Like many of my photographer friends and colleagues, I find it fun, interesting and informative to review the photographs I made in the past year. In 2014, I concentrated on locations in western North America, with trips to California, British Columbia, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, and of course lots of wandering around Oregon. Here are my personal favorites from the year, in chronological order:
The year started very well for me, leading a private photo workshop in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. The photo above was taken while scouting locations for the morning fly out of snow geese and sandhill cranes a couple of days before the workshop.
Late winter is a great time to visit the Oregon coast, and I especially like the southern coast from Cape Arago down to Brookings. When I arrived at Cape Blanco State Park, it looked like conditions were favorable for a good sunset. Heavy clouds rolled in, however, and while the sun never popped out from under the cloud bank, a beautiful glow appeared briefly in the southwest sky just at dusk.
Three times in the past year I drove from Oregon to Southern California, traveling either to or from via US Highway 395 along the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada. John Muir famously called the Sierras the “Range of Light”, a highly appropriate tag for this incredibly beautiful mountain range. With the fresh dusting of snow and dramatic clouds, I thought a black and white image, à la Ansel Adams, was the right choice for this scene.
The waterfalls and wildflowers of the Columbia River Gorge offer a wealth of photo ops, most especially in spring when the balsamroot and lupine bloom at Rowena on the Oregon side of the river and the Columbia Hills on the Washington side. Somewhat ironically, while I lamented in another blog post that I didn’t get the photo I’d planned for during this trip, this image was recently licensed for a full-page magazine ad.
In May I joined friend, publisher and photographer Laurent Martrès in Vancouver, BC, specifically to photograph the Laburnum trees, aka Golden Chain trees, at VanDusen Botanical Garden. This landscaped tree tunnel is a visual (and aromatic) sensory overload. The vibrant color in this image is not the result of pushing the Saturation slider in processing – the yellow of the blossoms is almost unbelievably intense.
The Metolius River is a favorite vacation destination for many Oregonians, and is especially renown among fly fishing enthusiasts. A couple of years ago I received a request for a photo of the river from a friend who visits repeatedly and finds relaxation and spiritual renewal on the banks of the river. After a couple days of hiking and driving up and down the river, I found this view near Camp Sherman, and I think it illustrates well what is so special about the Metolius.
One of the highlights of 2014 for me was hiking, camping and just hanging out for several days in the Oregon Cascades with photographers Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring. For most of the trip the weather wasn’t all that great, and in fact we got drenched twice hiking on the Canyon Creek Meadows trail. But after one of those rainstorms we were treated to a beautiful and long-lasting rainbow, and one evening while at the Ray Atkeson Memorial on Sparks Lake we witnessed a truly spectacular show of clouds over Broken Top and South Sister.
Waldo Lake is the second largest and the second deepest freshwater lake in Oregon, and its water is among the clearest and purest in the world. The lake and the surrounding forest and wilderness are fabulous for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, mountain biking and just plain relaxing. Located at the crest of the Cascades, it’s often windy at Waldo, with choppy water, but on this day the wind calmed and glorious clouds formed just at sunset. What more could a photographer ask for?
Fall color and waterfalls just seem to go together naturally in the Pacific Northwest. Silver Falls State Park and the Columbia Gorge are the most popular locations for this combination, but there are several really nice waterfalls in the Coast Range. An easy hike on the Kentucky Falls Trail leads through fantastic old-growth forest to three very photogenic waterfalls, with the bonus of a variety of mushrooms lining the way.
My last trip of 2014 was another jaunt to San Diego, during which I wandered even more than usual. Since I’d already done the US 395 route along the Sierras twice in the previous nine months and was planning to return to Oregon that way, I opted for US Highway 95 in Nevada on the way south. Between Reno and Beatty I enjoyed the particular beauty of stark Basin and Range country under stormy skies, and had fun exploring the mining days ghost towns of Goldfield, Gold Point, Candelaria and Rhyolite. I had dim weather in Death Valley, a pretty nice dawn in Mojave National Preserve, and then a spectacular sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park.
Okay, there’s my Top Ten for 2014. Some were easy choices, and there are certainly a quite few more that were considered. Perhaps the best thing about putting this post together is the reminder that I am very, very fortunate and truly blessed to have been to these places, seen these sights, hiked many miles of trails, wandered many miles of roads and delighted in the wonders and glory of nature.
Interested in purchasing any of these photographs? Photographic prints and canvas gallery wraps of these images are available by clicking the link for this gallery at FineArtAmerica. Editorial and commercial licenses and personal use downloads are available through my website at 2014 Favorite Photos.
Note: you can view a larger version of each of these photos by clicking on the photos above, or by visiting my website and going to the 2014 Favorite Photos gallery.
UPDATE: I missed the deadline for including this post in Jim Goldstein’s annual “Best Photos of 2014 by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers”, but I encourage you to check out the amazing selection there. If you have a 2014 “Best Of” gallery of your own images, I invite you to include a link in the Comments below.
And, of course, sharing with your friends is most welcomed – just clicked on one these links: