It was one of those rare white-knuckle experiences as our plane suddenly pulled up from what felt like a normal landing. It was our final approach into Sitka, Alaska where we were to embark on a “bucket list” adventure. Fog and cloud cover prevented a line-of-sight landing on our Captain’s first attempt, but he informed us he had fuel enough for a couple more tries. I can’t say that comforted my wife and me any or increased the blood flow in our knuckles as we held tight to our armrests. . . We also wondered if fog and cloud cover would follow us during our Alaska adventure over the course of next week.
Driving into Death Valley National Park along California Highway 190, you certainly understand how Death Valley got its name. The brown barren desert landscape is all you can see for miles around. We were headed for “The Ranch at Death Valley”, a self-described casual hotel that would be our home base for the next 6 days. The Ranch turned out to be a convenient centrally located lodge to access the Valley’s most remarkable places to visit. We were excited to finally explore one of the few major National Parks we have never experienced, but we were not at all prepared for the landscape vistas and diversity we were about to encounter.
It is my tradition to pick my favorite images of the year and tell the stories behind them. Reviewing all my photos from the year is always fun. The exercise provides insight on where I have been, the people I have met, and gives me some ideas for resolutions in the new year. I get to relive the experiences and special moments all over again, and I learn a lot. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys photography. You will find the difficult part is selecting only 10 favorites. I spent almost another full year socially distanced at home but managed to enjoy some travel to National Parks at year end. Several of my favorite photos came from these travels, and a few from right around my hometown.
So once again, here are my top ten favorite images of 2021 and the stories behind them.
It was just before sunrise when we drove up to the Fall River Entrance Station of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was one of those crisp Colorado mornings, the dry cool air was so refreshing that we decided to leave the car window open as we headed to Bear Lake Road for our first hike since we arrived in nearby Estes Park, CO.
We stepped from the park path down onto the beach and I thought I just might have stumbled into a scene from the Twilight Zone. The beach scattered with massive driftwood trees resembled images of a pre-historic graveyard. My wife and I looked at each other and almost in unison said, “now we know how this place got its name”. We were at Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island, a closely kept secret beach on Florida’s East Coast, just Northeast of Jacksonville.
I could feel my excitement growing as the train slowed to a stop in Chiusi, our gateway to exploring the Tuscany region of Italy. We had just spent a few hours on a very comfortable Italian train originating from Venice so we were ready to begin our Tuscany adventure. There is no place on earth like Tuscany. Beautiful medieval towns, rolling hill landscapes, art, delicious food, and some of the best wine in the world. We were anxious to get going on our adventure.
As my wife and I stepped off the shuttle bus dockside at the historic port of Piraeus, Greece, we were amazed to see her rich mahogany woodwork, and gleaming brass. We had read about the legendary Sea Cloud sailing ship but after seeing her for the first time we felt we were about to step back into history. Our early September 7-day sailing adventure was about to begin. . . Exploring the Greek Cyclades Islands aboard the historic square-rigger. As we boarded this magnificent ship, we were greeted by our expedition director and his staff from National Geographic and the ship’s capable crew.
Happy New Year. I hope your 2018 was filled with joy and happiness.
Every year I really enjoy reliving the past year through my photos. I find the process of selecting my favorite 10 from the previous year enlightening. 2018 was filled with travels to new places and many new experiences. One thing about photography that few people talk about is that you get to relive those experiences again and again. Many years ago, we put our favorite photos in family albums, so it was easy to relive those special moments. Today, it takes a little effort. Far too often our digital images are buried away in one of many disk drives. May I suggest you go find your 2018 photos. Take the time to select your favorite 10. Reflect on why they are your favorite. You will learn so much about where you have been and just maybe a little insight into where you are going.
So once again… in no particular order, here are my favorite images of 2018 and the stories behind them.
Peggy’s Point Lighthouse – Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
As we turned off Hwy 333 on to Peggy’s Point Road, we were astonished to see such a quaint little fishing village that seemed to be frozen in time. Peggy’s Cove is certainly one of those bucket list destinations where you feel what life is like for the hard-working fishing families of Nova Scotia, Canada.Continue reading →
I hope your 2017 was happy, healthy, and filled with remarkable photos.
Every new year I find selecting my favorite images from the past 12 months very enlightening. It is a great way to relive those special times and places you experienced, and the exercise helps me learn a few things about my work too. There are always a few photos to be proud of that were selected for ribbons or publication. But I find the process of selection helps me realize what I can do to improve my life, and my photography in the new year. Continue reading →