2016 was a year of transition and change for me, and not one of my most prolific, photographically.
I started out with the best of intentions, even joining a 52 Week Photo Challenge at the behest of my son and daughter-in-law. But as many New Year's resolutions go, this one petered out around the middle of February, due mostly to that crazy obstacle called life.
I was able to take only one trip for the sole purpose of shooting photographs, but it was a memorable one to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in April.
So without further adieu, here are my favorites from the year in which I didn't even get the camera out of the bag during the months of March or December.
Quantitatively, a pretty pitiful photographic performance, indeed -- and one which I intend to rectify, hopefully, in 2017.
They're also included on Jim Goldstein's 10th Annual BEST OF THE YEAR PHOTO PROJECT, which includes collections from nearly 200 talented photographers, the link to which, you can copy and paste into your browser:
WHITE SANDS NEW YEAR
Technically, I shot this image on New Year's Eve, but I rationalized that somewhere in the world at that moment, 2016 was ALREADY being rung in, so I'm including it here.
SANTA MONICA DAWN
A cold January morning that threatened rain, but never really followed through. I've taken quite a few shots of this pier and ferris wheel over the years, but never from this angle, or at this time of day.
VASQUEZ ROCKS: BEFORE THE STORM
I was supposed to meet aforementioned son and daughter-in-law at this "as seen in movies and on TV" location, and only about 30 minutes north of my house at 5:30am on the last Saturday in January. As I loaded my gear into the car, I got a text from them stating they had been up late, and couldn't make themselves roll out of bed and join me. Their loss, I say.
This is the first of several images from my trip to Utah in April. This was our first stop at Arches National Park -- the aptly named Park Avenue. The hike down into its modest depths was beautiful and breathtaking.
TURRET ARCH SUN STAR
MESA ARCH IN MONOCHROME
I got the obligatory sun star shot at Mesa Arch along with 40 of my "closest friends" on this morning -- tempers flared and tensions grew as photographers with DSLRs and regular folks with iPhones jostled and bumped each other while trying to capture the phenomenon at Canyonlands National Park. But instead of posting that, I liked this one -- taken after the sun had already risen above the mountain range where I could see the rays channeling through the sandstone spires.
GRAND VIEW SPRING SQUALL
Our last night in Utah. It had rained hard all day. Finally around 6pm, I saw a little break in the clouds and we decided to drive to Grand View Point from Moab, a distance of about 50 miles. By the time we turned from Highway 191 onto UT-313, the windshield wipers were working overtime. From the time Island in the Sky Road turned into Grand View Point Road, we met no other cars coming the other way. The Grand View Point parking lot was deserted, the wind had to be blowing 40-miles an hour, and the sleet was coming down horizontally. We parked and waited for a couple of minutes to see if the sleet would subside. Eventually it did, and we ran to the overlook not knowing how long we'd have to shoot. We weren't disappointed.
My goal was to shoot the Strawberry Moon, a once in a generation event that coincides with the Summer Solstice, and one that won't return until 2062. Of course, there was triple digit heat and smoke from the fires to the east to contend with, but I was not to be deterred. Well, Ok, I did NOT capture the moon in this particular image because it was too far north and I would have had to have been much wider in order to include it in the frame. This is what I focused on instead.
SAND FIRE DEMON
Another Southern California wildfire. This one, the Sand Fire, which was north of Los Angeles in the Santa Clarita region on the other side of the mountains in the distance. This devastating blaze consumed 41,000 acres over 64 square miles, destroyed 116 structures, injured four, and killed one person. The damage estimates ran close to $50 million. I can see the profile of a demon's face in the smoke cloud. See what you think.