My Favorite Landscape Images of the Year
2013 was a year where I expanded my boundaries both metaphorically and physically. It was a year of stretching myself and adapting to unforeseen circumstances on the fly. Overall, despite some major setbacks it was the most memorable year I experienced in the field. However, this post isn’t to share any personal stories, but to provide you with a synopsis of my travels and a sample of my favorite shots.
My calendar started off with a bang as I was fortunate to take a large-scale trip to New Mexico and Texas, where I visited both White Sands NM and Big Bend NP for the first time. Considering my length of stay, the light was mostly mundane and I came away with only about dozen or so keepers. However, I had some very memorable backpacking adventures! These are two of my favorites shots from that trip…
April was a quite month, but I traveled again in early May during a return visit to my home state of Pennsylvania, my first since 2010. Although I had originally planned for an earlier visit, my timing couldn’t have worked out better as it seemed to coincide with the peak of Spring. During my ten day stay I embarked on three, separate excursions where I captured this image below. This session turned out to be my most productive, single shooting day of the year…
The month of June brought what-was-supposed to be my biggest trip of the year. A three week, backpacking intensive tour of SW Colorado. However, on my drive into the Centennial State I encountered a major obstacle when I noticed a billowing, mushroom cloud of smoke visible 30 miles south of Farmington, NM. ”The West Fork Fire” quadrupled in size that day eventually transforming itself from a small, localized blaze into a national news story. Huge swaths of wilderness were scorched, but it was the road closures that drastically altered my plans.
The fire severely limited the areas that I was able to explore and also affected the air quality eventually forcing me to cut my trip short by several days. I was lucky though as many local businesses were crippled by the lost revenue of the natural disaster as it occurred during peak tourism season. Below are my favorite images from approximately 12 days of shooting…
The flames were gone by the time I returned to Colorado in mid August, but my itinerary this time around called for a single, grand adventure. I captured the image below over the course of forty plus miles on foot during a trek into the wild Weminuche, Colorado’s largest wilderness area. Pictured below is the 13,617 ft iconic peak known as the Guardian – probably my favorite shot of the year.
My last visit to the Rocky Mountains in 2013 occurred six weeks later in early October. Unfortunately, my trip was (again) cut short due to extenuating circumstances. It was an unusual autumn in Colorado as color change happened much later than normal. Additionally, many areas were severely affected by leaf mold.
These factors resulted in an abbreviated version of my original itinerary as I spent less than a week there when I had originally budgeted for two. I still came away with many splendid shots and this is possibly my favorite.
I did get out to shoot in November, but not any of those images made my top picks. The last month of the year, was perhaps, my most busy in terms of photography. It produced three separate trips in three different states. Again, my timing wasn’t ideal for the conditions I was hoping for, but I still came away with several solid images. These were arguably three of my favorites from the month.
I’d love to read about your opinions. Please tell me which images you think are the best of the lot and I hope to share with you many more tales and pictures in 2014!