A Photographer’s Journey: My Best of 2012

Wow, is it really almost 2013?? How did that happen so fast? Each December, as the year comes to a close, it’s a great time as photographers to look back at what has come to pass, taking inventory of the adventures, journeys, and the moments we’ve experienced. It’s one of my favorite times of year, partially because I get to take a breather from travel and adventuring (not a long one though). Also because of what starts popping up in the blogging and social media sites – ‘Best of/Top Lists’.  It is inspirational, educational, and enjoyable to see what others have done this past year. As I put the finishing touches on my 2012 list, it’s my time to reflect on the past year. That reflection allows me to put in perspective the depth and size of the experiences I’ve lived out as a photographer this past year. This year was an incredible journey for me as a photographer – I grew my business, learned new techniques, experimented with and learned new gear, made new friends. I certainly can’t complain about any of the adventures and travels from this past year. Yup, the light wasn’t always perfect, I wasn’t always in the right place at the right time, and didn’t always get ‘the shot’ I had visioned in my mind, but it was one heck of a journey. I was blessed enough to spend time in Utah canyon country, the high Sierra of Yosemite, the peaks of Washington’s cascade mountains, the Canadian Rockies, fall colors in the Tetons, and here in my home state of Oregon. I’m proud to share with you my ‘top 12 of 2012’ favorite images from this past year. I hope through my images you enjoy the journey as much as I did!

Pear Orchard and Barn – Hood River Valley, Oregon

I had been wanting to catch the pear/apple blossoms in the Hood River Valley for the past few years, but hadn't been able to time it right, until this year. I found this location based on driving around all the little back roads and from a few few rumors of 2-3 great barns to photograph. As I walked into the orchard all I could hear was a buzzing sound...from all the bees. Now, I'm no fan of bees, but with all the blossoms I knew they wanted nothing to do with me.

I had been wanting to catch the pear/apple blossoms in the Hood River Valley for the past few years, but hadn’t been able to time it right – until this year. I found this location based on driving around all the little back roads and from a few few rumors of 2-3 great barns to photograph. As I walked into the orchard all I could hear was a buzzing sound…from all the bees. Now, I’m no fan of bees, but with all the blossoms I knew they wanted nothing to do with me.

Tioga Pass Road at Olmsted Point – Yosemite National Park, California

Our first day in the park was spent along Tioga Pass road w/ a sunset destination of Olmsted Point. We had packed all the camera gear, a few snack, and a couple beers to enjoy while sitting for a couple hours and watch the light change. I wondered over to the road just before the last light of the day I really liked this composition with the curved road and dramatic peaks w/ just a hint of light on them.

Our first day in the park was spent along Tioga Pass road w/ a sunset destination of Olmsted Point. We had packed all the camera gear, a few snack, and a couple beers to enjoy while sitting for a couple hours and watch the light change. I wondered over to the road just before the last light of the day I really liked this composition with the curved road and dramatic peaks w/ just a hint of light on them.

Sunrise Over Bryce Canyon – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

I was incredibly excited to get a week of shooting in Utah's National and State parks in March. My first (and very chilly) morning out shooting I captured this moment. Not another soul around for the first hour I was out.

I was incredibly excited to get a week of shooting in Utah’s National and State parks in March. My first (and very chilly) morning out shooting I captured this moment. Not another soul around for the first hour I was out.

Last Light and Storm Over Lake Louise – Banff National Park, Canada

Although not remote (literally a giant hotel was right behind me) Lake Louise is impressive, turquoise waters and glacier covered peaks. I spent sunset shooting the shores w/ long exposures and although I love the turquoise waters, something about the contrast of this image in black and white set the mood for the late afternoon storms that had moved through the area.

Although not remote (literally a giant hotel was right behind me) Lake Louise is impressive, turquoise waters and glacier covered peaks. I spent sunset shooting the shores with several long exposures. Although I love the turquoise waters, something about the contrast of this image in black and white set the mood for the late afternoon storms that had moved through the area.

The Explorer – Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada

I spent one day hiking across the Athabasca Glacier with a guide, as we approached the shelves of the icefall my guide went ahead to scout the ever changing route. His bright orange coat was a catching contrast to the blue/white/gray of the galcier. Also the image creates a perspective and raw feeling of how large that glacier really is.

I spent one day hiking across the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper NP with a guide, as we approached the lower shelves of the icefall my guide went ahead to scout the ever changing route. His bright orange coat was a catching contrast to the blue/white/gray of the glacier. Also, the image creates a perspective and raw feeling of how immense the glacier is in size.

Summer’s Bloom – Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

After making my way up to Mount Rainier on a sunny afternoon, the late day light turned spectacular. I have to admit the light this day was the best light I've ever experienced.

The light this afternoon was almost, if not, the best light I’ve ever experienced as a photographer. The flowers were blooming perfectly, the clouds moved into the right place, and I literally had to share this area of Paradise with one other person. As a photographer it doesn’t get much better than this.

Summer’s Bloom II – Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Again, another favorite image from Mount Rainier NP in the Paradise area. No matter what direction I looked the light was incredible. A photographer's dream.

Again, another favorite image from Mount Rainier NP in the Paradise area. No matter what direction I looked the light was incredible. A photographer’s dream.

Grand Light – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The iconic Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Parks has been photographed probably more than I could ever count, but it's iconic for a reason. I patiently waited for the sun to rise to the east, but the clouds weren't willing to play. That is, until for a few minutes when light peaked though a few holes in the clouds resulting in this pattern of pink light on the Tetons and clouds.

The iconic Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park has been photographed probably more than I could ever count, but it’s iconic for a reason. I had to spend my typical 1-2 mornings here. As I patiently waited for the sun to rise to the east the clouds weren’t willing to play nice. That is, until a few minutes of light peaked though a few holes in the clouds resulting in this pattern of pink light on the Tetons and clouds.

Fall Storm and Color – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is always an amazing place to spend time, however fall can be even more magical as the trees change color and the temperature dips at night. 2012 was a very dry year across the country and much of the tree around GTNP were a duller yellow and very dry, but there a couple special places in the park that didn't get the 'it's been a dry year' message. I visited this spot several times, however my favorite was the first afternoon where a few thunderstorms had moved through wetting the leaves and making for a dynamic sky.

Grand Teton National Park is always an amazing place to spend time, however fall can be even more magical as the trees change color and the temperature dips at night. This past was a very dry year across the country and many of the trees around GTNP were a duller yellow in color and drying out quickly, but were a couple special places in the park that didn’t get the ‘it’s been a dry year’ message. I visited this spot several times, however my favorite was the afternoon when a few thunderstorms had moved through wetting the leaves and making for a dynamic sky.

Road to Opal Creek – Opal Creek Wilderness, Oregon

Sometimes images just sneak up on you when you had no intention at all of photographing them. This is the story of The Road to Opal Creek. My wife and I decided to take on last fall hike to shoot color in the Opal Creek Wilderness that's near our home in Salem. The weather was supposed to be cloudy, but not rainy, however the day/night had been rainy and surprisingly the snow level dropped, coating the trees with the seasons first snow. I converted this image to black & white in order to maximize the tonal contrast between the white snow and dark trees/shadows.

Sometimes images just sneak up on you when you least expect it. That is the story of ‘The Road to Opal Creek’. My wife and I decided to take one last fall hike to shoot remnants of color in the Opal Creek Wilderness. The weather was supposed to be typical Oregon cloudy, however the previous day/night had been rainy. Surprisingly the snow level dropped overnight, coating the trees with the seasons first snow. This view along the road caught my eye. I converted this image to black and white in order to maximize the contrast between the white snow and dark trees/shadows.

Proxy Falls – Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

Oregon has 100's of waterfalls, but this one, Proxy Falls, is my hands down favorite. It's a photographers dream, literally dozens of angles you can shoot from. But my favorite is up close, getting the softness and details of the cascades coming down the basalt columns.

Oregon has 100’s of waterfalls, but this one, Proxy Falls, is my hands down favorite. It’s a photographers dream, literally dozens of angles you can shoot from. But my favorite is up close, getting the softness and details of the cascades coming down the basalt columns.

Tulip Fireworks – Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, Oregon

Every spring the tulip and iris gardens bloom for several weeks adding a giant splash of color to the green patches of farm land in Oregon. Sunset was a bust, but shortly after - this display of color hit the clouds. I captured a handful, this being the only one I was satisfied with the sharpness.

Every spring the tulip and iris gardens bloom for several weeks adding a giant splash of color to the green patches of farm land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Sunset was a bust this night, but shortly after – this display of color hit the clouds. I captured a handful of images, only a few sharp enough for my satisfaction.

Please be sure to check out my website at: wildernessadventureimages.com

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6 thoughts on “A Photographer’s Journey: My Best of 2012

    • Thank you Richard! It was an incredible year, almost surreal all the locations I was able to shoot this past year. Have a great 2013!

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