Best of 2019


I’ve never done a “best of” retrospective of my images for the whole year. But I’m sure glad I did it this year. As I closed out 2018 I set myself a few goals. I wanted to get out more, which I sort of did, and I wanted to focus more on B&W photos. I absolutely did that as you can see with the images I’m showing here.

Yaak Creek, Montana

For President’s Day weekend, 2019, I took a road trip up to Banff National Park in Canada. I stopped along the way and as I was getting a bit disappointed in Idaho, I spoke briefly with a public utility worker and he informed me about this creek just over the border in Montana. I was already rather close, so I hopped over the border and up the road and found this wonderful break in the snow where a bit of the water was coming through. This three frame panorama is one of many images I really loved from this short shoot.

Mt. Rundle, Banff National Park

You can read the details about how I got this shot here. It’s a multi-frame exposure-averaging image used to extend the effective shutter speed. I wanted the clouds in the background and the wispiness of the clouds on the tip of the mountain to be emphasized. So I took multiple frames and blended them together in Photoshop. I could have used a 10-stop filter if it would have fit my lens, but I didn’t have an adapter to fit this lens, so I made due with this technique.

Crossing Lake Louise, Banff National Park

A Latitude Photography Podcast listener met up with me for a shoot while I was there and we headed up to Lake Louise. It was the only incredibly clear day while I was there and this image is facing south, sort of, into the shadow of the mountain. The softer light helped maintain detail and interest in the textures.

Cataract Falls Area, Stinson Beach, CA

In April I went to a web design conference in San Francisco, CA. I had a few hours after I landed to head out and get a few shots so that’s just what I did. I went straight from the airport to this spot, got a few shots and then headed back to the hotel. It was nice to get out in such a beautiful spot so close to the city.

North Platte River, Scotts Bluff, NE

On our family vacation in July I hardly shot anything. But I did get the camera out in the Denver area and Scotts Bluff, NE. And I’m glad I did. I love the story of this image, the nature of the river, the tree holding on, and the eroding bank giving way as time goes by. Lots of metaphors can be drawn from this image.

Lone Branch in the Grasses, Scotts Bluff, NE

I am always drawn in by the contrasts found in nature. Here we have the broken and long dead branch amongst the new thriving grasses. The textures, forms and shapes and lines all work together wonderfully to make a good image come to life.

Cave at Sisters Rock State Park

When I saw this on the map I was slightly intrigued so I looked it up on the Oregon State Parks website. But then it’s not even listed there and I became really intrigued. It’s a tiny park and the cave is just awesome. Especially when the tide is coming in. I took my workshop group down here on the first day of our Oregon Coast Workshop that happened in the end of August.

Secret Beach, Oregon Coast

Secret beach is definitely gaining in popularity. It takes about 45 minutes to get down there from the road, but it’s totally worth the hike. This is an exposure blend to bring back a bit of detail in the shadow areas.

Shore Acres State Park area

Shore Acres is certainly a popular place, and there’s good reason for it. The waves during a storm are second to none. Impossible to beat! On this day it was bright and clear so it was a dark Circular Polarizer and four exposures that saved the day in helping to make this an interesting compositing. The smooth water crashing on the rocks simply gives it a different sense about it.

The Ocean at Shore Acres State Park area

Pointing the camera out to see just a bit changes the scenery by a lot. I loved the S curve formed by the crashing waves and the foreground rock element that also has a bunch of water crashing on it. And then finally, a couple of sea stacks far out in the ocean finish it off for us. It’s really a treat for the eyes.

Sunset Bay State Park

When I saw that leaning tree in the left-hand side of the image I knew I needed to do something. Turns out that allowing it to be part of its environment and not a pic only for itself was the best choice. I love the way the horizon line works with the rocks which then work with the foreground element where the water is crashing over. It really came together well.

Palouse Falls State Park, WA

I love Palouse Falls and have been there many times in good weather and in terrible weather. On this trip I had some incredible mist lifting up out of the bowl and into the upper regions and then it was being blown to the side. A little bit of it is visible here in this image. I liked this image over a more traditional framing that would put the falls on the left hand side of the frame because this framing allows you to see the cliff’s edge and the trail on the far left side. Cropping it out tells a completely different story that simply isn’t as exciting to me.

Upper Falls 1, Palouse Falls State Park, WA

I’ve shot the upper falls before, but never in the autumn season. It has just the right amount of water that allows you to get close without too much to worry about (you don’t want to slip in and go over the 198 foot falls just a bit down river!) and yet there’s still good action going on.

Upper Falls 2, Palouse Falls State Park, WA

I really liked the simplicity of this shot, the two major forms of water coming down and then this solid rock standing there taking the beating. It almost didn’t make this first cut but with the texture coming through in the foreground water it earned a spot in the first round thus far.

This collection isn’t completely set. It’s just the start of this process and I hope you enjoyed them. You can see my talk about the selection process on my YouTube channel or just watch the video right here 🙂

After making the final selects I decided to make it a boxed set. These videos walk you through the process of printing and assembling the box of prints.