2019 was a good year – photographically speaking. I got to see the world a bit, get my hands of plenty of new equipment and the photo conditions were often favorable to me. Who could ask for more?
January and February started with several trips to the wintery landscape of Vermont. The first part of March was spent exploring a comparatively balmy American Southwest – Sedona Arizona to be exact. May started with spring hikes through the Green Mountains of Vermont and ended in June exploring the northern mountains of West Virginia (and Vermont, again). The Summer months were perfect for navigating the Maine Coast and concluded with the landscape photography candy store that is the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Autumn took me back to New England with several foliage trips to Vermont (seeing a pattern here) and Maine’s Acadia National Park. On the home front, I was able to fit in several day trips to photograph my home turf here on Long Island. I hope 2020 is as fruitful.
At the conclusion of each year its only natural to take some time to review all my photos. It’s the first time all year that I can just sit back and find those photos of which I am most proud of. My top ten favorite photos to use the common term. My selections do not mean that they are good photos, although that is my hope. There are no hard and fast criteria for judging, no checklist that has to be fulfilled. The only criteria are that I like it or more importantly I enjoyed being there and taking that photo at that moment in time. Maybe a more fitting title for this post should be my Top Ten Favorite Photographic Moments of 2019. So here they are;
A very cold and windy January evening brought bitter cold and crashing waves with plenty of windswept sea spray. In the summer this is one of the world’s most popular beaches. This January evening during a particularly brutal winter cold snap, I had the beach to myself. Good fortune shined down on me both figuratively and literally as the sun poked out from the clouds just before sunset. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 24 – 120mm F/4)
Early Morning in early March in Sedona, Arizona and it’s chilly, more so than normal. A pre-dawn hike of Airport Rock offers a 360-degree view of the Sedona landscape. What caught the attention of my lens was this distant rock formation and the manner in which the day’s first rays of sunlight created depth and texture. The play of sunlight against the shadows is what I find most interesting. (Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 50-140mm F/2.8)
Most think winter and skiing when they hear Killington, Vermont. The truth is it is beautiful throughout the year. Autumn brings lots of visitors and photographers for nature’s annual vibrant display of reds, yellows, and crimson. I enjoy the Spring at Killington. I like the pastel colors and active cloud patterns and far fewer people. All make for good photo conditions. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 16 -35mm F/4)
The Blackwater State Park in Davis, West Virginia is famous for its many waterfalls and scenic mountain vistas. While those sites are spectacular, I find the more intimate woodland scenes more appealing. You can hike the trails of the State Park for days and find plenty of “small” scenes like this tree’s mossy root structure. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 16-35mm F/4)
This is one of four photos from Vermont that will appear in this list of ten. Fog and mist often help most scenes. It helps soften the rough edges of a subject and obscures a busy background. It also helps dampen contrasty subjects and lightens muddy shadows. White Birch trees dot the New England landscape and here the right amount of mist adds a softness I found appealing. The mist renders the three birches in the background with just the right amount of softness. If there was no mist the scene would lack separation between the birches in the back from our subject upfront. (Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 55 – 200mm F3.5)
When it comes to landscape photography the Scottish Highlands is one of the top locations in the world. I could have easily filled this list with ten photos from the Highlands. One of the top locations within the Highlands is the Isle of Skye. The landscape looks more like Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings movies then the modern-day UK. It seems that the worse the weather the better the photo opportunities. This photo was achieved after a hike in the wind-driven rain with the hope that it would stop and offer some light – even for just a minute or two. It did and I was happy. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 20mm F/1.8)
New England in Autumn is legendary for spectacular autumn color. Just get out of bed early, dress warmly head for a body of still water. You generally can count on dramatic skies, good foliage color, and a quiet mist. The perfect recipe for excellent fall foliage photos. All the ingredients were present this particular October morning in Killington, Vermont. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 28 -300mm f/4 – f/5.6)
The final Vermont photo in this group. All the same that was written for the photo above applies here, except this is a sunset shot. A very quiet autumn evening at a very quiet location. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 16 -35mm F/4)
“Autumn photography is a favorite of mine”, is the most uttered phrase by photographers around the world. So, Autumn photography is a favorite of mine. This is a beautiful old tree within fifteen minutes of my house. I am a frequent visitor to this State Park in all seasons. This particular tree has a very large fan base and gets many visitors throughout the year. My goal here was to show just a very small section of the tree’s bottom right-hand corner. The brightly colored leaves on the tree and on the ground compliment dark nebulous like tree branches. (Nikon Z6 Nikkor 24 – 120mm F/4)
This photo was taken in November at Acadia National Park’s Sand Beach. November is a great time to visit the park. It is far less crowded than the summer months and even the autumn months. It’s cold of course, but even that can help with good photos. This particular November morning started pre-sunrise as cloudy and un-promising however, my patience was rewarded. As the sun became its climb to the distant horizon and up the morning sky I was treated to ten minutes of an epic sunrise. Since it was a cold November morning I had this otherwise popular location all to myself. (Nikon D850 Nikkor 16 -35mm F/4)
You can view my top ten Vermont photos for 2019 on my imagesofvermont website.