|A Very Good Year|
Welcome to the sixth annual year-end monthly favorites blog. Editing our own work is a great exercise for photographers, and like most exercise, is a bit painful.
In the process, I find gratitude.
It rained in Death Valley, more than a little, last winter. Weather Underground shows 2 1/3 inches over the three months, and I think my friends and I got most of that during a January trip. It was chilly (Chuck’s Whiskey helped) and we spent a fair amount of time waiting for the gloom to clear. On my last morning, we braved the assault of the wind to find reflections in standing water on the Badwater Salt Flats, a rare and lovely sight.
Guatemala. Our enthusiastic guide told us to wait a little while longer. It was late, and we were tired of sitting still. Then Vulcan Fuego erupted for us. Once. This is a 25 second exposure and I’m rather glad I got it right, as the show was over that quickly. There are tons of images of schoolkids (the real reason we go) which I love, but I thought you might enjoy a different kind of image and a different emotion.
Lucky me. I won this trip in a charity raffle; I’ve always wanted to see Charleston and Savannah. This one has a certain elegance, and I stumbled on this spot, despite all the meticulous planning I did for the adventure. I find it foreboding, yet it beckons me in.
Quiet time on my own, shooting the jagged mountains and cactus bloom in Kofa National Wildlife Preserve. This one is admittedly a novelty. It makes me smile, though. This, the first time I played with the glass sphere, was the day I learned that focused sunlight is hot. Very hot. Ouch.
My first trip to the area which had just been designated Bears Ears National Monument. I’d tacked on a few days after the Moab Photo Symposium with a friend. We did a superficial tour of the area, which included Muley Point, the vantage Point for this image. There’s so much more to see. That’s the San Juan River in the foreground and Monument Valley further away. Then we drove back to our hotel and I nearly hit a black cow in the dark. One of many hazards of outdoor photography.
Incidentally, we were at House on Fire, a famous Anasazi ruin in the area, on the same day the Secretary of the Interior was scheduled to visit. Apparently the need to preserve these precious places did not impress him, as the Monument has been recently decreased in size by 85%. Stay tuned, though, these changes are likely to be held up in court for some time.
A selfie. Does that make me a narcissist?
Cape Final is a fairly easy trail on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Once each season I pull a backcountry permit and spend the night out there. The Park Service only issues a permit for one party per night and I am the party. What a lovely spot to be alone. This was the first time I used my camera’s smartphone remote control app. I had a lot of fun with it, and appreciated not having to run back and forth in under 10 seconds.
Home sweet Home.
San Clemente, where I grew up, has what’s called Ocean Festival each July. It’s fun but loud and busy. I appreciated a little stroll when it was all over, Monday at dawn. This one triggers all my senses; cold sand, the salt smell, and the marine layer retreating from the green ocean.
White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. This was part of a trip with friends, old and new. I felt rather decadent being driven and cooked for by Dreamland Tours. Usually I do all that myself. WP is delightfully weird, and I’m sure I’ll never tire of the place.
This is fun; essentially the same stretch of forest road in August and September. I love autumn and the magic of changing seasons in general. I appreciate the way the August image includes a puddle with reflections. It was a delightfully wet monsoon week for me.
Dog Point, Kaibab National Forest. Sunrise backlight, Marble Canyon, Navajo Mountain.
Alstrom Point, High above Lake Powell. This was what passed for Thanksgiving for my husband, dog, and me this year. The light had been mostly underwhelming until our last morning. This, though, made me smile.
There were some mishaps on this trip to Death Valley, but it remains a joy to be in one of my favorite places. This image is made up of manually-blended shots because it was not possible to keep all four dunes in focus at 175mm focal length. The subtle morning light captivated me, and still does.
Thanks for coming along for the ride this year. Stay tuned for the new adventures.