When looking for my favorite images of 2014 for this post, I realize most were thankfully tied into great times. Some were commercial work but the challenge was what made me smile. Let’s get to them.
Starting at the end of the year first, this shot of Point Vicente Lighthouse in California is becalming to me and I love the mood. I have a particular sunset shot planned for April of 2015, so look for more.
I paid a third visit to Joshua Tree National Park, practically in my backyard, in 2014. This trip was with my daughters and a lot of fun just learning about the desert.
Another shot from Joshua Tree of cholla cactus, or teddy bear cactus at sunset. I was fortunate enough to meet fellow photographer Richard Wong on this trip, showing that people you meet on the Internet are not all killers.
A calm night flying into Santa Ana Airport but not before flying past Catalina Island off the coast of California.
I took a lot more shots from the air this year. It is also nice that restrictions on shots in the first 10,000′ were lifted. This shot is of Yosemite National Park in California and pictures Half Dome at the top and El Capitan at the bottom.
On the same flight as above, this image includes Mono Lake to the East of the park. El Capitan is the prominent feature at the bottom right.
This year I made friends with the West Seattle Blog Twitter account and it had me focusing on their neighborhood a lot more. It helps that it is often easy to photograph on a southerly approach to Seattle. Downtown Seattle is in the upper left.
What a gorgeous morning this was! And the timing was perfect. Five minutes later the sun was behind clouds and our boat was nearly at Whidbey Island in Washington.
A favorite because this was a fun hike with my daughter Sabrina to the place where I took her on her first hike when she was just three months old. An old narrow gauge railroad along the Robe Valley in Washington.
I got into weird patterns and shapes more this year, thanks in no small part to being around water often. Here the sky and clouds are reflected in the Puget Sound
I worked with UnCruise Adventures twice this year and loved it. I also enjoy that I get to go where guests aren’t allowed in order to get commercial quality shots, like out on a skiff to capture this dramatic sunset off the coast of Baja in Mexico’s Gulf of California.
More of those patterns. Believe it or not, this shot is actually in focus. The sunset you see in the image above is seen in the waters of Mexico.
One new adventure for me on this trip was getting close to gray whales. Here a mother and her calf (seen closer to the camera) swim in Magdalena Bay.
Also on this trip in Mexico with UnCruise was a chance to get close to some California Sea Lions. In this case I got off the boat before sunrise and the skiff ran me about while we waited for the big boat to anchor. I had this whole rock to myself with about a hundred curious sea lions looking on.
And while we waited, just after the sun came up, dozens of mobula rays took to the sky with the orange sun lighting their bellies. Magical.
With the help of a GoPro camera, I was able to dive down to a group of these mobula rays and try to follow them. It was truly like flying underwater, just watching them.
And just so all the fast animals don’t get all the credit, I love the pattern of the Gulf around a lonely turtle.
This was one of the last shots on the UnCruise trip and I love it. The boat was trailing a pair of humpback whales when I did what my instincts tell me to do in certain photographic situations; look the other way. Behind our boat was the coast of Baja and a few other whales enjoying the setting sun.
More flying and the mountain I love, Mt. Rainier in Washington.
My family spent part of Spring Break in Yosemite National Park in California and we had the most absolutely perfect Spring weather. It snowed the week before we arrived and the week after. This shot was taken on the trial to the top of Yosemite Falls.
On another assignment for UnCruise up the Columbia and Snake Rivers I had the good fortune for evening light against green(ish) hills. This image, shot while in a skiff in increasing winds, graces the cover of their latest brochure.
While leaving one of the locks along the Columbia River I set up a long exposure shot and hoped for the best. I’m very happy with the warp effect of the dam’s lights.
One of the last shots on the trip was the reward for getting up early. Morning light on the Columbia River looking toward Washington.
More flying and a beautiful view of Los Angeles and blue skies at sunset.
Sabrina and a friend of hers and I took a little road trip and ended up at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington. A couple of hours of waiting for fog to lift paid off.
My wife and I went to Barbados in the Caribbean Sea for a little R&R and to meet some of her friends. I took the opportunity to try some wave break shots with a cheap underwater housing I’ll be reviewing in a month on Digital Photography School.
This time with a little shutter lag. And a lot of saturation boost.
This is why I wanted the case. Turtles! A favorite of my wife and just fun to be around. He wasn’t as grumpy as he looks.
Hands down one of my top five shots of the year.
Practicing some high-speed action, our dog shakes off while I snap away. He is new to the family in 2014 and a wonderful companion.
Oh for the glory of it all! This glory (name for the full rainbow) was captured while leaving Santa Ana. I always pick the side of the plane depending on direction and sun.
I got into layers more this year and loved this shot as we flew over LA heading North.
Mt. Hood, Oregon from the same flight as above. I love flying and photography.
A little further up the Cascade range we find Mt. t. Helens and Mt. Hood in Washington.
And there you have it!
If you would like to order prints of these images, they can all be found at: Best of 2014.
Look for a lot more photos coming in 2015 as I go back through old trips and plan to visit: Mexico, Belize, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Florida, Alabama, Alaska twice, Jamaica, Australia and New Zealand.
Join Me In 2015!
I’ll be teaching twice this year in Alaska with two great companies. One is the before-mentioned UnCruise Adventures and that is an 8 day cruise looking at glaciers and whales and all kinds of things. That is July 5-12. More info here.
The second opportunity to join me will is at Waterfall Resort near Ketchikan, Alaska. That will be June 15-20 with TONS of excellent summer solstice light (and fishing!). More info here.
Where are you going in 2015?