I’m back. If you’re not fatigued with all the end-of-year lists, I hope you enjoy this, an annual look at the hard-chosen “favorite” image from each month of this year. With gratitude…
It was a cold, stormy camping trip at Lake Pleasant Regional
(County) Park in Peoria. I was with some
friends and moving a little slowly because of the damp weather. On my way home I
decided to hike up the Yavapai Trail in the dark to catch sunrise. Oddly, my friends declined to join me. Its feast or famine after a storm; sometimes
the sky is completely socked in. These
colors felt like a banquet. Bob Brandon,
a local painter, liked this enough to create his interpretation of the
scene. That was fun, too.
You can’t win if you don’t play.
From a shoot at Organ
Pipe National Monument, for a “Drive of the Month” feature in Arizona
Highways Magazine. This is one of the
images published, and my favorite from the shoot. I made multiple circles around the Ajo
Mountain Loop, shooting at different times of day. Having a specific goal is inspiring.
Rise to the challenge.
There are these dunes in the Mojave Desert that I don’t want
to spread the word about. I started
going 3 seasons ago (“seasons” because I’m not that person who loves desert
camping in the summer), and I’ve hardly ever seen another human or footprints
thereof. I can “feel” sunrise looking at this image and can’t wait to go
back. I respectfully request your
indulgence of my secrecy.
This is my first effort at camera trapping, with the
assistance of Ron Niebrugge at his Desert
Photo Retreat in Marana Arizona.
This is a hooded skunk who was kind enough to take a drink at just the
right moment. The experience was really
fun, especially shared with my good friend Kim.
And I slept one night in a hammock. We’re going back this spring.
Try something new.
didn’t get out much in May but did play around quite a bit with tabletop photography indoors. My dad stole the cough
syrup bottle from a Prescott area mine in the 1960s. Its not the best image I ever made, but its
fun and a bit sentimental.
They don’t all have to be works of art.
There were some great sunrise and sunset shots at the Grand
Canyon this year. I had a hard time
choosing. This is from a solo
trip to the south rim. I camped at
Desert View Campground. There was smoke
everywhere, which can be disturbing and unhealthful but can also make for nice
images as the light bounces off particulates in the air. These layers of ridges are a classic view
from the eastern rim, and I love the crepuscular rays. They remind me of the Arizona
There’s good in (almost) everything.
My husband and I seem to have created a new tradition,
spending some time in the Summer
in Park City Utah. There’s hiking, fishing, and my favorite thrift
store. Days are long up there in July,
so dragging myself out in the evening for twilight photography is an
effort. I was after a wider shot of
sunset over Park City, which I also got, but this telephoto-compressed twilight image of
the town captivates me, power lines and all.
Just do it.
What a nice,
rainy monsoon we had this year; enough for a sort of second spring. These Arizona poppies (not closely related to
the ones we’re used to seeing in the desert in March) came up just a few miles
from home. I had a great photo tip from
some local friends, timed just right for this field’s peak bloom.
Accept help, from whatever source.
Overnight temperatures in the meadows of the North
Rim (Kaibab) Forest can get pretty low in the autumn. Some mysterious combination of conditions
created the delicate ice crystals on this dandelion head, which stopped me in
I’ve made a rule for myself for these “best of” posts that I can fudge once with an extra image. Here’s my fudge. Backlight on Gypsy the Wonder Dog in the Kaibab Forest. This one warms my heart.
Who makes the rules, anyway?
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This was my first trip, part of a large
all-woman workshop group. Sunset, glow, backlight. This park is so busy that you’re hardly ever
alone, and the trick is to convey a feeling (like solitude or peace) even when
you don’t feel it.
It doesn’t have to be literal.
Yup, still in the Smokies.
After the workshop, I spent a few more days with a friend for a quieter
experience. We were headed toward what we thought would be photogenic and
pulled over for this, which turned out to be much better. I did have to wait for the traffic to clear
to make the shot, though.
The best-laid plans...
This image comes from the new Raven
van’s first long road trip, through California. It was made in Sonoma County, where I was
guided by the masterful Jerry Dodrill. I
love the clouds, color, reflection, and light on the foreground rocks. That’s all expected. The surprise is that I like the lens flare
(the scattering of hexagons), which I’m more often struggling to avoid.
Embrace the imperfections.