Photographer Middleton Evans '86 first became fascinated with birds while working on Maryland's Great Outdoors, a coffee-table book published in 1996 that captures vibrant scenes of culture and nature from Evans' home state. In the spring of 1998, as he prepared to start a second book on Maryland, Evans took a birding vacation in Florida. What he saw on that trip—a great blue heron clasping a live muskrat in its beak, a pair of mating black-necked stilts, an elusive least bittern in Wakodahatchee Wetlands—gave him the idea for what would become Rhapsody in Blue: A Celebration of North American Waterbirds.
Using revenue from sales of his books and stock photography, Evans spent five years traveling the North American coast, photographing more than 150 species. Rhapsody in Blue, published in 2007 by Ravenwood Press, features hundreds of photographs, as well as notes about how Evans got the shots and the equipment he used.