It's that time of year again. Time to look back at the year that was, the places we visited and things we have seen. Best of lists and Top Tens full of nostalgia and memories. I'll give you my favorites, but I'll cheat a little. So instead of ten I'll give you 19 of my favorite (not necessarily my best) images from the past year. I know it's always a dangerous to ask a photographer their favorites (and trust me, a photographer's favorites are never the most popular with their clients), but it's fun to go back and look at a year in photographs. See what I was up to. What challenges I was working through and see the results of the places where I chose to be. So without further adieu let the countdown begin!
19. Be Good to the Earth (The Wisest Trashcan I Have Ever Seen), Seward, Alaska. July 17, 2019
Canon 5DS R, Canon 70-200 II @ 70mm, f/2.8 @ 1/3200 sec. ISO 200
This trashcan was right outside my campsite in Seward, AK where I camped for several nights while exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. I just love the message: Be Good to the Earth. The opposite side said: "Be Good to People". And a third side read: Go places. Have Fun. Be Nice. I mean, really. The wisest trashcan ever. Now, to go back to the message depicted in the photograph-- Be Good to the Earth. This was especially poignant as much of my Alaska trip was made in record heat and smoke from no fewer than 8 major fires all across the state. I spent smokey days in Katmai, baking from the days spent under the midnight sun. So yeh, be good to the earth. Protect her. Limit our carbon footprint. Make a positive change and accept our responsibility and influence. Seek out ways that we can help to lower the earth's temperature and reverse the worrying trend of climate change.
18. Peering Into the Night Sky, Hanalei Bay, Kauai. August 30, 2019
Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 III @ 16mm, f/2.8 @ 30 sec. ISO 2000
I try for one night sky photograph a summer. And in 2019 I got clouded out on my first attempts in June. I was traveling in July so that left the days before and after the new moon in August as my last real chance for a starry night photograph. Luckily, clear skies welcomed the new moon in late August and I was able to take this photograph at Hanalei Bay. I painted the pier with light with my headlamp, and might have upset some fishermen while doing so. Because they decided to shine their lights back towards me. This is what that looked like...
After this happened I decided to pack it up and go home. It was late anyway (about 1:30 AM) and I was getting sleepy.
17. Sky Burn in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park Alaska. July 7, 2019
Canon 5DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 16mm, f/13 @ 2.5 sec. ISO 100
This photograph was taken about 10 feet from my tent, which was set up just below this sand dune in between to streams of icy cold snowmelt. I hiked into the valley on the hottest day in Alaska's recorded weather history. I swear it was 90 in the shade and 100 in the sun. Easily. I photographed from 4 AM to 6:30 or 7 AM then ate breakfast and hid in the tent from the unrelenting sun and smoke. It was definitely a backpack that I wouldn't want to repeat, but a location that I would like to revisit. Maybe in the fall, perhaps? It would be nice to see these mountains again and hear the soft thud of boot falling into the ash of the valley. Nostalgia. It's a dangerous thing.
16. Meadow and Patch of Snow, Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, July 19, 2019.
Canon 5DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 20mm, f/6.3 @ 1/400 sec. ISO 200
I like the green. I like the pink fireweed. I like the rolling slope of the mountain. And the little patch of snow to remind me of the elevation and the northern clime. This is Alaska in the summer. Colorful, verdant, wild, full of adventure, and ready to be explored.
15. Shangri- La, Tunnels Beach, Kauai, August 8, 2019
Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 @ 16mm, f/5.6 @ 1/800 sec. ISO 100, SPL Waterhousing
Another pretty blue and green one. This is pure Kauai magic at its best. One reason this one made my list of favorites is because I imagined this shot before I bought my SPL water housing and I was able to make it happen after a summer of swimming around the Kauai surf. I call this one Shangri-La because of the supernatural nature of Makana seemingly floating above the ocean. I like, too, how the sky and ocean share the same blue, the same cooling, inviting hue. Yes, I'm happy to have this in the collection. And blessed to have the health to make an image like this one happen.
14. Pastels and Granite, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, October 17, 2019
Canon 5 DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 28mm, f/16 @ 8 sec. ISO 100
Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places that I have been. The granite walls tower above the surrounding trails, with Half Dome and El Capitan commanding your view at the South and North ends of the Valley. This photograph was taken on top of Sentinel Dome and looks toward Half Dome and "Little Yosemite Valley" towards the Tioga Road and Bishop in the far, far distance. This is the scene at dusk. I also hiked up here for sunrise on the same day, but found the light at dusk to softer and more manageable. I like how the soft pastels of the sky and clouds contrast with the hard granite that Yosemite is known for. Yes, Yosemite is one of the prettiest places on Earth.
Part 2 coming soon....