My Twelve Best of 2014

Every year I publish a “Top 12 Photographs of the Year” article and every year I swear that it seems to be the most difficult blog I have to write.  Well, actually, the writing isn’t that bad…but picking out just twelve shots…man, that’s a challenge.   I struggle for hours trying to whittle down the list and inevitably, I have to ask my wife and son to both come over to the monitor to help me with the last few selections.

Ah well..you don’t want to hear about writer’s anguish…you want to see photos.  So, in no particular order, here are my personal favorites of the year!

#1)  Moonlight on my Shoulder

2014  Roadtrip  June 30 00512_crop

My son Ryan and I hiked out into White Sands National Monument this summer and enjoyed a killer sunset together.  Once it started getting dark, we headed back to the car as the moon rose and the sands turned to an intense shade of blue.  After a few minutes, I glanced behind me and caught Ryan taking this last, pensive glance at the surreal scene.

 #2) “Beaufort Bruisers”

2014 Alaska 091614 03062

A highlight of the year was a ten day photo adventure to the Arctic Circle.  On that trip I watched and photographed these two young polar bears while they had a good natured but rambunctious rumble near the village of Kaktovik.  Gazing at these magnificent apex predators from the nearby deck of a small boat was a rush!

#3)  Gotterdammerung2014 Alaska 091814 04301skew

I got the opportunity to fulfill a childhood wish in 2014 by seeing and photographing the Northern Lights…and it was all I had hoped it might be.  In this shot, I love how the road on the bottom right reflects the green of the Aurora while the sliver of a river to the left mirrors the deep red in the sky above it

#4) Shock and Awe

2014  Roadtrip  June 28 01284_-Recovered crop

I’ve stood on this bridge in Zion National Park with dozens of others photographing the Watchman at sunset more than a few times.  But standing at the same spot at midnight without another soul in sight while gazing up at the glory that is the Milky Way was a whole new and amazing experience.   Sometimes I am truly awed and shocked by the beauty of our universe.

#5) Target Acquired

Hummingbird Photography: A 6 Step Guide with Hummingbird Photo Tips If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you already know that I have an unbridled fascination with Hummingbirds.  This shot displaying the full wing and tail extension of a Ruby-Throated hummer captures some of the dramatic energy that captivates me.   I photographed this little jewel in my home ‘hummer studio’ that I set up every year right outside the window where I write this blog.

#8) Moonbow

2014  Yosemite  April 16 00011_

Before 2014, I didn’t know that you could seen a rainbow at night.  But in February, I stood before Yosemite Falls under a full moon and shook my head in disbelief as I captured this shot.  One of the things I love about photography the most is that it encourages me to learn and see more of the world!

#7)  Leviathan

2014 Georgia Aquarium February 15, 2014 00076 Copyright

One big ticket item on my ‘bucket list’ is to swim with whale sharks.  I haven’t had a chance to make that dream a reality yet, but seeing this whale shark at the Georgia Aquarium was a taste of things to come.

#8) Georgia on my Mind2014  Georgia Waterfalls  May 13 00326__HDR NIK crop

If someone asked a random group of 1,000 photographers to name their favorite waterfall in North America, I’m willing to bet that Minnehaha Falls would probably not be mentioned by any of them.  But I think this secluded cascade in the mountains of northern Georgia is one of the most photogenic waterfalls I’ve seen anywhere.  Even better, since it isn’t well known, you will probably be the only one there to enjoy its beauty.

#9) Heaven’s Arch

Milky Way captured at Bryce Canyon during a new moon.

Milky Way captured at Bryce Canyon during a new moon.

I was able to capture the full arc of the Milky Way at a spot along the Navaho Loop Trail on this moonless, cloudless night.  It almost looked like one end of the Milky Way was shooting stars out of Thor’s Hammer….

#10) Good Morning Sunshine!2014 Beach 03 September 00770

This sunrise at Melborne Beach in Florida was blessed with one of the most magnificent sunbeam halos I’ve ever seen.

#11)  Lighting the Way2014 June Acadia (178)

Bass Harbor Light is one of the East Coast’s most iconic locations for photographers.  And with good reason:  A lighthouse perched on a rocky cliff, reflecting pools, huge multi-colored granite blocks, crashing surf…what more could a photographer ask for?
As much as I love this spot, it took a number of trips over five years before I was lucky enough to catch a sunset that was equal to the setting.

#12) Morning Wind

2014 Alaska 091214 00105

The ancients called it the “Morning Wind” and it has amazed mankind since we first looked toward the heavens.   As I stood on the banks of the Chena River near Fairbanks last fall, this Aurora weaved and swayed in a sensuous dance that simply awed me.

 

Well there you have it.  2014 was a truly a wonderful year for me.  I was blessed to have the chance to travel and photograph some truly amazing sights and I am excited to see what 2015 will bring.  Thanks for reading my blog and sharing these adventures with me over the past year!

Jeff

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8 Comments

  1. Wayne January 15, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    Those are twelve photos to be proud of! They are truly inspirational.

    • Jeff Stamer January 19, 2015 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks Wayne…I truly appreciate it!

  2. evelyneholingue January 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    Woah! Simply gorgeous. Of course a couple of them are my favorites too! Yosemite. Bar Harbor. And the rest are in fact the ones that made me follow your blog. To many more photos and journeys in 2015! Best to you and to everyone admiring your work.

    • Jeff Stamer January 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Evelyne, It is always wonderful to hear that my photos are appreciated. I hope 2015 is all it promises to be!

  3. Debra Petre January 5, 2015 at 6:07 am #

    Magnificent captures! Your images are so gorgeous. I really like how you tell a story with each one of your photos, you can really feel the passion you have for photography and see the true beauty in nature. What incredible opportunities you had this past year-good for you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeff Stamer January 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

      Glad you liked the photos Debra and I particularly appreciate that you noticed the effort I put into telling a story with each shot. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Have a great 2015!

  4. Ed Rosack January 4, 2015 at 5:30 am #

    Wow, Jeff – you had an incredible year of travel and photography!

    • Jeff Stamer January 4, 2015 at 6:03 am #

      Thanks Ed…2014 was a heck of a year…I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 will bring!

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