Tag Archives: Best photos of the year

Results of your votes for my Top Ten Photos of 2018!

Hello all,

I’ve finally tabulated the results of your votes for my Top Ten photos of 2018.  Thank you all who participated in this year’s voting and I especially appreciated the comments that accompanied many of your ballots (particularly those who tried to ‘influence the voting’ to help their favorites!   I received a lot votes, substantially more than last year, but that could have been because I also thought to include my my website’s Facebook page followers this year.  

So, with no further ado, here are the results:

#1 “Mars Attacks”

The top shot was this image of Mars and the Milky Way over the Bisti Badlands.  I spent a lonely night here and had to experiment a lot with the LLL (low level lighting) but the results were sweet! 

 #2  “Ragnarök”

This sunrise view of Lake Pehoé in Torres del Paine National Park captures the essence of Patagonia’s cruel beauty.  

#3  “Badass Badlands”

Taking the third spot was another image taken the same night as “Mars Attacks”.  Twenty-four separate 4 minute exposure were taken over an hour and combined to show the star trails circling Polaris.  This is a shot I had planned out months in advance and it was gratifying that the final result equaled my imagination.

#4 “Patagonian Juxtaposition”

This panorama of the Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate, Argentina fails to capture just how expansive and impressive the view really is.  Sometimes a photograph, no matter how good, can’t begin to capture the impact of being there in person!

#5  “Bucket List”

This shot of Mt. Fitroy was included in more top three votes than any other but on the other hand it didn’t gather as many total votes as the top 4 shots did.  But I guess that the folks that loved it really loved it.

#6 “Tatooine?  Altair IV?  Vulcan?”

This black and white version of the “Conversing Hoodoos’ in the Bisti Badlands finished in the sixth spot.   Sometime monochrome helps your eyes to focus on the essence of the image by eliminating the visual ‘ color clutter.’

#7 “Mirador”

A print of this view of Mt. FitzRoy framed by an Antarctic Beech tree and a valley of crimson autumn leaves is hanging on the wall in my den.  It wasn’t a planned shot,  I just noticed the view when I glanced over my shoulder while hiking back from a sunrise shot.  The sunrise photos were fine, but this spontaneous view captured the magnificence of Patagonia far better.

#8   ” My Kingdom for a Horse…!”

My only wildlife shot in your top ten and an underwater one at that!  Sometimes you just can’t beat cute.

#9   “Ripley’s Revenge”

I guess my “Aliens” movie reference didn’t scare off everyone.  This shot of the ‘Alien Egg Hatchery’  captures a bit of his bizarre and otherworldly nature of this famous spot in the Bisti Badlands.

#10   “”Gaucho Gump”

Rounding off the top 10 was another shot with a movie reference for a title.   This iconic view of  Route 23 leading up to El Chaltan in Patagonia reminded me of the famous Monument Valley  scene in ‘Forest Gump’ with Tom Hanks jogging down the highway.  It was far too cold for me to jog but not so frigid that I couldn’t squeeze off a frame or two.

So there you have your Voter’s Choice for my best work of 2018.   It was an exciting year for me,  photographing locations like Bisti and Patagonia that had been on ‘my list’ for ages. 

In 2019, I will visit Iceland and New England with maybe a trip to the American Southwest thrown in as well….hopefully it will be as fun and productive as last year!

Thanks again for votes!

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My Top Ten Photos for 2012

I’ve always enjoyed looking at photographer’s ‘top ten’ shots of the previous year.  What I never truly appreciated was just how difficult it is to cull down a year’s worth of labor into only ten moments…it was painful!  I had to bring my wife in to help me make the final decisions and while we did get the list down to ten, we gave up trying to rank them.  So, here is my/our first effort (in random order): Hope you enjoy!


This shot is the namesake of my website and one of my first published pieces.  I had preplanned to be in Yosemite during the short window when the ‘Firefall’ phenomenon occurs in February, but I was just plain lucky that the weather also cooperated.  The fading sunlight backlighting this ephemeral little waterfall off the side of El Capitan really makes it look like it is ablaze!  It is one of those things you just have to see to believe…you stand there in wonder forgetting to hit your shutter. Put it this way, landscape photographers (as a rule) aren’t honestly the most outgoing and spontaneous of people, but on this evening, when the firefall faded away, the dozen or so photographers capturing this scene actually broke out into applause.  An incredible evening…one that you don’t forget.



 Perfect Reflection

Okay, well we didn’t rank the shots, but this might really be my favorite:)  I can’t tell you how many shots I’ve taken of Yosemite, but this one speaks to me in a way that is unique.  El Cap reflected in the perfect morning stillness of the Merced River.



I love this shot of the Smokies…but it isn’t dramatic and its subtlety might be lost on some.    To me though, these ‘godray’s filtering down on the misty ridges of the Smokies truly capture the essence of this magical place.


Sunflower Island

If I had seen this shot a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed that the location was less than ten miles from my home!  One of the things I most appreciate about photography is that it forces you to look a the world differently and more intently.  Sometimes, it helps you ‘see’ things for the first time, even if they have been right in front of you for years.



The Fire Within

It’s a mantra to me that great shots are the result of planning and preparation.  This one was an exception to my own rule.  My wife and I stopped by Old Sheldon Church on the way to Charleston after a suggestion by a new friend.  We just happened to get there in the mid-afternoon when the sun was barely high enough to stream thru the ruins but not so low that the light was blocked by the massive live oaks.



Morning Breath

I was surprised that only two wildlife shots made in into my top ten this year but this one certainly catches your eye!  The elephant seals at the rookery just north of San Simeon are impressive (and LOUD).





“Take me to your Leader”

Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies is an unparralled location for sunrises and sunsets….sometimes.  I made the long drive up to the ‘dome’ four times during my trip there last fall, and with a single exception, the peak was fogged in every single darned time I got there.  It was insanely frustrating.   Oddly enough, this shot of my wife Anita turned out to be one of my favorite shots of the year:  because of that fog.  Sometimes, you just have to put aside your ‘pre-visualized’ shots and go with the moment.


Evening in the Valley

As you crouch in this little valley among the Calla Lillies in Big Sur, would you really be all that surprised to see a Hobbit somewhere in the viewfinder?


 Sunburst at Newfound Gap

Possibly the most impressive sunrise I’ve ever witnessed in the Smokies.  This sunrise just exploded out of an overcast sky for a couple of brief moments.  I was ecstatic that I hadn’t packed it in and headed back down the mountain like most of the photographers who had gotten frustrated by the cloud cover. Just Glorious.




When my typically non-expressive teenaged son looks at a shot and says: ‘That is incredibly precious’, I know I’ve got something good!   This little fella showed up at my house on Thanksgiving looking for goodies.

So there you have it…my best of 2012.  Wow…it is wild to take an entire year and reduce it to just ten images…kinda puts things in perspective.  Anyway, enough retrospection: On to 2013!






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