Top 10 Favorite Images from 2013

As is the tradition here, I always post what I considered my top 10 favorite images of 2013 or the “Best” in my eyes. Some have been shared, some may have not yet been posted and may be new. This year I’ve added a little bit my choices. Enjoy!

Evening descended and dark clouds moved slowly across the sky to the north on a cool, spring evening at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in far western Nebraska. As the sun set in the west, it's orange glow illuminated the scene with fiery oranges and reds, briefly before being lost below the horizon.
Agate’s Angry Sunset

For me, this is an example of where everything came together as a photographer. I had planned this trip to Agate Fossil Beds in northwestern Nebraska for quite some time. I had wanted to climb up high and get a stunning sunset shot. When I first hiked up a storm was brewing and I was concerned that the light wouldn’t come. I munched on an energy bar and waited it out. Just as sunset hit, the sun broke through the clouds and nature provided a stunning show.

A Nokoni Morning
A Nokoni Morning

This beautiful lake is about a 10 mile hike from civilization. It’s clear, pristine water beautifully reflects the mountains and was very refreshing. For the reminder of the serenity alone, this photograph is one of my favorites.

Swollen from several inches of rain, the full and fast Big Thompson River flows through Rocky Mountain National Park.
Big Thompson Abstract

I love when nature provides great abstracts while still being recognizable. This image of the Big Thompson in Colorado is a simple image of design and form and one that has grown on me over time.

As the North Inlet River flows through the west part of Rocky Mountain National Park, cascading gently over rocks and around the summer wildflowers.
North Inlet Cascades

I have twice camped near this cascade a several mile hike into Rocky Mountain National Park. Besides the reward of seeing such beauty in a remote location, I love how the water flows through the image with the flowers popping in the background.

The previous night a storm had moved through Sandhills and Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in western Nebraska. As the morning sun rose in the east, the grasses and clouds glowed with vibrant pastel colors.
Dawn Over the Sandhills

Although I tend to try to keep to only nature shots, windmills are ubiquitous with western Nebraska. On a beautiful morning in the sandhills just after a rain, the clouds and landscape came together with this windmill and I had to capture this symbol of the Sandhills.

Near the end of the day, in the marshes of the Kawuneeche Valley in western Rocky Mountain National Park, a Moose calf and cow nuzzle in the setting sun before getting ready to bed for the night.
A Mother’s Love

Who doesn’t love photographs with mother and children, even if they are moose? Afrer watching these moose for at least an hour, just prior to sundown this calf nuzzled his mother instantly becoming one of my favorite photos of that trip to Colorado and of the year 2013.

Morning sun streams across Great Sand Dune National Park and Preserve creating contrasts among the dunes.
Sand Dune Contrasts

From a purely academic aesthetic perspective, in art s-curves are one of the most sought after designs. This near perfect s-curve in the Sand Dunes of Colorado glowed in the morning sun and provided a great landscape for an abstract nature shot.
Brilliance Revisited

Lake Helene is one of my favorite lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I had visited before, but had wanted to visit again to see the brilliant alpenglow on Notchtop. My hike was rewarded when the sun crested and illuminated the mountain in a warm glory.

The oldest known fossil of a sandhill crane is from 9 million years ago. For longer than there have been sandhills in Nebraska this beautiful avian has taken to the skies and glided gracefully, migrating thousands of miles. This Sandhill Crane takes off from the Platte River. Each February through April hundreds of thousands of cranes migrate through the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska.
Morning Flight

The Sandhill Crane migration through central Nebraska is an incredible sight. This year I stayed in a photo blind overnight and had a chance to really get close to these creatures. I’ve already reserved my blind again for this year.

A ring-necked pheasant struts during the late spring at Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Ring-Necked Pheasant

On a beautiful spring morning in the remote Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, I watched and photographed this pheasant for some time as he moved and displayed. Simply put, I love the colors and beauty of Ring-Necked Pheasants and I feel this photograph really shows that.

Dusk Descends on Kawuneeche Valley
On a quiet evening in mid-July wildflowers bloom near a stream as the sun sets behind the Never Summer Range in western Rocky Mountain National Park.

Although, this is technically the top 10 photographs of 2013, I had to add one more. Kawuneeche Valley on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park is another one of my favorite areas of the park. Here, moose, elk and other critters come down to the valley to the head of the Colorado River. What you see in this photograph is a stream that eventually grows to a raging river that cut the Grand Canyon. Amazing how something starts so small, but then becomes so powerful.

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