|Kazakh Girl, Mongolia (She didn't make the cut but I couldn't resist including her)|
Welcome to my eighth annual Monthly Favorites Blog. I might as well call it my year-end exercise in gratitude. Life is so very rich in experiences and people. So, thanks.
Yeah. Atmospherics. Winter light at Southern California Beaches has a magical quality. There’s no summer marine layer (which is not magic), but there’s more to it than that. It’s crystalline. Salted caramel. I wasn’t planning this one, but certainly had a moment there under the San Clemente Pier.
I’ve been to Sycamore Falls in Northern Arizona many times. During each of those visits I thought about how I’d love to see the falls frozen. Conditions seemed about right on the February Sunday when my husband and I visited Brad Dimmock and witnessed the rebirth of the Hetch Hetchy. I convinced him to make a detour and there it was! We had two bits of magic in one day. Blessed, indeed.
We had a heck of a desert bloom this year. I explored some new locations in the Mojave Desert and, thinking I’d photographed plenty of poppies in the Sonoran, I decided to branch out. Primrose (the white flower) and verbena often grow together on sand dunes, and I found some great places out there. In fact, this dune merited a one day round-trip to return and shoot in better light. These were near Parker AZ. The primrose flowers don’t always have those lovely reticulations, but they helped make this image a favorite.
The Grand Canyon by raft. Again. I had a hard time choosing THE favorite from this photographic wonderland. I’ve decided to eschew the iconic shots and show something more intimate. This one evokes the smell and feel of the air on a spring evening. I love the warm-cool color contrast, streaks and splashes, and the hint of gravel in the riverbed.
The Oregon Coast. This trip was partly a workshop with Colleen Miniuk. Again, tough to choose a favorite, but here’s the winner. I remember running down the beach with my gear to get to this spot before the moon was too low. I do love a setting full moon, and long-exposure floaty waves.
A summer sunrise at Watson Lake. This spectacular spot is less than an hour from home, but sometimes its fun to stay in their campground, paddle around in my kayak, and catch the sunrise (5:30 AM-ish) in a leisurely way. I love the backlight on the early summer, bright green cottonwoods and (of course) the sunstar.
Birds. Mostly, it’s my friends who entice me to photograph the flying critters. I had two such golden opportunities in July.
First, I rode around shooting burrowing owls with Greg McKelvey, from his truck. Unfortunately, human development has encroached quite a bit since the last time we did this. Despite the fence, I’m drawn to this guy’s expression, stance, and talons. The background is not bad either – always a struggle with these whimsical birds.
Later, I spent a lovely weekend in the White Mountains with friends Lisa Langel and Kim Gray, learning to shoot hummers in the wild with a studio-like setup. There are a lot of clinkers to sift through before getting to one like this, but the good ones do make me smile. I think this expresses the remarkably aggressive nature of these diminutive birds. We should be glad that they’re not three feet tall.
|Marble Canyon AZ|
This one was christened, by my friend Paul Gill, a “bowbanger.” That’s a rainbow and lightning. There wasn’t much to write home about this monsoon season, except this unforgettable moment in the forest above marble canyon. This is why I camp.
Mongolia. Oh my goodness – this choice was particularly difficult. In the end I decided that this little guy represents the future of the ancient Kazakh tradition of Eagle Hunting. He’s working with a falcon, and will graduate to a golden eagle (much larger) when he’s a bit bigger.
This is my favorite of several spectacular opportunities during an October road trip in Colorado. It was a gray day and all I could think at this spot was that a bit of sunshine would transform the scene. I waited at least an hour and had a very short window of time to shoot. The little crescent of leaves in the pond was just dumb luck.
Guatemala. The second half of the inaugural Through Each Other’s Eyes Guatemala Exchange. I fell in love with this dog on Pacaya Volcano, and she made such a great foreground.
Choosing favorites is always a challenge but made somewhat easier with the passage of a few months. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury for the December pick, but I think this one might stand the test of time. I convinced my husband (up for anything, really) to spend a second night at Lee Flat, In Death Valley National Park. It was snowing and windy and got down to 17 degrees F overnight. The warm light (if not warm air) at sunrise was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. It looks like hope for the new year.
Incidentally, I gave a thought to posting favorites of the decade. Some of my photographer friends have done just that. I tried. Really, those sorts of choices are a bit too much for me. It's apples and Subarus.
All the best to my readers in the new year.