A long-tailed duck. Credit: Courtesy of Dave Small

Dave Small bought his first 35-millimeter camera when he was 16 years old.

The former paperboy for the Bangor Daily News remembers being eager to try putting his photography skills to use.

“The first thing I did with it was head down to the News, and I saw Jack Loftus and Carroll Hall and asked them if I could be a Bangor Daily News photographer,” said Small, who joked that the BDN photographers escorted him out of the building but did provide some encouragement.

From left to right: An American bald eagle; Red crossbill; Dave Small photographed this natural ice formation on Birch Stream. Credit: Courtesy of Dave Small

Small later did work at the BDN, not as a photographer but in the business office. All along, he continued to pursue his passion for taking photos.

Small’s photos have been used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Natural Resources Council of Maine, among others. And he has provided the photos free of charge.

“I’m not a National Geographic photographer. I enjoy what I do as a hobby gone crazy,” Small said. “People can use it for the advancement of conservation and wildlife. That’s what I want to do.”

He has even had two of his photos published in The New Yorker magazine — in advertisements for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Credit: Courtesy of Dave Small

So, it’s altogether possible you may have seen some of Small’s outstanding work in the past. If not, we’re going to give you that opportunity starting today.

Small shares many of his photos through a regular compilation he calls “NatureShots.” In each one, he includes several of his favorite captures from places across the region and even his backyard.

He has learned a great deal over the years about some of the most advantageous places and times for potentially capturing beautiful photos. Even so, Small said it is the unexpected ones with which he is often most pleased. Thus, he is always ready to grab his camera and get a quick shot.

“When you’re shooting wildlife or with outdoor photography, there is no closed season and there’s no bag limit,” Small said. “You can shoot whatever you can catch.”

A red squirrel. Credit: Courtesy of Dave Small

Recently, Small has been putting together some photo compilations from his efforts last year. The work we’re sharing today comes from February 2022.

“I always enjoy seeing the crossbills and grosbeaks arrive during our winter seasons,” Small said. “And the long-tailed duck with a head-on stare is one of my favorites. Sometimes I can’t help anthropomorphizing the wild critters that I photograph.”

Our great appreciation to Dave Small for his willingness to share some of his “NatureShots” with Bangor Daily News readers.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...