers these patterns are infinite. The other, is how we can interpret and capture these forms through photography. This a great example of that, a memorial indeed!

  2. Great image, Bill. The abstract quality made me think first of the American flag, then of sand dunes. Not until I read your description did I see that they were feathers. Fine tribute to a beautiful raptor.

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