Photo Highlights 2016

Photo Highlights 2016

Another year come and gone already, it seems like just yesterday I was writing about the 2015 Photo Highlights. For me, like many others, 2016 had some great highlights that were overshadowed by sadness and uncertainty. So many creative and influential people had passed this year, famous public figures I admired and close family members. It often made me pause and wonder.

On the creative side, 2016 was a year that saw me finally visit and photograph several locations that have been on my list for many years. New Mexico and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to name a few. Perhaps even more important were a number of events and realizations that had me look back into the roots of my art and photography, resulting in a growing awareness of the direction my photography should take. Several of the images shown below represent the beginnings of this effort.

So without further ado let’s look at some of the Photo Highlights of 2016, and please feel free to vote or comment on your favorites!

Borrego Badlands, California, Photo Highlights 2016Borrego Badlands Cloud  #56801r

My first major trip of the year was a return to the Desert Southwest. Beginning in Anza Borrego Desert State Park of California I met up with my good friend Cyril Albrecht, visiting from Belgium. Although we both had different itineraries we were able to photograph together in a couple of locations, Fonts Point overlooking the Borrego Badlands was one of them. During one evening while waiting for the light I noticed this wonderful cloud formation developing in the opposite direction. I loved the abstract graphic qualities and how the round softness of the cloud contrasted with the harsh desert environment below.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico Photo Highlights 2016White Sands National Monument #57148

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico was one of the new locations I visited this year. Sand dunes are always fun to photograph, and the white gypsum dunes in the monument added an extra level excitement to my visit. The area is wide open for roaming and exploration. Due to the amount of tracks in the sand created by visitors, it was necessary to hike further out for pristine conditions. Although the area is fairly small it is extremely easy to become disoriented and lose the path back to the trailhead. This image is definitely one of my favorites that I brought back. The cool tones, layers, angles, and ripples in the sand created a pleasing composition.

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, Photo Highlights 2016Bisti Badlands New Mexico  #57428r

Another new location was the fabled Bisit/De-Na-Zen Wilderness, or simple Bisti Badlands, of northern New Mexico. Badlands and hoodoos are among my favorite subjects to photograph, and Bisti contains some of the best examples of these whimsical eroded rocks. I stayed there for three days and managed to just scratch the surface of creative possibilities. On the second evening I was treated to some of the most dramatic light I’ve seen in years. On that evening, after finishing photographing my prime subjects I hurriedly scrambled around to locate more compositions. This nearby hoodoo exemplified the oddities of Bisti, and post-processing the image to reflect the harsh alien-like environment added to this feeling.

Marching Men Arches National Park, Photo Highlights 2016Arches National Park  #57869

This image from Arches National Park was made in the Klondike Bluffs area. Although I’ve been to Arches several times before, this remote section of the park was new to me. Klondike Bluffs offers several dramatic arches and lots of red rock pinnacles, in addition to lots of solitude. While the main park attractions were swarming with visitors I enjoyed sharing this beautiful area with just a handful of people. Once again, some wonderful clouds glowing in evening light added to the drama, here balancing the composition with red sandstone pinnacles.

North Gardner Mountain, North Cascades, Photo Highlights 2016North Gardner Mountain, North Cascades Washington  #58051

Back home in the North Cascades, my first backpacking trip of the year yielded this image of an approaching storm over Gardner Mountain. A grueling hike, post-holing through snow and downed trees, led to the summit of Driveway Butte. Although my camp near the top had wonderful vistas, it didn’t really offer the compositions I had hoped for. However, as day broke my fortunes changed as the leading edge of  the storm glowed with light and mirrored the angles of the mountain ridges. I made several photos of this event before sitting down to enjoy the show.

Watkins Glen New York, Photo Highlights 2016Watkins Glen State Park New York  #58452

September marked the beginning of a long anticipated trip with my wife Coleen to New England and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The first new location on this trip was a brief stop at Watkins Glen State Park in New York. Situated in the Finger Lakes region, the main attraction in Watkins Glen is a beautifully sculpted narrow gorge. Only about a mile long with moderate elevation gain, the trail passes numerous pools, waterfalls, and hanging gardens. One of the highlights is this view framed by a stone bridge. Unfortunately, I only had a short morning to explore the photographic possibilities of this gem. Oh well, there is always next time.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia, Photo Highlights 2016Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia  #58903

Nova Scotia was one of the highlights of the trip for me. For many years I’ve wanted to visit and photograph the Atlantic Provinces. The colorful fishing villages and seascapes have a powerful attraction for me. One location was high on my must see list. Peggy’s Cove, is arguably one of the most photographed and visited spots in all of Canada. After spending several days in remote and quiet Cape Bretton Highlands National Park, we were unsettled to be confronted by endless tour busses and crowds of people swarming everywhere! While waiting for evening light and the crowds to thin, we spent a relaxing day picnicking and exploring the nearby granite shoreline.

Photographing sunset at the lighthouse was a bit disappointing due to the lack of clouds. The local weather forecast had predicted rain the next morning adding to our frustration. With a chance the storm may arrive after sunrise we spent an uncomfortable night truck-camping in the parking lot near the lighthouse. The next morning clouds began to move in just at sunrise. Perfect conditions for those extremely rare light shows that starts great and continues to improve over time. I ended up making many images before the clouds finally blocked the sun and everything went grey and rainy.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Photo Highlights 2016Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Maine  #59018

Next on our trip was Acadia National Park. The park, situated on Mount Desert Island, is said to be the most visited national Park east of the Mississippi. We had several instances of good light here, one of these being at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Photographers can’t visit this park without making a photo of this iconic lighthouse. On this evening I was among a sea of tripods. Everyone crowded into a very small space on the edge of the rocks. One photographer told me that it was a low turnout, the previous evening had twice as many photographers!

Cobblestone beach Acadia National Park, Photo Highlights 2016Cobblestone Beach Acadia National Park  #59047

The next morning I planned to make some long exposures at a popular cobblestone beach in the park. Arriving before sunrise, there were several other photographers from the previous evening setup well above the waterline. I, however, wanted to get down to the water’s edge to create a smoky effect of water among the rocks. The wet bowling ball sized boulders were treacherous. Smooth and extremely slippery, I had to carefully plan every step, the effort was worth it though.

Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen, Photo Highlights 2016Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen, Pennsylvania  #59553

The last new location we photographed in 2016 was Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania. This park was only a little out of our way as we travelled back home, but it was worth the detour. I’ve seen many wonderful images come from this park, and like Watkins Glen it really needs time for exploring all the hidden gems in all seasons. The northeastern states were experiencing a drought, so the water flow through the glen was low during my visit. I didn’t mind since there still was an abundance of subject matter to work with. In the image above I utilized a long exposure to create a swirling pattern by the motions of the leaves.

With so many new images and locations added to our files in 2016 selecting the top ten was a very difficult task. There were many images from the SW and New England that I very much wanted to add. To see more from this past year please take a few minutes to check out the New Images Galleries. You can also search images by location or keyword.

Thank you so much for visiting this post, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite image and feedback!

Photo Highlights 2016

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Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57013

On my recent photo trip to the Southwest I made a point of including, among my subjects, sites of Ancestral Puebloans. Several years ago I began visiting and photographing ruins, pictographs, and petroglyphs in the Cedar Mesa region of southern Utah. Finding these sites to be very intriguing and educational I wanted to explore more of them on future trips. On this latest excursion, my first stop was Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in western New Mexico.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57023

Gila Cliff Dwellings, situated in a valley close to the Gila River, was home to the Mogollon people around 1200 AD and was thought to be inhabited until the early 1300’s. Like most of the ancestral ruins on and near the Colorado Plateau, the inhabitants mysteriously decided to abandon their homes and villages near the end of the thirteenth century. Within the boundary of the monument there are many preserved sites, but the main dwellings, which can be visited on a short hike, consisted of around 46 rooms situated among 5 cliff caves. The site can be visited in around an hour but it would be a shame to drive this far without making it a leisurely visit. At the main cliff caves a very knowledgeable ranger is stationed to answer all your questions and explain in detail the history of the Mogollon people.

If you decide to visit the monument be aware that it is a long drive from Siver City New Mexico, the nearest town. The distance is only 44 miles but the road follows a winding up and down route through the mountains, making the time traveled from Silver City around two hours. The monument has some primitive camping available, and there are also a few national forest sites nearby, along with some natural hot springs.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57009

Gila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National Monument #57008

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New Southwest Images

New Southwest Images

White Sands National Monument New Mexico New Southwest ImagesWhite Sands National Monument New Mexico #57137b

All of the new images from my recent Southwest trip are now online and ready for viewing and downloading. A selection of 100 images from a total of over 1000 have been added to my New Images Portfolio. To view even more  from any of the locations listed below you can use our Search feature or contact us for a custom portfolio.

  • States:  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah
  • National Parks and Monuments: Carrizo Plains National Monument CA, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument NM, White Sands National Monument NM, Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM, Guadalupe National Park TX, Chaco Culture National Historical Park NM, Aztec Ruins National Monument NM, Canyon de Chelly National Monument AZ, Hovenweep National Monument UT, Mesa Verde National Park CO, Canyonlands National Park UT, Arches National Park UT
  • State Parks, Recreation Areas, Wilderness Areas: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park CA, Kofa Mountains Wildlife Refuge AZ, Lost Dutchman State Park/Superstition Mountains AZ, Angel Peak Scenic Area NM, Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness NM, Valley Of The Gods Utah

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park wildflowers New Southwest ImagesWildflowers, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California #56856

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Southwest Trip Spring Wildflowers

Southwest Trip Spring Wildflowers

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Southwest Trip Spring WildflowersOrgan Pipe Cactus National Monument Arizona #35416

I’m very excited to announce that on Monday, March 7 I will be leaving for an extended trip to the Southwest. As usual for spring trips, the main subject matter will be centered around desert wildflowers. This tour will encompass many new locations, as well as several others that I have visited in the past. Listed below are the main areas and subjects I will be photographing. It’s a long list, and I’m hoping that 4-5 weeks on the road will enable me to cover everything. However, weather and time constraints force me to forego some subjects.

California:

Carrizo Plain National Monument / Antelope Valley

San Gregorio Pass Wind Farm

Anza Borrego State Park

Algodones Dunes Wilderness

Arizona:

Kofa Mountains

Superstition Mountains

Saguaro National Park

Canyon De Chelly National Monument

New Mexico:

White Sands National Monument

Bisti Badlands

Colorado:

Mesa Verde National Park

Utah:

Cedar Mesa Anasazi ruins sites

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

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