Top 10 Favorite Images from 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I hope everyone had a great year and I wish everyone a wonderful 2017. As is tradition, during this time I review and reflect upon my photography from the previous year and look forward to the next year. As usual, there are some that when I captured them I knew there would be my favorites and there are some that grew on me throughout the year to become my favorites. Throughout the year I was fortunate to travel to California, Washington, and Colorado and to some of my favorite locales in Nebraska.

Before I being I always want to mention that the previous year’s favorites are available from these posts: 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Also, all the images from 2016 are available to view: Images from 2016.

As with every year, with each selection I consider the technical and aesthetic aspects, but also if they hold any special memory or meaning for me. The following images are in no particular order.

Mountains glow with the last light of a cool autumn day while an almost perfect reflection shimmers in Nanita Lake.
Lake Nanita Reflection

Lake Nanita is found a fair distance in the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park, approximately 10 miles from the trailhead. I first visited this beautiful lake a few years ago and wanted to return to photograph it again. While hiking up to the lake a storm blew into the area and dropped rain and hail almost making me turn back. Forging ahead, the sky began to clear and the wind stopped long enough for a still reflection to appear just as the last bit of sun illuminated the peaks.

A stand of aspens stands among the snow along the road to Stevens Pass in the Wenatchee National Forest.
Stand Among the Snow

On a cold, wintry day in the Wenatchee National Forest of Washington, I captured this stand of Aspens after a light snowfall. Although there is little color, I was drawn to the contrasts and shapes of the trees.

Storm Brewing - Colorado Landscape Photograph
Storm Brewing

I came across this wooden barn earlier in the year in Rocky Mountain and captured this image: Twilight in the Kawuneeche Valley. I wanted to return under different conditions and these dark stormy clouds proved to be a great backdrop to as contrast to the wooden color.

Near dusk in Summerland Park in western Rocky Mountain National Park, a bull Moose quietly crosses the North Inlet stream.
Big Bull Moose

While hiking through Rocky Mountain National Park, this big Bull Moose meandered along the North Inlet stream giving me an opportunity to capture him crossing (from a safe distance of course). I loved being able to watch this large, magnificent creature wander about near this beautiful stream.

A collection of sand dunes glow in the morning sun at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.
Illuminated Dunes

As with the aspens above, I love finding interesting shapes and contrasts in nature. The Great Sand Dunes prove to be a perfect place to isolate shapes and shadows created by sand. I particularly enjoy watching the rising sun create deep shadows and cast a warm glow across the landscape.

Several days of rain bring much needed moisture to Joshua Tree National Park. After these storms wildflowers bloom abundantly throughout the landscape.
Dusk Over Joshua Tree

I first visited Joshua Tree National Park in 2015. The desert landscape was starkly different from any other landscape I had previously photographed. I returned in May of 2016 to photograph and was greeted by flowers blooming from the recent rains.

A red fox pounces on unsuspecting prey in the Kawuneeche Valley of western Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

This fox was a visitor to my campsite in Rocky Mountain National Park and I welcomed his playful nature. I watched as he searched out prey throughout the meadow and was thrilled to be able to capture him mid-pounce.

For almost an hour I watched as the clouds danced along the tops of the Mummy Range in the northern area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The sun slowly set in the west casting long shadows along the tundra.
Cloud Ballet

I love visiting the tundra area of Rocky Mountain National Park. Here you can be above the world and watch for miles as clouds dance across the mountain tops and through the valleys. I also enjoyed how the late afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the landscape.

A beautiful dawn over Lake McConaughy in western Nebraska illuminates clouds with bright pink hues as they float lazily in front of the moon.
On the Shores of Lake McConaughy

Unusually, I only have one Nebraska image in this year’s selection. I have wanted to photograph the largest lake in Nebraska, Lake McConaughy, for quite sometime. In 2016 I made a point of stopping and captured this beautiful sunrise over the calm lake. I loved having the moon as a small detail in this composition.

Light graces the tops of the Sand Dunes in the distance as the sun peaks over the Sangre De Cristo range.
Grazed by Sunlight

This second image from the Great Sand Dunes National Park was one I passed on processing for several months. When I came back to it I loved how the shapes of the illuminated dunes mirrored the shapes of the mountains in the distance. I was glad that I give it a second look as it made it in my top 10 favorites for the year.

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