Friday, December 25, 2015

Best Photos of 2015

Photographic Journeys - SkyVista Photography 10 Favorite Images of the Year
As I look back on 2015, it was one of my busiest and most productive ever. I haven't calculated how many photographs I took, but it's surely in the thousands. I was fortunate to have taken many trips, mostly in the U.S. and one memorable winter trip to Iceland.  In the U.S., my photography trips took me throughout the Pacific Northwest, the Desert Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic and Appalachia.  

It is so hard to pick just 10 favorite because I have many more, but these to me represent 10 of my best work of the year. Enjoy! 

"Temple of Time" - Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
This absolutely stunning state park was my favorite new discovery in the U.S. this year. I spent parts of two weeks exploring the park inside and out, and rank this right up there with more known favorites such as Utah's Zion and Bryce Canyon. It's a must do for anyone visiting Las Vegas or southern Utah.

"Bryce Canyon Winter Dawn" - Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
I raced up to Bryce after a big rainstorm hit Las Vegas and arrived after the storm cleared and left a fresh blanket of snow on the iconic amphitheater and hoodoos. I was the only soul braving the 10-degree temperature and strong winds but to get this shot was so worth it!

"Heart of Stone" - Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
This is another lightly visited and largely undiscovered state park gem in southern Utah. An all-day rain and sleet pounded the park, but I waited patiently and the storm cleared out just in time to cast beautiful light on this heart-shaped formation filled with precious water in the harsh desert environment.

"Ride the Light" - Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
I made my first trip to Iceland last winter and also saw the Northern Lights in person for the very first time. For 90 minutes, the sky put on an incredible, brilliant display, the Aurora Borealis dancing across the skies over this national park on the popular Golden Circle route. We were the only ones here and enjoyed our private viewing!

"Prime Parking Spot" - Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, Washington
Spring comes early to the Columbia River Gorge that splits Washington and Oregon, where carpets of purple lupine and golden balsamroot fill the scene in every direction. This old rusted car seems perfectly at home at its resting spot in the massive ranch.

"After the Storm" - Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena Crest, Oregon
One of my favorite spots on the Oregon side of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, the Preserve is filled with early spring wildflowers and I was there at the right time to capture a clearing storm as the sun went down, lighting up the sky in beautiful pink and purple light.

"Dreamtime" - Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Summer came early to Mount Rainier this year, thanks to a lack of winter snow and severe drought. I was able to capture this fleeting bit of bright pink light one evening, which showed itself for less than 5 minutes, a perfect way to cap a great day hiking the park.

"Shining Beacon" - Mount Hood, Oregon
One of my favorite scenes is this iconic view of Oregon's stunning Mount Hood from beautiful Trillium Lake.  I was on the mountain shooting fall foliage and raced back just in time to capture the peak lit up in golden goodness as the sun faded away. The severe drought left the mountain as bare as it has ever been, but the air was so still that it is still a gorgeous image and cast a perfect reflection in the lake.

"Blaze of Glory" - Wasatch National Forest, Utah
It's hard to capture unique shots of peak golden aspen trees in the fall, but I loved this composition of a stand of nail-thin tall aspen glowing in the sunlight and the strip of blue sky shining through the canopy.

"Fire and Fury" - Cape Perpetua, Oregon
Cape Perpetua is a stunning section of protected, wild coastline in central Oregon. Giant waves, with 20+ foot swells, were caused by the periodic King Tides, and I captured this huge breaker just as the sun was setting over the Pacific and the coastline was lit by rich, warm light.


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