2013 Photo Highlights
It’s time once again for all of us to look back on the past year and review our accomplishments and mistakes, in hopes that we will learn from them and experience personal growth in the coming year. Like most of you my family and I had our ups and downs, but on the whole 2013 was a better year than many in the recent past, and we’re looking forward to a year of fresh open horizons. The ten images below represent some of the best and most memorable experiences I had behind the camera while on the road and trail in 2013. Many of you that follow me here and on Social Media will recognize some of them, but there are a few that have not been posted anywhere before.
I would appreciate it if you could vote for your favorites in the comment box and share this post with your friends. Thanks to all my friends colleagues and loyal clients for making 2013 a successful year. Happy New Year with the best of health and prosperity for you and your families in 2013!
North Cascades Evening Haze And Coast Mountains #53273
This image was made during a three day outing into the Mount Baker Wilderness in the North Cascades. As the sun dipped below the horizon the hazy moisture in the valleys accentuated the layered effect of the overlapping ridges.
Clearing Storm Over Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Dakota #52476
This image was made on a summer morning in June after a thunder storm had passed over. It may have been the best display of dramatic light I’ve come across in over 25 years of photographing landscapes. I wasn’t even aware of the lightening strike, visible on the left until I was back in the office processing files from the trip.
Skagit Valley Tulip Fields Washington #50876
Back in April I made several trips to one of the Northwest’s iconic spring locations, the Skagit Valley Tulip Fields. Most of the days were either dreary with clouds and rain or breezy and clear, not the best conditions for photographing this subject. However on one morning the weather service predicted widespread fog, this was my cue to make a fast drive down from Bellingham to get there in time for sunrise. As I arrived the fog was rapidly thinning and it seemed it would all be for naught, but fortunately a perfectly thin layer held and provided a wonderful diffusion. This is one of several photos I managed to make before it all burned off.
Wildflowers at Sunrise, Grand Teton National Park #52086
Another instance where I experienced some phenomenal light was on this morning in Grand Teton National Park. Awaking very early to get to this particular location I could see in the pre-dawn glow that it was going to be an exceptional sunrise. The challenge for photographing this dramatic scene was somehow dealing with the constant breeze that kept the flowers moving. I don’t care to use many of the currently popular focus and exposure blending techniques or the resultant noise from pushing the iso higher, so I opted instead to make many exposures and patiently wait for a split second of calm.
Waterfowl Lake, Banff National Park Alberta Canada #53424
In late September I traveled back to one of my favorite mountain ranges, the Canadian Rockies. With plans to backpack into several locations over three weeks I was looking forward to coming back with lots exceptional fall images. However the weather had different plans in mind for me, pinning me down in the low country where the color had yet to change. As someone accustomed to adapting I did manage to take advantage of the conditions to make some photos with a more gritty look.
Green Fields of Wheat in the Palouse of Eastern Washington #51646
Another iconic Washington location is the Palouse wheat growing region. Every year photographers from around the world flock to this area to test their skills, on their own or in workshops, on the gently rolling hills of young verdant wheat. Crisscrossed by a maze of backroads the Palouse has a seemingly infinite array of subject matter to offer for both the beginner and seasoned pro. In 2014 I hope to be able to find time to return in late July for the harvest of the “amber waves of grain”.
Sunset over Bighorn Canyon Montana #52263
Bighorn Canyon National Monument in Southeast Montana is one of those little known quiet spots. Off the beaten track it isn’t a convenient stopover on the way to big parks like Yellowstone or Grand Teton, and the view of from Devils Canyon Overlook, picture above, is the main attraction. However there are many historic ranches and Native American sites to fill in you visit to this special place.
White Dome Geyser, Yellowstone National Park #51995
One can hardly travel through Wyoming without a visit to Yellowstone National Park. I planned to try and make some new images of the geothermal features that fascinate me to no end. After positioning myself at the Great Fountain Geyser it became apparent that the setting sun would break through the clouds and provide some nice light. However even though the geyser was scheduled to erupt nothing was happening, so I took the opportunity to run over to nearby White Dome Geyser where the evening light was glowing nicely on the travertine formation.
Summer Storm over Mount Shuksan, North Cascades Washington #53212
Another iconic mountain of the Northwest is Mount Shuksan, often said to be the most photographed mountain in the country. I made this image during a three day backpack into the Mount Baker Wilderness of the North Cascades, with my main goal being to photograph the abundant wildflowers along the ridge. After setting up camp it looked like some storm clouds where moving north into the mountains of Canada, too far away to be of any use from my location. Later after scouting the ridge for good groups of flowers I was astonished and thrilled to see that the storm had slipped south. The clouds had positioned themselves perfectly behind Mount Shuksan and began to glow in the setting sun. A truly magical moment that I am rarely treated to.
Birkenhead River in Winter, Coast Range British Columbia #50514
Back in January the first outing of 2013 took me to the Coast Mountains of British Columbia for a backcountry ski tour to the Wendy Thompson Hut in Marriott Basin. On the drive back I came across this scene along the Birkenhead River. This section of river was in constant winter shade from the nearby mountains, nights of clear cold weather had caused frost to grow on the trees and ice shelves along the river creating this delicate winter scene.