Lake Superior seen from beach at Whitefish Point Upper Peninsula Michigan

BW Photo Highlights 2018

BW Photo Highlights 2018

Dandelion seed head BW Photo Highlights 2018#1  Dandelion Seed Head  #62460bw   Purchase

Following up on my Photo Highlights 2018 post I’m presenting BW Photo Highlights 2018. It’s always a difficult task to select around ten of my favorite images from the past year. This year I wanted to include some black and white photos in the main group. However they looked somewhat out of place among the other color images, and I felt they need to in their own separate group.

As in Photo Highlights 2018 please feel free to vote or comment on your favorite photos in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you enjoyed these images please share this post with friends family and coworkers. Finally, all of the photos are available as fine art prints and commercial licensing, just click on any to see purchasing options. I hope all of you have a new year filled with peace, prosperity, and joy!

Lake Superior Whitefish Point, Michigan#2   Lake Superior at Whitefish Point Michigan  #63780bw  Purchase

Lake Superior twilight Whitefish Point, Michigan#3  Lake Superior at Whitefish Point Michigan  #63803bw  Purchase

Lake Superior seen from beach at Whitefish Point Upper Peninsula Michigan#4  Lake Superior at Whitefish Point Michigan  #63784bw  Purchase

Fort Casey State Park, battery bunkers.#5 Battery Valleau, Fort Casey State Park, Whidbey Island, Washington  #62126bw  Purchase

Bunker stairs Fort Casey State Park, Washington.#6 Fort Casey State Park, Whidbey Island, Washington  #62120bw  Purchase

Lady Fern#7 Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) Faux Polaroid  #62428bwp  Purchase

Lady Fern BW Photo Highlights 2018#8 Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) Faux Polaroid  #62463bwp  Purchase

Elakala Falls, Blackwater Falls State Park #9 Elakala Falls, West Virginia  #63340bw  Purchase

Upper Tahquamenon Falls Michigan#10 Tahquamenon Falls Michigan  #63825bw  Purchase

Elliot Falls Pictured Rocks Michigan.#11  Elliot Falls Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan  #63933bw  Purchase

Photo Highlights 2018

Photo Highlights 2018: Another year coming to a close, and what a year it was! Like every year there were plenty of ups and downs, but 2018 really packed them in. Most of 2018 was dominated by family related obligations, which for extended periods kept me from working on my business. However, at one point those same obligations opened up a unique opportunity for me to travel to new photography destinations. Some of the photos in this post were a result of that opportunity.

Every December when I put together these yearly photo highlights I’m somewhat uncertain of which images to include. On one hand I want to share my most creatively and technically successful photos. But on the other hand I also want to share photos of memorable moments, which may not hold any appeal to others. Fortunately many of the following images represent both viewpoints. In fact nearly all of them hold a very deep emotional bond to me, and they will always stand out as powerful memories to a year filled with turning points.

Please feel free to vote or comment on your favorite photos in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you enjoyed these images please share this post with friends family and coworkers. Finally, all of the photos are available as fine art prints and commercial licensing, just click on any to see purchasing options. I hope all of you have a new year filled with peace, prosperity, and joy!

Photo Highlights 2018

Skagit Valley Daffodil Fields, Washington Photo Highlights 2018Skagit Valley  #61987b  Purchase

#1) Skagit Valley Daffodill Fields. Unable to get out for winter photography this year I was looking forward to a short trip down to the Skagit Valley for the annual daffodil and tulip blooms. This morning offered a brief burst of light and color in an otherwise grey sky.

Tarn, Yellow Aster Butte Basin, North Cascades Photo Highlights 2018Yellow Aster Butte Basin, North Cascades  #62789  Purchase

#2)  Tarn in Yellow Aster Butte Basin, Mount Baker Wilderness, North Cascades.  This is one of the more popular hiking destinations in the North Cascades. Less than two hours from my home, I like to return here every few years, for both photography and just getting away. On this trip I enjoyed watching and photographing this group clouds change shapes at sunset.

Mount Sir Donald Selkirk Mountains Photo Highlights 2018Mount Sir Donald, British Columbia  #62836  Purchase

#3) Mount Sir Donald, seen from Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park British Columbia. This photo marks the beginning of a lengthy trip that took me to a variety of destinations in the Midwest, and beyond. Glacier National Park, in British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains, has some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the province. The park also has some of the most steepest and challenging hiking trails around. The hike up to this viewpoint gained 3400′ in about 3.5 miles, a real thigh burner!

Hocking Hills State Park Ohio Photo Highlights 2018Upper Falls Old man’s Cave, Ohio #63229  Purchase

#4) Upper Falls, Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park Ohio. Further along on the same trip I spent a sweltering August week in Chicago on family related business. When finished I started the main photo tour in earnest. Hocking Hills State Park is a great location I  found out about via a rest stop visitor’s guide a few years ago. This region in eastern Ohio is marked by picturesque rolling hills. Hocking Hills State Park contains a few sandstone gorges filled with pretty waterfalls and overhangs. Unfortunately the steamy humidity followed me here from Chicago and continued tormenting me for most of the trip.


Lindy Point Overlook West Virginia Photo Highlights 2018Lindy Point West Virginia #63427  Purchase

#5) Sunset at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia. This was my first visit to the central ranges of the Appalachian Mountains. Unlike mountains out west the Appalachians rarely offer sweeping views above tree line. Here in Blackwater Falls State Park, Lindy Point offers a rare panoramic view of the mountains and valleys. Having the area mostly to myself, I spent the entire afternoon and evening watching and photographing the fascinating changes in clouds and light. And yes, it was still horribly hot and humid!

Lake Superior Au Sable Point Michigan Photo Highlights 2018Lake Superior Michigan  #63866  Purchase

#6) Windy Sunset over Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Michigan was another new destination on this trip. I had been looking forward to photographing many of it’s locations on the Great Lakes and Upper Peninsula for years. While photographing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore the wind really whipped up at sunset. I took advantage of the conditions to try some minimalist compositions and slow shutter speeds. I’ll soon be working on a separate post featuring more images from Lake Superior in this style. You can see several more right now in the New Images 2018 gallery.

Elliot Falls Pictured Rocks Michigan Photo Highlights 2018Pictured Rocks National lakeshore  #63933b  Purchase

#7) Elliot Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan. This fun little waterfall was on my must see list when visiting Pictured Rocks. The waterfall itself isn’t very big or exciting, but together with spilling directly into Lake Superior over colorful layers of sandstone really makes it stand out. Just before sunset those layers took on a nice warm glow that added another nice dimension to the scene.

Badlands National Park South Dakota Photo Highlights 2018Badlands National Park  #64277  Purchase

#8) White River valley Overlook, Badlands National Park South Dakota. On the way home on Interstate 90 after a long tour I couldn’t pass up making a brief stop in Badlands National Park. I always enjoy visiting this fascinating terrain, plus I was thrilled to be out west again and out of the Midwest humidity. This is another one of those locations that you can visit over and over and always see something new in different seasons and lighting conditions.

Liberty Bell Mountain North Cascades Photo Highlights 2018Liberty Bell Mountain North Cascades  #64469  Purchase

#9) Liberty Bell Mountain at Washington Pass on a frosty fall morning. The photographic year ended early for me in 2018, but on a very high note. I was swamped with work after returning from nearly seven weeks on the road. Between catching up on business, photo editing, and home projects, I had little time to get out again. But I couldn’t pass up a good stretch of fall weather at the beginning of October. I headed up the North Cascades Highway to some of my favorite spots, Washington Pass and Rainy Pass. After a fresh snowfall this scene at Washington Pass took on an interesting mood as a bit of fog rolled in over the pass. I’ve photographed this area for over thirty years and this is one of my favorite images so far.

Liberty Bell Mountain North Cascades Photo Highlights 2018Liberty Bell Mountain, North Cascades  #64568  Purchase

#10) Liberty Bell Mountain from Washington Pass Overlook. My final image is a companion to #9, made about an hour later. After photographing from the meadows in the previous image I almost packed it in and left, since I felt the light had played itself out for the morning. However, I had a hunch to stop by the paved overlook trail to see what may be happening there. I’m glad I did, the light was still and warm with nice wispy clouds in a blue sky. This is a classic Northwest view photographed millions of times, but it never gets old for me. Driving out from Chicago in a beat up old car when I was 19, this was my first view of the North Cascades. I fell in love with these mountains right then and there, and I always feel blessed I can call them home!

See the entire selection of 2018 Photo Highlights in my New Additions Gallery

Surf, Point Reyes Beach

Photo Highlights 2017

Photo Highlights 2017

We say it every December, yet another year has flown by! It seems it was only yesterday I was writing on this blog about my favorite images of 2016. As with every passing year we can look back and revel on our accomplishments, and learn valuable lessons from our disappointments. Hopefully we all had more of the former!

This year I was once again very fortunate to be able to travel to and photograph some great new locations. I was also thrilled to make a long awaited backpacking pilgrimage to one of my favorite spots in the North Cascades. Throughout my journeys I met some great people who shared my love for the natural world.  This past year also brought with it some valuable new clients and business opportunities. Building on these successes I hope to make 2018 an even better year!

So without further ado let’s see some of the photo highlights 2017.

John Day River

John Day River Oregon Photo Highlights 2017John Day River, Oregon  #59904   Purchase

This image of the John Day River was made during an extended spring photo tour. One of the first stops on this trip was Cottonwood Canyon State Park in north central Oregon. Designated a wild and scenic river, the John Day snakes it’s way through steep walled valleys of the Columbia Plateau. One of the few viewpoints down to the river is above Cottonwood Canyon. I  made this photo shortly before sunrise after car-camping on a muddy backroad near the rim. The green slopes can be misleading. This is a very dry region, with brown the dominant color for most of the year.

Lichens

Lichens on basalt Photo Highlights 2017Colorful Lichens on Basalt  #59871  Purchase

Down in Cottonwood Canyon colorful lichens paint exposed cliffs of Columbia Plateau basalt. Seen across the river at the campground I made it a point to check out this display. The lichen colonies are impressive enough from a distance, but a close inspection reveals another world. I spent a good part of the morning exploring the cliffs with my macro lens. Getting in close you can find an infinite range of details and abstract patterns. Some are reminiscent of fractal patterns.

Hood River Valley

Hood River Valley Orchards, OregonHood River Valley Orchards, Oregon  #60108  Purchase

After photographing in Cottonwood Canyon I returned to the Hood River Valley. I was hoping to photograph the orchards in bloom. However a cold lingering winter delayed the bloom by a few weeks. On my return only a few of the orchards offered a good display. Arriving at sunrise throngs of other photographers were already setting up. When it became apparent there would be no dramatic clouds or light, they all left. I lingered on for a few hours, slowly scouting out some compositions. The above composition, and a few others, helped make the most of a blue sky.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta Photo Highlights 2017Mount Shasta  #60134  Purchase

Further south the same trip I was able to make this image of Mount Shasta just as I arrived in the area. Driving madly down a gravel road I was able to find this composition only minutes before the light faded. I spent several days exploring this area, however, this was the best light I encountered.

Point Reyes

Point Reyes Beach Photo Highlights 2017Point Reyes National Seashore, California  #60262  #Purchase

Point Reyes National Seashore in California is arguably the windiest place on the North American coast. On this and a previous trip it would’ve been hard to convince me otherwise. To make this photo I crouched down behind a small boulder to shield me from the incessant wind. Even with the tripod inches off the ground with the legs spread wide I still had to hold on to the camera to reduce shaking.

Redwoods

Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) Photo Highlights 2017Coast Redwoods  #60743  #Purchase

The Redwood forests of Northern California are among some of the most beautiful and humbling places to visit. Pictures cannot convey the scale of these massive trees. They are also one of the most difficult subjects to photograph. Generally the best opportunities are from the edge of a clearing. In this case my photo was made from alongside a road. While most photos of Redwood forests utilize a wide to super wide angle lens, I used a short telephoto for this one. Of course the nearly constant fog and overcast works in your favor to accentuate colors and keep contrast manageable.

Gold Bluffs Beach

Gold Bluffs Beach, California Photo Highlights 2017Triptych, Gold Bluffs Beach, California   Purchase

On Gold Bluffs Beach in Redwoods National Park I enjoyed making a series of images of surf action as the fog cleared. The simple elements of dark sand, water, and sky were constantly shifting into new shapes and patterns. While several images from this session stand well alone, I feel this triptych helps further project the abstract nature of the experience.

Harris Beach

Harris Beach Oregon Photo Highlights 2017Harris Beach, Brookings, Oregon  #60783  Purchase

The southern Oregon coast has some of the best locations for photographers. Harris Beach State Park, in Brookings, makes a great base for days or weeks of location work. This photo was made in the twilight before dawn. A long exposure gave the creek a silky feel, which adds another dimension to the curves and textures of the composition.

Liberty Bell Mountain

Liberty Bell Mountain Washington Pass Photo Highlights 2017Liberty Bell Mountain, North Cascades, Washington  #61324  Purchase

Back on my own home turf in the North Cascades, I made this photo as park of a fun weekend of hiking in the Rainy and Washington Pass vicinities. For over 30 years I’ve visited Washington Pass and marveled at the beauty of Liberty Bell Mountain. Although I’ve photographed this scene many times in the fall, or snow covered in early spring, this was my first attempt during the height of summer. Photographic compositions here come fairly easy, with help from leading lines curves of the meandering creek. If you decide to visit this area please thread very lightly, as the meadows are fragile and are showing signs of wear and abuse.

North Cascades National Park

Whatcom Peak North Cascades National Park Photo Highlights 2017Whatcom Peak reflected in Tapto Lake, North Cascades National Park  #61497  Purchase

I made this photo last August during a six day backpacking trip to Whatcom Pass and Tapto Lakes. It’s a magical place that for various reasons took me over 20 years to return to. North Cascades National Park is a rarity in the National Park System. Over 90 % of the park is designated wilderness, with only one short gravel road intruding on it’s borders. Most of it’s magnificent rugged beauty can be seen only via hiking its many trails. Even then, some of the best views are off-trail, requiring mountaineering experience.

Whatcom Pass is an exception. You can visit this scene after trail hiking around 18 miles, over one pass, down into a deep valley, up another pass, and then straight up a rough climbers route. This trip can be made in three days by strong hikers with light packs, but I recommend a more leisurely 5-6 days. Plan a day or two of just sitting around taking in the views. You never know when you’ll get a chance to come back!

Heather Meadows

Heather Meadows Recreation Area in winterHeather Meadows, North Cascades, Washington  #61935  Purchase

Adjacent to the Mount Baker Ski Area, Heather Meadows is just a short drive up the road from my home. It’s one of the gateways into the rugged backcountry of the North Cascades, in addition to being one of my longtime go-to places for winter photography. I made this photo after the first major snowfall of the season. Slowing making my way around on skis I came across this composition in soft diffused light. I liked how the soft delicate shapes in the foreground contrasted with the harder rugged shapes in the distance.

I hope you enjoyed my Photo Highlights 2017 please feel free vote and comment on your favorite images! And don’t forget, all of these images are ready to purchase as fine art prints or commercial licensing. Just click on any image!

Thanks for viewing this post, I wish you and your families, peace, joy, and prosperity in 2018.  I hope to see you on the road and trail in soon!

Photo Highlights 2017