Wow – what a year! I traveled extensively this past year and have more trips planned for the coming year. Following the tradition of previous years, this is the list of my Favorite Photos of 2017. I had a lot to choose from after excursions through Maine, New Brunswick and Prince Edwards Island (Canada) and another through the Eastern Sierra of California, plus visits to 6 national Parks: Big Bend (Texas), Arches and Canyonlands (Utah), Acadia (Maine), Grand Canyon (Arizona), and Yosemite (California). I am still working on Maine and California, but galleries from Big Bend National Park and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona have been published.
Here goes – my favorite photos of 2017 with a little info for each photo!
What a long day, waiting for the Milky Way to rise over Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine! Arrived on site well before sunset to capture some images with the setting sun and dusk, found my spot to include both the lighthouse and milkyway in the frame, then waited, and waited, and waited – about 3 hours! But the result with the Milky Way and the rays from the lighthouse is pretty spectacular. 20 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 2500, Canon EF 16-35 lens at 16mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
I captured this moment as the rising sun lit up Mount Hayden at the Point Imperial overlook on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. What a moment! The remainder of the canyon was still draped in early morning fog, softening the edges and creating the mood of this photo. 1/30 second at f/14, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 58mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
Although Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritime may appear small on maps, it took nearly every hour of every day of 5 days to travel around the coastline. Of course there were multiple stops as we found beautiful scenery and churches everywhere. On this day we wanted to be back to where we were staying on the island, in Malpeque (northwest in the middle section), to photograph the harbour at sunset. Notice anything different? The fishing boats are moored by the stern, with bows pointing outward and ready to go the next morning. The next day was the last day of lobster fishing for the season, and traps were pulled and piled high on the docks. 0.4second at f/14, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 24mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
This photo is not only a favorite but probably the most remote location. Marlboro Canyon is tucked in between Dead Horse Canyon State Park and Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The dirt track is unmarked, and quickly turns into a trail that then becomes a plateau of huge boulders with no marked path. Luckily I was with someone with a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and although it was frightful, we made it to this new find. The only thing I wished for were more clouds in the sky, but finally those few clouds that were available captured the afterglow of a sun that had already set. 2 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, Canon EF 16-35 lens at 16mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California, is a large desert lake with no outlet and, like the Great Salt Lake, high levels of salts accumulate in the lake. Underwater springs rich in calcium mix with the lakewater rich in carbonates creating calcium carbonate–limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much exposed tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after 1941 when water which would have reached the lake was diverted to cities such as Los Angeles. This photo was taken after sunset when reflected light lit up the fantastic cloud formation. 1/8second at f/8, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 47mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
I love this photo for the light! As the rising sun’s rays reached into Canyonlands viewed from Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah, the walls of the canyon lit up with this bright orange glow! This glow, along with the reflection in the oxbow curve of the Colorado River and the hiking trail that parallels the edge, is what speaks to me. 1/15 second at f/11, ISO 100, Canon EF 16-35 lens at 35mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
The desert of Big Bend National Park in far south Texas is beautiful in January! Although the sun could be warm mid-day, the nights were still chilly. This is a view over the Chihuahuan Desert towards the Chisos Mountains for an incredibly colorful sunrise. Funny story – I flew into Lubbock Texas and drove the 5 hours to the park seeing hardly another vehicle on the wide open straight roads marked for 80mph. On the return trip my flight out of Lubbock was delayed for mechanical problems, then the second plane had mechanical problems, and then the crew had to change, and finally a third plane got me to Dallas but I had long ago missed all flights to Richmond. 0.8second at f/18, ISO 100, Canon EF 16-35 lens at 29mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
It was hard to pick a photo to represent Yosemite in my favorites – I haven’t had a chance to process most photos, but I had a few views of Halfdome from Olmstead Point that I liked and it was difficult to pick just one! I chose this one over one that was much more colorful because of the three rocks in the foreground that I feel echo the scene in front of me. Notice that the rocks in shadow have a blue cast – this is natural lighting. 1/13 second at f/14, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 84mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
What a scramble to get down to water’s edge through a jumble of boulders clearly marked dangerous! This is Bass Harbor Head Light in Acadia National Park. I wasn’t sure I would get there – the rocks are sharp and slippery and navigating through gave me many moments when I was tempted to give up! But the only clear view of the lighthouse is from the bottom of the boulder heap. Once I got there I shot a few frames and left – I was standing in front of a friend who yielded a temporary spot and the tide was coming in and covering my shoes. I was delighted that the few shots I got were great. 1/15 second at f/13, ISO 125, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 24mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona is a favorite of photographers and many images of this iconic canyon have already been published. But I really like the movement in the rock in this image, and it is one for my bucket list. The beam of light was emphasized by my Navaho guide who threw sand into the air. Entrance into the canyon is by advance reservations with the Navaho Nation who owns the grounds where the canyon is located, and I purchased a “photographer’s ticket” which gave our small group of 5 a guide who blocked passage of other tour groups long enough to get the photo. 4 seconds at f/10, ISO 200, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 24mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
Mono Lake again, but this time the subject is sunrise and the glowing orange light cast on the Eastern Sierra Mountains. Love the symmetry of this image! 1/8 second at f/11, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 82mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
This eroded rock formation known as “Teacup Rock” for obvious reasons is located on Thunder Cove Beach on the north central coast of Prince Edward Island. We scouted the location in the morning and came back for sunset. Standing against another rock headland allowed me to frame the teacup between two formations with the colors of sunset in the background. This image required a lot of post-processing work to eliminate the glare of backlighting. 1.3 seconds at f/16, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 65mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
This is Delicate Rock in Arches National Park. The photo is more of a life marker than a favorite, although I do love the contrast of bright sunlight on the arch against the blue snow-covered mountains behind it. Funny thing, we sat for over an hour in overcast light, hoping for a surprise sunset burst of light, and it came – the arch color went from dull orange to this bright color in a matter of seconds! To reach the arch is a mile and half climb up a granite hill, and on the way down my ankle gave out and I fell. I actually tore my MCL – medial collateral ligament – of my left knee but still walked back to the car and took the photo of Marlboro Canyon the next morning! When the pain did not subside I went to an orthopedic surgeon for tests…. took 3 months until I could take more than one stairstep at a time! 0.8 seconds at f/9, ISO 100, Canon EF 24-105 lens at 65mm, Canon 5D MarkIII on tripod.
Well, that’s it for this year – I hope you enjoyed the photos!