A Photographer’s Journey: Best of 2013

It’s that time again. The end of 2013 has arrived and I’ll be sharing my favorite images from 2013. After a very rough end to 2012 with a physical injury, I was eager to start strong in 2013. Gladly the year started and finished strong for me personally and professionally. I was blessed to re-visit some iconic locations like Joshua Tree NP, Grand Teton NP, and Yellowstone NP while exploring new locations such as Valley of Fire State Park, the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I accomplished several of my personal and professional goals: I was able to get published twice – locally only (small potatoes, but it’s a start). I spent more time in the wilderness, hiking and backpacking. I focused more on photographing the beauty right here in Oregon. I learned more about techniques in the field and post-processing that pushed me to be a better photographer. I pushed myself to look not only and the big, grand scales, but the small, intimate details in our landscapes. And I made new photography friendships all along the way. 2013 was a good year.

I happy to once again share my top images in Jim Goldstein’s annual blog project. It’s an incredible gathering of photographers from around the world that Jim puts hard work into each January to showcase their best works from the past year. Please be sure to check out the other great posts once it’s completed in early 2014.

Joshua Tree Sunset – Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Joshua Tree National Park is one of my personal favorites in the park system. Something about the white tank granite and sprawling 'groves' of Joshua Trees speaks volumes to me. I've been to JTNP 4 or 5 times now and been skunked in getting a dynamic sunset, but not this evening.

Joshua Tree National Park is one of my personal favorites in the park system. Something about the white tank granite and sprawling ‘groves’ of Joshua Trees speaks volumes to me. Finally after 4 or 5 visits over the past 10 years, I was able to capture a dynamic sunset among the trees that I’d missed out on all those other times.

White Domes Rainbow Slot Canyon – Valley of Fire State Park, NV


I spent a handful of days in Valley of Fire SP on my annual southwest photography trip and was amazed by the incredible beauty packed into such a small park. Of course I went to all the most popular locations and capture my ‘own’ images, but I was excited to find this small slot canyon in the White Domes area with these incredible layers of purple, white, orange, pink and yellow sandstone flowing on the sides of this wash. I patiently spent time here finding a composition that was simple, but dynamic to display this unique portion of the canyon.

Emerald Canyon, North Umpqua River – Umpqua NF, OR


Sometimes the journey is better than the destination. I took the short hike to Toketee Falls this past spring, which is a very photogenic waterfall, but a took a little ‘off the beaten path’ route back to the trail head. What I came up on this small section of the North Umpqua river tightly shooting between the moss covered and emerald green rocks that define the Pacific NW. Not my typical dynamic landscape image, it was a more intimate view that captured my attention.

Good Morning Grand Teton – Grand Teton National Park, WY


Some places speak to us, spending time there feeds us, makes us feel home. For me, this is Grand Teton. I’ve been to GTNP a half dozen times now and I’ve truly never though any less of the experience than the time before. In fact I think I appreciate it more each time. This June was no exception and was the most photographicly productive time I’ve ever had there. Shortly after a nice pink sunrise the real show started with a storm moving into the valley and the light just punching through enough to illuminate the barn and Tetons.

Glowing Trees Along the Canyon – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone NP, WY


This image captured my eye as I turned to leave after an early morning sunrise on Lower Yellowstone falls. I noted that just this little section of trees had began to glow as light peaked over the edge of the canyon. A warm respite to the almost freezing temperatures that morning.

Mt. Jefferson Reflection and Wildflowers – Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, OR


One of my personal goals in 2013 was to do more backpacking, less car camping. Working to get images, putting more ‘wilderness’ into my craft. This image is one of the defining moments of that goal. An August backpacking trip with my wife (her first official) took us into, what I personally think is, one of the most beautiful wilderness experiences in the country. Opportunity for creating images is endless and I’m already planning my return for next summer and fall.

Break in the Storm Above the Gorge – Columbia River Gorge, OR


If someone hasn’t ever said ‘photography is an art of opportunity’, they should have. Sometimes it’s all about right place, right time, sprinkled with a little luck. I went out one afternoon in September looking to capture some waterfall images in the CRG, however a severe downpour put a quick end to that idea. I opted for taking the long way home and stopped along a popular viewpoint in the CRG for the heck of it. The rain let up and decide to give me about 4 minutes of sun, clouds, and a perfectly placed rainbow.

Scott Lake Reflection – Three Sister Wilderness, OR


An unusual amount of snow hit the Oregon Cascade range in late September, creating a unique fall setting for images. Blue hour or as I like to call this one “Purple hour” created a unique purple sky and bright white reflection on the snow covered Three Sisters, creating an opportunity for one of my favorite images of the year.

Fall Color at Trillium Lake – Mt Hood NF, OR 


I truly believe that intimate, simple landscapes can be as powerful as any grand ones. As I walked along the banks of Trillium Lake, this group of trees in varying stages of color change, from peak to past peak, popped against the green curtain of evergreens. Mixed with the reflection, this image became one of my favorites from 2013.

Mount Hood Reflected on Trillium Lake – Mt Hood NF, OR


I had avoided Trillium Lake like the plague for so long, mainly due to it’s very easy access and popularity. But in trying to waste time until I ended up at my ‘planned’ sunset destination, I was mesmerized. It’s popular, it’s busy..but for a reason. Needless to say, I didn’t end up at my final destination, I stayed put at Trillium. Looking for more than just a reflection from the very popular south end, I bushwhacked a bit into the reeds along shore to capture the pink alpenglow hitting Mt Hood at the end of this October day.

Thanks to everyone who showed their support this year, to new social media followers, new friends made on the trails, and especially my wife who continues to support my dreams as a photographer. I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store and I’m ready for some new adventures,new images and new friends. Happy New Year!

One thought on “A Photographer’s Journey: Best of 2013

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Jim Goldstein’s ‘Best of 2013′ project

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