Here we are at the end of 2015, and what a year it’s been! As I’ve done for the past four years in a row, I am posting my favorite images of this past year. Not necessarily the best, but my personal faves. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I finally did after a lot of going back and forth. These are not in any particular order and are of several different subjects. I hope you enjoy them! If you would like to look at my 2014 year in review you can check that out here. Best of 2014
Jim Goldstein in his Blog Project has hosted the year in review or top 10 images on his blog for a number of years, and I always look forward to it! There are photographers from all around the world with amazing images! I hope you’ll check out his blog and take a look at the wonderful array of photographers and gather inspiration from their images! His post should be up in the early part of January 2016!
As we end this year and head into 2016, I’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best in the New Year. I wish you all good health, good times, plenty of adventures and family to enjoy it with!
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. ~ Edward Abbey ~
It was a dark and dreary afternoon when suddenly a light appeared from behind a………………..
Well, actually it wasn’t quite like that, but it sounds good! 😉
This past weekend we got our first real snow of the season. It’s funny how this whole autumn has been. First it has been much warmer than usual, second the fall color came in and left much differently than in previous years. There were even a few trees with color still left on them, at least until the snow came along!
On this occasion I went out in the late afternoon to have a look at what I was hoping would be a winter wonderland. I didn’t quite find that, as some of the melting had already occurred and also wind had blown quite a bit of the snow off of the upper areas of the trees and branches. Still though, there was some snow left still clinging to the trees, and plenty still on the ground! I think we had gotten about eight inches total.
I made this photograph you see below (as well a a few others) in the few short minutes before sunset. The sun came out from behind the clouds just enough to illuminate areas of the trees and give a golden cast and brighten the snow!
After processing the image below, I decided to process it again into a black and white, or really a shades of gray version and see how I liked it. Well, I liked it a lot! See what you think.
Do you prefer this photograph in color or black and white?
I’d like to share with you one of my favorite times of year at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The time when The Peony Gardens come to life!
In early June, depending on the weather, these beautiful show stoppers begin to make their appearance. For the next couple of weeks you’ll have the opportunity to stroll through and enjoy these gorgeous peonies!
Below you’ll find a few of my images of the Peonies at Nichols Arboretum with a brief description underneath.
I have many more photos of peonies of every variety in my online galleries if you’d like to take a look!
One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉
Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.
Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!
In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”. He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.
He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.
This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:
Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor. The first one is:
These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.
“Spring Pools” captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.
This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!
In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”
In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.
I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.
Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are part of the University of Michigan system located in Ann Arbor Michigan. They contain beautiful botanical gardens, lovely wooded and open natural areas with loads of trails, wetlands and also several habitat areas for research. There is also a conservatory which is open all year round. Which we certainly need here in Michigan!
During the summer months though, everything comes to life in vibrant color!
I originally planned to talk about the many varieties of plants and flowers in this post, some wild, others cultivated. Instead I decided do that in another post, especially with the large amount of images I made.
When I began processing some of the many images from the gardens, I felt compelled to work on these that you see here, first.
Let’s start with the physical entrance to the main flower garden. A beautiful metal gate. I have photographed it previously, but this time I decided to take only a part of it. Instead of the focus being on the gardens behind it, the focus shifts to the gate itself with only a reference to what lies beyond.
Also while processing just a few of the images, they seemed more abstract in nature. Very colorful, lots of bokeh. Some peaceful, some even a bit chaotic.
I tried to get an ID on the maroon colored flower, and wasn’t able to. There were no markings there as to what it was, and after many Google searches I finally gave up. If anyone has an idea I’d be happy to hear it!
So for now enter here at the metal gate, and take a different look at this main garden which is brimming with summertime color. We’ll start with just a few images today.
Recently on a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I was taken by surprise at all of the ice still remaining on Lake Superior.
The weather on my second day there turned unseasonably warm, which happened to be the case the day I took this sunset.
On certain areas of Lake Superior you can only see ice in the far distance, in other places you are actually able to still stand on thick chunks that are floating around closer to the shore.
The day before I took this image the whole bay was a mass of floating icebergs, ranging in size from many feet wide to a few inches in width. The depth could also be 1-3 feet for those that I could see. I’m sure much larger for those in the middle of each of the Great Lakes.
I was really hoping to get some sunset images through the icebergs with loads of golden color. Well, that didn’t happen because on the next evening I arrived to find much of the ice that had been close to the shore previously, no longer there. The warm southern winds had blown it further out in the water. Only a few chunks remained close to where I was standing.
The temperatures that day had reached the upper 80’s with plenty of haze and humidity, as well as a ton of black flies and mosquitoes. Consequently the sunset was not quite what I had hoped for yet it was really colorful and quite long lasting.
This frame is one of the later ones from that night, towards the end of sunset. The colors were still strong at the time, and the ice fields visible in the distance. You can also notice a few smaller pieces of ice closer to the shore.
The funny thing to me was knowing that here in late May, there were still many remnants of this winters extremely cold weather all around me.
I’m sure that there will be ice somewhere on Lake Superior for another month or two!
Enjoy this extremely simple image, and view of color and ice in a time that you wouldn’t normally expect it!
As we slowly approach spring. I have begun to process some images from last spring that I hadn’t had the chance to get around to.
This image is from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. In this particular area the trees are tall and straight. The sunlight streams through, leaving areas of shadow and either filtered light in summer when the trees are full, or bright light in spring when leaves are just starting their re-growth.
There is one area on Skyline Drive in this section of trees that has a small place to be able to pull over, get out and walk the trails, to feel the immense height and stunning beauty of the forest.
I never tire of this place, gazing at its grandeur, inhaling the scent of the earth, relishing the warmth of the sun as it rains down, and enjoying the shade when summer heat comes.
I took many images of the trees themselves, some while gazing straight up, some using a wide angle lens to get in as much of the scene as possible.
For this image I got down in the middle of the road, hearing nothing but silence all around me. No cars coming in any direction. I felt the beauty of the road within the woods. I embraced the shadows and light. I could feel how it must feel to be an automobile passing through this greatness. What a beautiful feeling that is!
I passed through this special place at least 10 times last spring, and each time I marveled at its wonders, and never tired of seeing it again and again!
I can only imagine what it would be like to experience this in autumn, with colors of every hue! For now I shall save that for another day, and another time. Instead I will enjoy the pure green beauty of spring. One that has yet to come to most of us. Elusive this year, but in the end I’m sure it will arrive.
I hope you can get a sense of the feelings that I described here! Enjoy your piece of spring!! 🙂
As the year is drawing to a complete close, I have been reflecting on many things that happened during 2013. I know in my last post I already gave you my 10 favorite, best, or best selling images of the year.
Now I’d like to share with you a few images from this past spring that have special meaning to me. As a lot of you know. I lost my father in May. It came without much notice, and I was not able to get to him in time before he passed away. I was driving from where I live, to the hospital he was in, in another state. The news reached me when I was halfway there.
I didn’t stop driving, in fact I might have driven even faster, with lots of tears a long the way. One thing I do feel good about is that I was able to have the chance to be with him in his hospital room for a short while after he had already passed away. Many of our family members gathered around my father, as we reflected upon his life, the lives he brought together and the gifts that he gave to the world.
He was a nature lover of the purist kind, he was someone who gave me my love of all the beauty out there, and how to enjoy and capture it. He never went anywhere without his camera in hand, which was something I learned very early on.
These next few images here were taken in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. A favorite place of his. A place where we were able to spend a lot of time together, and that we both have a special connection to.
This year was one of great loss, but also of great wonder, depth, and blessings.
I wish you all the very best in this coming year, as we all travel along in this journey of life together!!
What do you do when you’re at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore and it rains the whole time your there?
I had originally planned on taking in the beautiful deep turquoise and aqua hued waters of Lake Superior. Enjoying the intense colors and vast vistas against the wonderful rock formations of Pictured Rocks.
But that wasn’t the way it went. So when things don’t go as planned, do you just through in the towel? Do you lounge around your hotel room watching longingly out the window for the weather to change, or sit in your tent, wishing you were back home?
Well, if you do, you shouldn’t! You just need to be prepared for all types of weather, not only with your gear, but in your mind!
Just go out and photograph what you can when the weather is dark, skies are overcast, and rain is coming down whether it is a drizzle or heavy rainfall!
In this case here, I ended up spending several days taking in many of the beautiful waterfalls in the Munising area. Cloudy days are perfect for waterfalls. You don’t have to try and deal with the deep contrast of light and shadow that you would have to on bright sunny days.
Just make sure to bring a sturdy tripod, some type of waterproof camera cover, many micro-fiber lens cleaning cloths, and maybe a good pair of boots!
In wet weather a good rain sleeve for your camera is the best idea, but in a pinch you can always use shower caps from the hotel, or a couple of plastic bags secured with duct tape.
Don’t let the weather keep you from getting out and doing what you love! Don’t let it keep you from taking advantage of your photography trip, or your long awaited vacation.
Get out there and have fun no matter what the skies may bring!! 🙂