Farewell, 2018

December 31, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

As the calendar year comes to an end, as always, I pause to think back on the shoots which have occurred over the course of the previous 12 months.

2018 was nothing if not challenging. Mother Nature was doggedly determined to make me sing for my supper, so to speak! Still, in spite of conditions which were quite often very difficult, I was happy to walk away with images with which I was happy.

At the top of my short list: photographs from two far-flung locations, along with two which are nearby.

In April I drove to Bandon Beach on the south-central coast of Oregon. This was not an insignificant road trip: it's 14 hours by car from my home to Bandon. Unseasonably warm temperatures and completely clear skies followed me most of the way. Clear skies may be wonderful to enjoy, but they're not a favorite of landscape photographers. I began to worry just a bit. Turns out, I needn't have fretted about those robin's egg blue skies! They disappeared once I got within 60 miles of the coast, and never returned. The forecast for the week turned out to be wildly inaccurate.

Bandon was socked in with flat, white skies and a fair amount of rain. Every morning I rose before daybreak and went to the beach - hoping either for a break in the cloud cover or some nice, angry skies. When neither developed, I drove further up the coast to see if I could get beyond the system. This, too, was a non-starter.

Just as I thought I might have to leave empty-handed, the skies began to clear - just a little - late in the afternoon on my last day. Again I went to sit at the beach, waiting and watching. 

In those final five hours, things came together. I was able to photograph both some of the angry skies I'd hoped for, as well as a single sunset. The latter nearly didn't happen since there was cloud cover along the horizon and the skies above me were beginning to fill in once again. However, there was just enough of an opening to create some magical conditions for a few brief moments. Disaster averted!

AglowAglowThe Wizard's Hat appears to glow as abundant mist created by gusty wind and choppy seas is lit by the setting sun. (Bandon Beach, Oregon)

A few months later, I happily returned to Southeast Alaska many years after my first visit. Mother Nature again decided to serve up a week of mostly flat skies with a fair amount of rain and chilly temperatures. Though the panhandle of Alaska is a rainforest, during the summer it's not unusual to encounter periods of sunny, warm weather. Not this time!

That said, the conditions were an asset while I was shooting in Tracy Arm Fjord. The skies were anything but flat. Before it began to rain in earnest, the sun peeked out and darkened the clouds, enhancing the stunning contrast between the icebergs and the sky.

Rhapsody in BlueRhapsody in BlueIceberg in Tracy Arm Fjord near Juneau, Alaska

Much closer to home, the spring of 2018 was exceptional in Grand Teton National Park. Following another winter with more than ample snowpack, the valley floor was superbly green in late May. Though it ended up being a lackluster monsoon season during the ensuing summer months, there were some very photogenic storms in the spring, like this one:

spring at Grand Teton National ParkSpotlight on SpringAfternoon storms forming over the Teton Range create quickly changeable - and dramatic - skies. A few rays of light break through, highlighting the lush springtime foliage. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming)

Finally, though Mother Nature has also been stingy when it comes to serving up interesting conditions very close to my home nearly all year, still there have been some exceptions. I continue to enjoy working at the derelict, fire-scarred buck and rail fence less than five miles away. In addition to its great character, because it follows a curving road and is therefore oriented in somewhat different directions, it affords me some flexibility to adapt to what's going on overhead. Moral of the story: one needn't necessarily jet off to exotic destinations to make good photographs.

The Neglected Fence IIThe Neglected Fence IIDerelict, fire-scarred buck and rail fence (Bonneville County, Idaho)

As we prepare to step over the threshold into 2019, I extend my best wishes to you and yours. Many thanks for visiting the website. May your new year be healthy and prosperous - and of course, let's hope for good light! :)


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