Favorites of 2021

One of the things I am learning to appreciate as a photographer is finding interesting photos close to home. When I stay local, I can explore places in depth and return to the comfort of my home. I would like to give a shout out to Alexander Kunz, who does this often, finding interesting scenes around San Diego. However, I also went on several road trips over the year to revisit places and explore some new ones.

Here are twelve of my favorite photos and memories of 2021.

These first two shots are from a place I hike often, though rarely at 5am. In early January I visited twice at sunrise. On both days, we had a layer of clouds with a break on the horizon which allowed the sun to light-up the underside of the clouds. On the first visit, I was shooting with a wide zoom lens. I decided to come back two days later with a mid-range zoom. What a great start to the year!

Dawn of Day III – Lake Hodges, San Diego (Prints Available)
New Beginning 6:58am (Prints Available)

In March I saw a cold storm system was heading for San Diego with a forecast for snow in the local mountains. I went out each of the three days looking for photos. On the first day, I drove the Sunrise Highway in the Laguna Mountains while the storm blew through. I captured this scene of a bent Yucca with the snow blowing.

Winter Yucca, Laguna Mountains (Prints Available)

In May I took a three-week road trip to the Pacific Northwest. My first stop was Olympic National Park, where I spent five days as part of a photography workshop with Eric Bennett and TJ Thorne. What I loved about this workshop is that we camped in the rainforest and spent time finding our own compositions with help and feedback. One evening we went to an area of the forest beside the river. Even though the river was not visible, it created a break, letting the evening light filter into the forest.

Rainforest Den, Olympic National Park (Prints Available)

Below is another photo from a different evening. I love how the trees in the forest often grow out of decaying logs and the new tree’s roots reach around the fallen giant.

Octopus Arms, Olympic National Park (Prints Available)

My next stop were the Redwoods on the northern California Coast. Every day I went out hiking in the morning and evening. After a few days we started getting a mystical fog with rays of light penetrating the forest. The moment of the photo below was stunning and I knew so immediately.

The Duet – Del Norte Redwoods State Park (Prints Available)

One day we had a rainbow in the fog which we called a fogbow.

Forest Rainbow (Prints Available)

The redwoods of northern California are very close to Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor on the southern Oregon coast, so I ventured up there several times. I came to one particular location at sunset exploring and looking for better light each time. I wasn’t planning to stay past sunset even though I knew this was a great spot to shoot the Milky Way. However, on my third visit I ran into another photographer who convinced me to stay. We waited in the chilly darkness for the Milky Way to rise and get into the position. I was tempted to get up and go several times. In the end I stayed until 1:30 am and was happy I did.

Inner Channel – The Milky Way @ 1:33 am (Prints Available)

I didn’t take many photos or travel much again until October when I went to Utah looking for fall color in the desert. Some of my favorite photos, however, were in the barren badlands.

Just a Stone (Prints Available)

On the way home from Utah I stopped for a few days in Zion National Park. I love the teardrop shape of the pool of water in this one.

Desert Tears (Prints Available)
Rock and River, Zion National Park (Prints Available)

I had one more trip in December of 2021 to Death Valley National Park. Here is my current favorite from this trip, taken as the sun rose over the sand dunes.

Sand Swallow (Prints Available)

To see a complete Best of 2021 collection, click here.

The Best of 2020

Here are my top 12 photos of 2020 in the order in which they occurred. It was not easy to narrow the picks, so I have a link to a larger “Best of…” collection here.

If you see something you would like to have as a print, please contact me with the title of the photo, size, and any other information. Enjoy!

Del Dios Sunrise (December 2019)

Del Dios Sunrise was taken at the end of last year. This is a hike I often do as a workout. This morning I was hiking up to an overlook of the lake below, but I got started too late. This hike usually takes about 1.5 hours. I was about 1 hour in and I was going to miss the good light of sunrise. Just then I noticed, in twilight-darkness, a turn-off from the trail that took me to this amazing view, only 2 minutes from the main trail. What a find! Serendipitous! There is a lake under all those clouds.

Spring brought the Covid-19 shutdown and the closing of almost all trails. I resorted to hiking my neighborhood and taking photos on gardens. My favorite of these was this rose. The sun was just emerging from behind the side of house and softly backlighting the rose.

Emerging Rose! (April 2020)

In June I traveled to Utah. On one of my days there, I hiked this beautiful slot canyon. I learned to observe how the light plays off the walls of the canyon, changing with every step.

Crooked Tunnel, Utah (June)

I went backpacking in July to one of my favorite locations in the Sierra Mountains. My main goal here was to capture the Milky Way over the mountains, but the photo below was my favorite, as the remnants of a storm was just clearing out.

Stones in the Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Mountains, California (July)

In October I spent a week in Zion National Park, wandering the canyons, amongst amazing fall colors.

Boxelder Solo, Zion National Park, Utah (October)

While wandering the canyons, I came across several other photographers. One was kind enough to offer a suggestion of another canyon to explore in a different section of the park. There was one meadow at this location where I spent several hours, it was so beautiful. I would hear other hikers pass by the meadow with quiet exclamations of awe.

Dancers in the Meadow, Zion National Park, Utah
Ponderosa and Maple, Zion National Park (October 2020)
The Crack, Zion National Park, (October 2020)

In November I went to Death Valley National Park to experience a sand storm on the dunes.

Launch, Death Valley National Park, California (November 2020)

Snow came the San Diego mountains in early November. While hiking, I noticed the gnarly roots of these two giant oaks clutching the ground. The forest of Palomar Mountain State Park is different than others in southern California. I think it gets more moisture, thus the it is surprising lush.

Giant Toes, Palomar Mountain State Park, California (November 2020)
Sunset at the Pier, Oceanside, California (November 2020)
Sunrise Warrior, Lake Henshaw, California (December 2020)

Thank you for following my blog. I hope you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Your task in not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Rumi

Click here to view the rest of the Best of 2020 collection.