As I begin this review of my 2021 photography, I see that it has been a year since my last post. Well, it has been a busy year! Not only have I traveled and photographed more, but we also had more significant sales than any past year! Thank you to all who have supported my art with your photography acquisitions.
In 2021 I drove 11,747 miles for photography! Mostly Oregon, northern California, and Montana (Glacier Park). After more than 40 days in the field and 1,000+ images, I spent my New Year's Day narrowing it down to 32 favorites. Whew! So, here we go!
2021's photography started in the early spring at Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, with my buddy Josh Bourgeois (@jbcreative). I have been to this location many times, yet found something different.
The first trip to Oregon happened in time for the tree blossoms in Hood River. I was only there for a couple of days and never had an exciting sky but made the best of it! The flowers, however, looked great!
On this same trip, I decided to focus more on the new leaves on the trees. Bridal Viel Falls has always been a favorite stop.
As this trip was part of an almost three-week swing, our next stop was the Redwoods of Northern California.
This photograph was my first image of the day, and I think I was off to a good start. However, just like in the Oregon gorge, the weather was clear, with very little fog.
Even with the clear weather, I was moved by the grandness of the trees and the way the light would break through the forest.
As we (my wife, Meadow, and I) moved up the coast to Brookings, I took this image our first night out scouting the scene.
I especially liked the color in the cloud bank and silhouette of the rock monoliths.
I hiked down to this secret beach the next night and found the following two images.
Looking back at this trip, I feel now that the following three images are my trip favorites!
Still, at the same location as the previous photograph, I decided to climb up this embankment to see off the other side, hoping there might be some remaining light. I think I got there just in time!
For the next photography stop, we traveled north. I wanted to photograph Thors Well. However, my timing was wrong for the tides, so we made a last-minute location change. The Ghost Forest was best with the low tide; we just had to drive farther north than originally planned. It was a spectacular night with perfect clouds and surf. It was also quite the adventure requiring about a mile hike in the sand and a river crossing. I like both images from the night, with the first one showing the bold color of the sunset and the second showing a soft ending to the night.
On our last night of camping at Beverly Beach, we walked out to this sunset on the beach. The clouds were the best!
By June, my favorite place to camp is Two Medicine, GNP. Lately, I feel lucky just to get a spot! But, with some early morning maneuvering, we were set up for a few days of camping in GNP! The wind blew the first two mornings, and the sky was a blue-bird (clear sky). My last morning, the wind stopped and the sky, well, it was ok.
I have been photographing GNP for over 26 years and have hiked to Avalanche Lake multiple times. But this time was the BEST! The lighting, reflection, and sky! My hiking partner for the night (my daughter Jasmine) hung out for some time, just enjoying the night. Also, the longer we were there, the more we had the place to ourselves.
I love photographing GNP in the summer, but it is also the most challenging time of the year for me to get away. The art business is in full swing and a day's work is long. I was able to get away to Lake McDonald for sunset and came away with this image. The clouds were the best, and reflection was almost there.
Our second trip to Oregon came in late August and was meant to be more rest than photography. But I have never been to Smith Rock State Park in central OR, and we ended up camping only a couple of hours away with friends. We, therefore, decided to add a couple of more nights to our trip and camped nearby to check it out. Once again, the sky was clear, but I think I made the best of the situation.
The clear skies we had been experiencing in Oregon gave me an idea. I have had this idea for a photograph for some time. Now, having the perfect lens (20mm 1.8) it seemed like a good time to give it a try. I was hoping for the milky way to be more centered in the frame, but I think I still took a fantastic shot. This is one of my two most favorite photographs of 2021!
Fall photography in Montana for me begins on the east side of Glacier Park. But the east side in September can be tricky. One day it's 70 degrees; the next, it's 25 and snowing, and if not that, there is a 50mph wind that blows all the leaves off of the trees. 2021 was an exceptional fall with no hard freezes and no high wind storms. This image also represents a shift for me in using more telephoto lenses.
Polebridge is another area I have been focusing on for the last two years. These aspen I found nearby.
I saved my last trip to Bowman Lake for a late fall trip with the Larch trees in color.
I was very happing with the lighting, tree condition, and reflection. This year was the best I have seen it! I felt the scene needed plenty of light, and with the sun setting, I thought it was time to move on, looking for other opportunities.
Less than a mile down the dirt road, this patch of aspen was calling out to me. Now I have been looking for trees like these for some time. Last fall, a photograph I took at Big Prarie inspired me during the editing phase. So much so, that I knew I needed a new lens to capture what I was seeing. I then invested in a 100mm to 400mm tele-zoom lens.
Using that new tele-zoom was the only way I could have captured this image. As we were driving home from Bowman Lake, we spotted the almost full moon coming out, and I liked the condition of the trees. As I set up my camera and lens on the tripod and started focusing out 400mm, I noticed some activity on the far side. That Bull elk was pushing the cows around! I then yelled out to him, and as he looked up, I took the shot!
Seeing that moonrise the night before got me thinking I needed to go back one last trip for the year to the North Fork area for a moonrise over the Rockies. I carefully planned my location, and as I waited for the right time, I noticed this scene within a scene and once again got out my tele-zoom and reached out about 300mm and with that move, took my second favorite photograph of 2021! I told Meadow that every artist should have a piece called "Expressions of Color," and now I have mine. Oh, by the way, the moon came up right where I was planning, and I captured this image with my new telephoto lens.
My last photo trip of the year was to Oregon once again. I knew from previous trips the time was right for catching the fall color at Multnomah Falls, and I still wanted to visit Thors Well at the right tide. Once again, we made slight changes to our travel plans to account for the weather conditions and not hit the falls on the weekend with crowds of people. I was pleased with the results!
I also found this an excellent time to experiment with a more aristic telephoto look with my shooting. What do you think? I like it!
I really like how the trees framed this photo with the last bit of fall color holding on to the branches. I had seen this composition before, but the conditions were never quite as right as this time.
On our final day in the gorge, I captured this composition with great lighting and fall color conditions. Notice the vineyards in color in the foreground.
With forecasted storms coming off the coast, we once again made some last-minute changes to our plans and shifted our time on the coast. But finally, the tide was right, and the weather good for Thors Well.
Once that image was on the memory card, I could focus on some other ideas I had for the area. With the fall storms coming in, the waves showed so much power, and I had some ideas on how to capture that with once again, my new telephoto lens.
I took both of these shots on the same night with two different camera setups.
I love the layers of rock and waves in this image as the ocean crashes the shore.
These last two images represented my last day in the field for 2021. Silver Falls State Park in the fall! What a way to end 2021!
I spent all day walking along the South Falls river, just taking my time with the compositions.
As I hiked the long climb out of the valley, I thought I was done for the day. But, I stopped to catch my breath one last time, and this composition called out to me.
All of these images are available for sale, some on my website and the rest by messaging. Thank you for your interest!
Happy New Year!