Below, you will find some photographs that I like from 2018 (I wouldn’t call them favorites yet as many of the photos that I think might end up as favorites from this year still remain unprocessed). This year, our time spent in natural and wild places started in Death Valley National Park and also included an extended visit to some lesser-known locations in Utah, a few weeks around Moab, a lot of summer hiking in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, a visit to the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver Island, Mount Rainier National Park, and Craters of the Moon National Monument on the way home), fall colors in Colorado and Zion National Park, and another trip back to Death Valley. With these travels, I am getting closer to having robust photo portfolios of Death Valley, Zion, and Colorado fall colors, each of which I hope to fully share in 2019.
Beyond a lot of wonderful time spent outside, this year felt quietly consequential for my photography. For almost ten years, nature photography has taken up an immense amount of time and space in my mind. When I first picked up a camera, I squeezed photography into tiny slices of time around an intense job and full-time graduate school. Now, years later, my life revolves around nature and photography – the people with whom we spend the most time, the place we choose to live, the places we choose to visit, and how we spend our time outdoors. During all these years with this pursuit at the core of my life, photography has brought some happiness plus a lot of angst, frustration, and even a bit of despair.
This last year felt like a turning point in which my happiness and satisfaction with photography has for the first time outweighed those other negative emotions. I actually like and feel proud of some of my work. I feel like I am finally on a path that reflects my adoration for and personal interests in the natural world. For the first time, I feel comfortable with who I am becoming as a photographer and feel like I am able to consistently realize my goals through the photos I take. I am also having a lot more fun and caring a lot less about what other people think about my work (see: the selection of photos below, none of which will make much of a ripple on social media). I still find it challenging to process and share my photos, choosing instead to spend my photo time outside taking new photos. Beyond those persistent challenges, it feels good to finally feel like I am making some positive progress on one of the most important things in my life after years of fits and starts.
Thank you for taking the time to look at this selection of photographs and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2019!