A Few Favorite Photos from 2016 (Sarah)

Every year, Jim Goldstein publishes an extensive collection of “best photos of the year” posts from photographers. I always enjoy looking through the entries and finding inspiration from photographers who are new to me. This year, I have been struggling a bit to pull together my own collection of photos to submit for Jim’s blog project. As is my tradition, I am nowhere near finished with processing my photos from this year, which makes it difficult to pull together a collection of favorites. Still, I felt motivated by Jim's submission deadline to pull together this post. 

This post includes only a small collection of the photos I took or processed in 2016. If you would like a see a more complete collection representing our year of travels and photography, you should view Ron’s photos here. He is much better about keeping up with his processing than I am, so his collection includes photos from all of the places we visited this year plus a little update about our travels. 

Since I spent a good portion of 2016 working on my new black and white photography ebook + video course, most of the photos I processed this year are in black and white. Thus, it seems appropriate to start this post with some of my recent black and white photos. You will also see Death Valley National Park well respresented in this collection. We both started and ended 2016 in this park, which is one of our favorite places to visit. 

Thank you for your continued support of our photography! Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017. 

 An incoming storm over large mud tiles in Death Valley National Park. 

An incoming storm over large mud tiles in Death Valley National Park. 

 Patterns in seaweed in a tidal flat on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. 

Patterns in seaweed in a tidal flat on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. 

 The setting sun illuminates these cactus from behind, making them appear to be glowing. Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona, near the Mexican border. 

The setting sun illuminates these cactus from behind, making them appear to be glowing. Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona, near the Mexican border. 

 The last light of the day illuminates a ridge on remote sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. 

The last light of the day illuminates a ridge on remote sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. 

 One of Death Valley National Park's many surreal landscapes. 

One of Death Valley National Park's many surreal landscapes. 

 I took most of these photos in 2015 but assembled them as a collection in 2016, so I am sharing them here. All of these photos were taken in Oregon. 

I took most of these photos in 2015 but assembled them as a collection in 2016, so I am sharing them here. All of these photos were taken in Oregon. 

 A clearing storm allowed a bit of light to peek through and illuminate these colorful mountains in Iceland's remote Landmannalaugar region. 

A clearing storm allowed a bit of light to peek through and illuminate these colorful mountains in Iceland's remote Landmannalaugar region. 

 Pastel badlands at twilight in Death Valley National Park.

Pastel badlands at twilight in Death Valley National Park.

 Iceland's characteristic green mountains reflect in a large lake in the Landmannalaugar region. 

Iceland's characteristic green mountains reflect in a large lake in the Landmannalaugar region. 

 A colorful mix of fall foliage in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. 

A colorful mix of fall foliage in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. 

2016 Year In Review (Ron)

2016 was an eventful year for Sarah and I. We bought land in southwest Colorado in the heart of the San Juan Mountains and will shortly be building a house on it, sold our house in Denver, and moved full time into our Airstream trailer. During that time we went over 5 months (!) without taking a single photo, by far the longest stretch since we've been photographing.

Despite the "Lost Summer" we were able to get a decent amount of photography in during the rest of the year.  We started the year in Death Valley, moved to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and then went up to Nevada and Utah during spring. After summer we spent 10 days in Iceland leading a workshop, a few weeks in the San Juan Mountains and south Utah photographing fall colors, and then spent some time along the Oregon Coast in November.

All photos I have processed from this year can be viewed on my 2016 Portfolio page, including:

Finally, I have collected a few of my favorite photos of 2016, some of which I will include below with brief captions. You may also be interested in the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 versions of this post.

 Desert Gold. One of the highlights this year was the wildflower bloom at Death Valley National Park. This photo fails to convey how wonderful it smelled out here!

Desert Gold. One of the highlights this year was the wildflower bloom at Death Valley National Park. This photo fails to convey how wonderful it smelled out here!

 So That Happened. The other major highlight at Death Valley National Park this year was all the rain which flooded Badwater. This particular sunrise came out of nowhere, it was completely clear about an hour before.

So That Happened. The other major highlight at Death Valley National Park this year was all the rain which flooded Badwater. This particular sunrise came out of nowhere, it was completely clear about an hour before.

 Wind Rain Sand. This photo was taken the sunrise after a day of almost constant rain (not that common in Death Valley), the winds were blowing 35-50mph - creating a unique mix of rain patterns and blowing sand.

Wind Rain Sand. This photo was taken the sunrise after a day of almost constant rain (not that common in Death Valley), the winds were blowing 35-50mph - creating a unique mix of rain patterns and blowing sand.

 Wavy Ibex. Ibex Dunes may be my favorite in Death Valley, we were treated to some stormy light at sunset.

Wavy Ibex. Ibex Dunes may be my favorite in Death Valley, we were treated to some stormy light at sunset.

 Beach Bubbles! Photographing these foam bubbles on Cannon Beach was quite the challenge, they would move quickly and then burst and evaporate. I was lucky to get a few sharp photos highlighting the iridescent foam.

Beach Bubbles! Photographing these foam bubbles on Cannon Beach was quite the challenge, they would move quickly and then burst and evaporate. I was lucky to get a few sharp photos highlighting the iridescent foam.

 Stormy Cannon Beach. The Pacific Northwest coast in late fall and winter is beautiful - there are often breaking storms in between the relentless rain which we were lucky to catch on this particular sunset along with some washed up foam and a well timed gull.

Stormy Cannon Beach. The Pacific Northwest coast in late fall and winter is beautiful - there are often breaking storms in between the relentless rain which we were lucky to catch on this particular sunset along with some washed up foam and a well timed gull.

 Mossorama. Winter trees in the forests along the Pacific Northwest coast are beautiful, especially the mossy trees with a little backlight highlighting the shapes and forms of the trees.

Mossorama. Winter trees in the forests along the Pacific Northwest coast are beautiful, especially the mossy trees with a little backlight highlighting the shapes and forms of the trees.

 Shuffleboard. Mud patterns in Death Valley (reminding me of a shuffleboard table) and an approaching storm that would dump about an inch of rain later that day.

Shuffleboard. Mud patterns in Death Valley (reminding me of a shuffleboard table) and an approaching storm that would dump about an inch of rain later that day.

 Organ Pipe Frames. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has some of the most pristine Sonoran Desert scenery in the United States and is the only place in the US with the namesake Organ Pipe cactus.

Organ Pipe Frames. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has some of the most pristine Sonoran Desert scenery in the United States and is the only place in the US with the namesake Organ Pipe cactus.

 Colorful Blurries. Multicolored aspen leaves photographed against a colorful blurred out background. Aspen leaves in fall can be all sorts of colors, not just the common yellow and gold.

Colorful Blurries. Multicolored aspen leaves photographed against a colorful blurred out background. Aspen leaves in fall can be all sorts of colors, not just the common yellow and gold.

 Organ Pipe Fuzzies. Backlit Saguaro and red-fringed Organ Pipe cactus. The Sonoran Desert is called the green desert for a reason!

Organ Pipe Fuzzies. Backlit Saguaro and red-fringed Organ Pipe cactus. The Sonoran Desert is called the green desert for a reason!

 Ocean Motion. A nice sunset on the famous beach in Vik, Iceland

Ocean Motion. A nice sunset on the famous beach in Vik, Iceland

 Classic Zion. The famous Watchman framed by colorful autumn Cottownwood trees and surrounded by lush desert vegetation. 

Classic Zion. The famous Watchman framed by colorful autumn Cottownwood trees and surrounded by lush desert vegetation. 

 Last Leaves. Bare aspens in front of the last autumn foliage of the year.

Last Leaves. Bare aspens in front of the last autumn foliage of the year.

 Saguaro Forest. Saguaro, cholla, and green octotillo frame a hillside in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Saguaro Forest. Saguaro, cholla, and green octotillo frame a hillside in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Best of 2013

Here it is almost February and I am finally getting around to posting my version of the ubiquitous "Best of 2013" post. I hope I don't lose what little Internet credibility I have by being so late. Before we get started with the images, it is important to know that these aren't my best photos of 2013. Yes, the title of this post is a lie.

I haven't edited a high enough percentage of photos from 2013 to have any idea what my best actually are, and I never will. So then, these must be the best photos I've processed in 2013, right? Nope! Many of my favorites aren't included here.

I decided to try something different: narrowing my selection to only abstracts and plants. There are no clouds or skies in any of these photos. Nothing that ties any photo to a specific region or location. None were taken with a wide angle lens (the widest focal length was 44mm, the rest were taken with a 70-200mm zoom, and a 100mm macro lens). There is not a single foreground in the group.

In the future I may post a Part II or even a Part III that includes other types of photos (such as intimates and grand scenic landscapes).

The photos are listed chronologically in order of capture. Click on an image to open the series in a lightbox.

Favorite Images of 2012

Note: Thank you to everyone who left a kind comment on the original version of this post.  I lost all of the comments in a transition to this blog format but I appreciated all of them. One of the things I enjoy most about the end of the year is seeing “favorite images” lists from the photographers I follow. I always find it interesting to see where people have traveled and how their work has progressed. For me, 2011 was the first year I thought I had anything to share. I looked back at that group of photos yesterday and, at least from my perspective, saw quite a bit of progress in my own work. For the first time, I am able to look at some of my own photos and actually like what I see.

I attribute a lot of this progress to being able to spend significant time on photography this year, which has been incredibly fulfilling and a lot of fun. For the last few years, I have wanted to spend some extended time traveling with a focus on photography but just could not find a way to make it happen. In early 2012, that opportunity unexpectedly appeared when I started traveling a lot with Ron Coscorrosa. Ron, a very talented landscape photographer, is about a year and a half into a temporary retirement and for most of this year, I have had the good fortune to join him on nearly all of his trips.

Read More