“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” - Ansel Adams
Well, to be sure, I've shared more than 12 photos in my year-end review here, but to be fair, using a digital camera allows me to produce many more photos than Ansel Adams using a view camera that took one sheet of film at a time. Whether or not the images I managed to produce this year deserve to mentioned with any of Adams' is something I'll leave to others to determine. But overall, I'm happy with the way 2022 turned out for me.
Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes was simply gorgeous. We'd first visited during an afternoon to check out the location, but decided early morning would be better as we'd hoped the winds would remove footprints and create the soft ripples in the sand.
Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, was unbelievable. The patterns the salt made gave me so much to work with photographically, but adding to it the incredibly dark skies that enabled me to capture the stars and zodiacal light, it became an unforgettable experience.
Back home in Maine in February, I took advantage of the beginning of Milky Way Season, when the Milky Way is visible in the southern sky. This happens from late February to early October, depending on what part of the country you're in. I headed to Reid State Park in frigid temperatures in the middle of the night to capture my image of the Milky Way over the Sheepscot River. All in a night's work!
I made "Against the Tide" in April, just as things began warming up. I found myself on a perch just above where the waves were crashing against Pinnacle Rock on Bailey Island. This is one of my favorite local spots to photograph and it was the perfect way to start a spring day.
In mid April, I headed to Shenandoah National Park with Kristen again. The hope was that we'd catch the spring blossoms just right and get some of those soft pastel colors. It wasn't to be as spring came a little later this year, but there were still some beautiful scenes to be had.
In May, I led a workshop here on Maine's midcoast. The first day we were blessed with an incredible sunrise on Popham Beach. I love the patterns of pools and ripples in the wet sand on Popham at low tide, and this was as good as I've ever seen it.
In late May I headed back to Bailey Island. I'd had the idea for an image of the Milky Way over Pinnacle Rock for a while, and was finally able to make it happen. It was pitch dark and about 1am when I made this. It took a little work but it felt good to finally bring this image to fruition.
In June, I headed to Oregon to lead another workshop. I've always loved the Pacific Northwest, and this trip was filled with a variety of landscape and seascape images. Before the workshop began, I headed up to Cape Disappointment just across the Columbia River in Washington. It was a stormy day and I was able to get some of the angriest waves I've ever seen!
The day after I visited Cape Disappointment, I headed to Cape Falcon, just south of Cannon Beach. I spent the entire morning in the old growth forest there, among the Sitka Spruce trees. Soft light filtered through the trees, and the coastal fog moved in and made magic happen!
July was really special, as my wife joined me on our first cross-country road trip together. It was still a work trip for me, but having her there made it special. She didn't even want to kill me after being cooped up with me in the car for 8,000 miles! We made many stops along the way, but photographically, our first stop was Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. We only spent a few hours there, but it was more than enough to show her how beautiful that park is. I had spent several days there last year with my son and my brother, so I knew just where to take her!
From North Dakota, we crossed Montana (man, Montana is HUGE), and eventually ended up on the Washington coast. From our base there, we explored North Cascades National Park. The North Cascades are incredibly beautiful! We were a bit shocked to be hiking in a few feet of snow still in mid-July!
I finished our stay in Washington with a beautiful sunset over Diablo Lake. The next day, my wife Jess and I began heading back east.
Our first stop on the way back was Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming. We got there just in time for some gorgeous late afternoon light. Jess and I did a short hike while I figured out where I wanted to photograph from. Now that I'd seen it in person, I needed to go back and re-watch "Close Encounters of the Third Kind, since this location figured so prominently in the movie.
The next day, we visited Badlands National Park for an incredible sunrise. Badlands simply looks like you're on another planet. We spent half the day exploring Badlands before getting back on the road. I was able to make some beautiful images, but my favorite is definitely "Twilight in the Badlands", above.
Once back home in Maine, I spent a lot of time editing images from the road trip. But in August, I managed to get out on the Kennebec River with another photographer in his boat and capture some sunrise images. One of the nice things about being on the river was the different vantage points to see lighthouses, like Perkins Island, above.
At the end of August, I had one more Milky Way image I wanted to make, at Lookout Point in Harpswell. I arrived in time for sunset, knowing the Milky Way would be visible just after dark. It was a gorgeous sunset, but I was anxious to capture the Milky Way over the islands visible from Lookout Point.
Capturing the Milky Way over Lookout Point was a little more difficult than I thought, but I managed to make it work. You can see the result above. It was a nice way to finish off the summer months as I headed into September.
In September, I stayed in Maine for the most part, capturing some small vignettes I'd seen while meandering about. The first at Winnegance Creek is not far from my home. I'd seen it many times while driving by and knew I wanted to capture it with morning light on it, so I finally made myself get there and do it. The waters on the creek were calm, creating a gorgeous reflection.
The second vignette was this house on the banks of the Susanna River on the Georgetown Peninsula. I've been past it several times and I know many people have photographed it, but I'd never put my own spin on it. I was glad to finally get around to it. It's just such a Maine spot that it was hard to resist.
One of the fun things about living on the Maine coast is how angry the ocean gets when there's a storm churning somewhere at sea. It makes for awesome photos. With that in mind, and a hurricane at sea, I headed up to Acadia to see if I could get some giant waves crashing against the rocks. Unfortunately, nature didn't cooperate, but as I was setting up for a landscape photo, trying to make lemonade from the lemons I'd been handed, this family of otters popped up from the rocks near Otter Cliff to spend a few minutes with me. Really made my day.
Sometime earlier this year, a friend of mine, Natalie Breton, sent me a quick phone shot of the barn above, thinking it might be something I wanted to photograph. It looked like a great subject, so... I waited. When she'd first sent it to me- I think it was back in the spring- there were no leaves on the trees and I decided I'd wait until there were. Then of course I got sidetracked and focused on other things, until one day in the fall, I had a free afternoon and decided to go find the barn. I happened to pick the perfect day, with a nice sky close to sunset, the tree next to the barn was nice and colorful and the light was perfect.
I finished out the autumn in the Great Smoky Mountainswith Kristen Wilkinson again. I've loved exploring there the previous times I'd visited, and this one was no exception. The leaves came down a little earlier than we'd hoped at the higher elevations, but we were able to capture some amazing views, and still get some good foliage at the lower elevations.
There's such a wide variety of compositions available in the Smokies. From wide vistas with mountains that stretch for miles, to more intimate landscapes. We photographed an incredible sunset from Clingman's Dome, and I managed to capture an amazing misty morning from Newfound Gap.
Cades Cove is definitely my favorite spot in the Smokies. It's especially magical when there is a low hanging mist that moves through the trees and across the meadows.
In November, my wife and I took a drive up the coast of Maine so I could photograph Sand Beach in Stonington, on Deer Isle. I had been keeping my eye on the tides and the sunset location, as I wanted the sunset as close to the island as possible. This spot seemed perfect. It turned out to be a really beautiful sunset and I decided it would make a nice long exposure, which is what you see above.
Once the leaves are off the trees, I tend to take a little break for a bit, waiting for snow to fall. I've been waiting a while here, as we haven't had much on the coast. But Christmas on the Maine coast is so magical, with Christmas trees made of lobster buoys and lobster traps popping up in many towns along the coast. I would have preferred a little snow to photograph these, but this rainy, foggy, evening in Friendship was pretty magical all on its own, without the snow.
All in all, 2022 was a fantastic year for me. I hope you all had great year, have a wonderful 2023 filled with laughter and love, and continue to follow my adventures!