While it is a new year, I do want to take a moment to reflect back on 2012. Compiling a few of my favorite images from the past year has become an annual affair. This task isn’t easy. Artists generally aren’t all that good at editing their own work. Boiling an entire year down to 10 images can seem like an impossible task.
But it can also help you look at your work in new ways. The passage of time has helped me evaluate some of my images with new eyes, freeing me from some of the emotional attachment to the image at the time of capture. That, in turn, helps me figure out what I like — and don’t like — about the work I’ve been producing, helping me to grow and set a direction for the new year.
In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite images from 2012:
This image wasn’t planned; I visited North Creek in Bothell, Wash., this day in search of flooded out beavers. The flood waters, however, were rapidly receding, and the beavers were safely in their lodge. I decided to hike along the creek anyway, and spotted this pied-billed grebe. The colors, the perfect circles, and the intimate moment combined to give me one of my favorite images of all time.
A Jack Horkheimer astronomy segment introduced me to the Zodiacal Light, millions of miles of comet dust that glow in the night sky around the spring and fall solstices. I traveled to Crater Lake, to the rim of the former Mount Mazama, figuring it would make a unique backdrop. And I imagine in its day, the volcano produced massive amounts of dust of its own.
A bald eagle and moon image made my list last year, but how could I pass up an image where it appears the bird is crying at the moon? (In reality, it's crying at annoying flies.)
There have been better years for wildflowers at Paradise, Mount Rainier, but add a backlit lenticular cloud ... instant favorite!
The fall color this year in the North Cascades, however, was the best I had ever seen.
I have probably spent hours gazing at this image of leaves floating off Foster Island in Seattle, Wash. It looks simple, but between the reflections, the surface tension of the still water, and sparkles of sunlight, my eye always finds something interesting to study.
This is a color image, even though it looks black and white. I spent hours photographing this tiny sea tunnel, part of the much bigger and much more well known Devils Punchbowl on the central Oregon coast.
Dry Falls, a remnant of ice age floods in eastern Washington, resulted in one of my favorite images from my first big photography tour 12 years ago. For the first time since, I went back in 2012 and was rewarded with a great sunset and, if you look really, really, really close on the right horizon, a flock of gulls that give this former waterfall a true sense of scale.
The Stanislaus “Rim of the World” viewpoint is a place people race past on their way to the Yosemite Valley. I was mesmerized by the sun trying to break through the thick fog and had to stop. Even six months later, I am drawn to the lighting and layers in this scene.
Capturing a bird in a great in-flight pose may be the holy grail of nature photography, but I always felt this beautiful snowy owl bathed in gorgeous golden light in a unique driftwood shelter was a special image.