As 2014 draws down to it's final day, I'm reminded that it is time to write this once yearly article and share my favorite images from the last 12 months. All credit actually must go to Jim Goldstein, who for the past eight years has curated his now famous and highly anticipated Best Photos project. Every year Jim invites photographers from around the world to look back at their year, reflect on their images and agonizingly select just a few that feel significant. Over 300 photographers contributed last year alone. The 2014 edition will come out the week after New Years and the previous seven editions of The Best Of articles are always available on Jim's blog.
It is a great tradition on many levels. Looking back at one's work over an entire year is a valuable exercise for a photographer. It is a challenge to look through hundreds, or thousands, of images and decide which ones call out for a closer look, remind us of memorable moments, mark milestones or communicate something that will impact others. Being included in Jim's list is also a fun way to participate in the photographic community, contribute to the growing interest in photography as an art form and connect with other like minded people who share a passion for outdoor photography. Furthermore, I look forward to spending a good evening, or three, exploring the photography of others who contribute their year's best. Every year I am introduced to compelling imagery by people I wouldn't otherwise know about and I learn from and get inspired by the creativity and adventurous spirit of others.
Without further rambling, I present my favorite photographs (and some short narration to go with them) from 2014. I hope you enjoy and I wish you many life affirming adventures in 2015! Please share which ones you like best, or anything else for that matter, in the comments below. (You can click on images if you would like to view them larger)
I enjoy the warm, saturated light, the symmetry of the rocks and the dynamic water motion in this scene I found just hours after arriving on the Big Island of Hawaii in February.
I was fascinated by the Seussian character of this forest in the Waipio Valley on Hawaii. Intrigued by the shapes, tones and subtle light, I chose to showcase these features and go without color.
The rugged coastline of Southern Oregon is some of the most dramatic on the planet as far as I'm concerned. One evening in March, after many previous visits to this spot, David Cobb and I were treated to a sunset that helped convey its beauty in a photograph. I particularly like the tree on the headland in the distance.
Lunar Eclipse Revisited
In 2007 I first photographed a lunar eclipse over Mt. Shasta. Since then my technique and equipment have improved but I had been waiting for a chance to revisit the theme. My opportunity finally came in April, with a total lunar eclipse on a cloudless night.
Now Comes Spring
Lupine may be my favorite flower on the earth so this meadow took my breath away. When I saw the sun sinking through a layer of thin clouds I knew the conditions for photographing the lupine with back light would be optimal. Their slender height makes them very challenging to photograph since the slightest breeze sets them swaying.
The Gift Tree
My favorite rhododendron in my favorite redwood grove. Myself and others have photographed it many times, but one evening in May all the elements for magic came together: flowers, light fog and soft, warm light from the setting sun.
Slovenia is perhaps the most picturesque small country I have visited, with craggy Alps, lakes, medieval villages, castles, church spires, waterfalls, canyons and enchanted forests. My childhood storybook vision played out in front of my camera one morning at Lake Bled.
Piran is a classic walled village on Slovenia's coast. At night, light, shadow, color, setting and mood all play together. Through my camera I was transported to a past time.
Zack Schnepf and I were constantly on the job in Colorado during the fall this year. Out of all the memorable scenes we photographed on that trip, this sunset storm light in the Gothic Valley near Crested Butte stands out.
Aspen trees, in addition to having brilliant fall color, have a cartoonish, human quality. To me this grove looked like a group of old friends getting together.
Another spectacular light show in the mountains of Colorado. The quality of light combined with the dramatic peaks, dusting of snow and yellow aspen made this one of the best outdoor visual experiences I had all year.