“Best of 2020”

To say the least, this year has been wildly different for all of us. As for myself photography wise I wasn’t able to do much traveling, as I’m sure many of you also encountered.

I did manage to make quite a few photographs this year that I really love though.

So these are my personal favorite images from this wild and crazy year, 2020!.

They aren’t in any particular order. I do hope that you like them and that they bring you some sense of peace and happiness in these very difficult times!

"Sparkling Through Autumn Trees"

A gorgeous fall day with amazing color, blue skies, and a sunburst!
“Sparkling Through Autumn Trees”
This was an extraordinarily beautiful fall day with the colorful fall foliage, bright blue skies, and magical sunshine!




“Rushing Waves and Cotton Candy Sky”
After a stormy day along Lake Superior the sky lit up just before sunset and made a beautiful ending to a day!
"Miners Castle Autumn Colors" 2

Beautiful colors of Lake superior, the stormy sky and fall color at Miners Castle!
“Miners Castle Autumn Colors”
This was a cloudy day to start out with but the fall color as well as the lovely hues of blues of both the water and sky made a very scenic view!
Life is Looking Up"

A wonderful look up during fall with its spectacular colors and a bright blue sky!
“Life is Looking Up”
Another spectacular autumn scene as I looked up at the myriad of trees and blue sky within a forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!
"Breakwater Skies 2"

Amazing clouds and colors of sunset along the rocky beach at Marquette Breakwater!
“Breakwater Skies 2”
Fabulous clouds and colors in Marquette, Michigan along the rocky beach next to the breakwater!
"Along Cut River Bridge"

Beautiful fall foliage down under Cut River Bridge in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!
“Along Cut River Bridge”
As fall foliage peaked I enjoyed a walk down below Cut River Bridge on a bright a sunny autumn afternoon!
"Autumn's Edge"
Amazing fall color and rushing waves along the shores of Lake Superior!
“Autumn’s Edge”
Waves rushing ashore and beautiful fall color were exhilarating on this late afternoon at Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan!
"Stones of Miners Beach"

Dramatic skies and beautiful calm water at Miners Beach!
“Stones of Miners Beach”
On a cloudy and off and on rainy morning at Miners Beach I captured this beautiful scene of dramatic clouds, calm water. and beautiful stones!
"Sunrise Contemplation 2"

A gorgeous sunrise along the black rocks at Presque Isle in Marquette, Michigan!
“Sunrise Contemplation 2”
This is one of a very few sunrise images from Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan on the black rocks. I witnessed spectacular color, beautiful reflections, and a sense of peace that morning! A single person was standing on the rocks also watching sunrise as a small boat passed by in the distance!
"Kitch-iti-kipi Autumn"

Beautiful reflections of trees and clouds at Kitch-iti-kipi during autumn!
“Kitch-iti-kipi Autumn”

This was a beautiful and peaceful autumn day at Kitch-iti-kipi with fabulous reflections of the clouds, evergreen trees, and larch trees along the water!

I hope that you enjoyed this look back on my Best of 2020 images!

My wish for this coming new year for everyone is that all of us in the world are able to experience a safer, healthier, happier, more peaceful, and more beautiful life in 2021!

My very best to all of you,

Cheers,

Rachel Cohen

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“All is Gold”

Fall in the Allegheny National Forest in PA. this year was a spectacle of gold when I visited! Here are a three of my favorite images from the visit.

“The Midas Touch”
The magic of sunlight through fall foliage gave an All is Gold feeling throughout the forest!
The fog had been heavy this particular morning but was just beginning to dissipate and the sun started streaming through just as I turned the corner. I quickly popped out of the car and made a few shots before it all disappeared. Just more magical gold!
“Absorbed in Autumn”
A wonderful walk in the forest with the cool crisp air, bright sunshine, and colorful leaves!

Thanks for taking a look! In my next post which should be coming up soon, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite images of 2019. So stay tuned for that!

“Upper Peninsula of Michigan”

In this first image you’ll see beautiful Lake of the Clouds, which is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

This year as usual when the end of summer approached, I started planning for my fall photography trip or trips. I couldn’t wait to see the world around me turn to gold, orange, and red! As it turned out in Michigan, as well as many parts of the country and world, timing was a bit off. I had to keep changing the dates of my trips to adjust to the lack of fall color where I was going.

Finally in early October things started to look more positive, and I headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which I do every year, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

One of the most beautiful places to me, in the Western UP, is Lake of the Clouds. I drove from the city of Marquette out to The Porcupine Mountains to get there. It was raining heavily the whole way out, but I had been watching the weather forecasts and radar earlier in the day, in hopes that there might be some kind of clearing by the time I arrived.

As you can see from the photograph above the clouds were still thick but oh so beautiful as the rain storm had broken and rays of sun were changing the landscape. I felt such a wave of relief come over me with each passing minute with the continuously changing weather!

Last year, although beautiful in it’s own right, my entire trip to Lake of the Clouds, and indeed most of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was filled with very heavy rain and thick fog. This time though was wonderfully different and I was so thankful!

"sunshine on Lake of the Clouds" Almost totally clear at "Lake of the Clouds" on a bright fall afternoon!
“sunshine on Lake of the Clouds”
Almost totally clear at “Lake of the Clouds” on a bright fall afternoon!

After nearly all of the clouds had passed, and as I moved from one vantage point to another, the sun began shining on nearly everthing in late afternoon, illuminating all the trees in their glorious fall color! This was the final payoff before I left the area and made my way back to Marquette.

 

"Presque Isle Reflections" Beautiful clouds reflected in the pools of water on the rocks at Presque Isle Park.
“Presque Isle Reflections”
Beautiful clouds reflected in the pools of water on the rocks at Presque Isle Park.

In Marquette, Michigan at Presque Isle Park I had also been trying to escape the rain. Upon arriving everything was wet with a light drizzle and quite overcast. I decided to enjoy myself regardless of the weather, and honestly in this location there is so much to see, and quite enjoyable no matter the time of year or type of weather!

The clouds began breaking just a bit in different ways which created beautiful reflections in some of the pools of water on these volcanic rocks.

"Rocky Stormin" Sunlight and storm clouds on the rocky shores of Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.
“Rocky Stormin”
Sunlight and storm clouds on the rocky shores of Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.

In this last image the sun was shining brightly on the rock with dark clouds in the distance. It created a beautiful contrast to the scene! Darkness and light, warmth versus cool, and plenty of texture!

I hope to share more of my images from my trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with you in future blog posts. I surely hope you enjoyed these! ๐Ÿ™‚

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“Golden Rays of Light”

 

One very early morning just a few days ago I decided to take a drive in the countryside on some local dirt roads. It was foggy and nearly dark when I started, but as the sun rose I was rewarded with an amazing sunrise with golden rays of light streaming through the trees as I drove along.

The image above is a tighter version of the first tree I saw, with many streams of light coming through the fog. Simply dreamy to me!

 

"Your New Day Rising" Stunning Golden sunrise through the fog!
“Your New Day Rising”
Stunning Golden sunrise through the fog!

 

In this next image I got as close as I could to a cornfield with a lone tree and an amazing sunrise just atop the tree! What a glorious morning! As the nights are cooler with autumn having arrived, I hope for a few more mornings to enjoy the fog before it turns to frost!

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“Covered Bridge”

 

These two photographs are of the lovely covered bridge on Pierce Stocking Drive located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore.ย They were both made in early autumn when most of the trees were still full with green foliage. You’ll notice just a few with a bit of color change.

Whenever I’m in the Traverse City area of Michigan, I always head out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, and to Pierce Stocking Drive. It’s always beautiful no matter the time of year!

These two images are at slightly different angle from each other, and one is processed to give it a bit more of a magical feel!

Do you like one better than the other? Is it the angle, the processing, or both? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

"Through the Covered Bridge" The same beautiful covered bridge but with a bit of a magical air to it!
“Through the Covered Bridge”
The same beautiful covered bridge but with a bit of a magical air to it!

“The Blue Ridge in Summer”

I was going through some of my photographs recently of The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia that I made during a Mid-June trip. I found these two images of a very beautiful, humid, and stormy summer day in the mountains!

The clouds were dark and heavy as was the air all around. The kind of ย air with humidity that gives layers of haze in the distance, and feels thick to breathe.

The forests were full of trees and were a lush green from previous rains, giving beautiful contrasts of colors in both greens and blues!

I’m looking forward to heading back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park sometime this spring or summer. There’s always an ever changing landscape there just waiting for me around the bend!

"Storm on Blue" Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.
“Storm on Blue”
Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.

“In Fog and Mist”

Earlier this past fall, I made a week long trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I knew that fall color was a little later this year than last so I felt really good about my timing. What I couldn’t predict, and really, who can, was the weather! During the seven days there I had only one day of sunshine, but without a cloud in the sky. The rest of the days were either rainy or at least drizzling and or foggy. I had so hoped to see Lake of the Clouds in good weather. Oh well, it certainly was “In the Clouds” is all I can say! Both fog and mist!

It rained the entire time I was there, and of course I had forgotten to bring an umbrella, so I used shower caps, and other plastic bags to cover my camera and lenses. Anyway,ย I was thrilled to see this beautiful place no matter what the weather was, but I had hoped to come back with images of gorgeous fall color and amazing clouds! Oh well, at least I did get some amazing fog and mist, and I could see there was wonderful fall color underneath all that fog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

"Lake of the Clouds in Mist" A foggy, misty, and rainy day at Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains of MI.
“Lake of the Clouds in Mist”
A foggy, misty, and rainy day at Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains of MI.

After leaving Lake of the Clouds and the Porcupine Mountains, the weather only got worse. I headed east towards Marquette, having rain coming down in buckets at times, and at other times a drizzle or mist. About halfway between where I was, and where I was going, I passed by Lake Plumbago. My eyes nearly popped out of my head! Wow amazing reflections! I made a U-Turn in the middle of the road and went back to a lovely roadside park next to the lake. It was mildly drizzling at the time so I got out my tripod and camera and spent the next 15 minutes or so there just making photographs of the fall color and reflections and really just enjoying the eye candy!

"Lake Plumbago Dream" Beautiful Lake Plumbago on a misty and foggy day. The reflections were amazing though!
“Lake Plumbago Dream”
Beautiful Lake Plumbago on a misty and foggy day. The reflections were amazing though!

 

We’ve had a pretty dreary winter this year, not as much snow, but plenty of clouds. I’m really ready to see some amazing color! I will have to wait half a year or so to see this kind of color again, but in the meantime I’m getting ready for the arrival of spring flowers! I hope your area has started to see some signs of spring, or if you live down under, I hope you are beginning to see some brilliant fall foliage!

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“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”

It was a dark and dreary afternoon when suddenly a light appeared from behind a………………..

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray"   A  wonderfully moody  black and white version of  "On a Golden Afternoon"
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray” A wonderfully moody black and white version of “On a Golden Afternoon”

Well, actually it wasn’t quite like that, but it sounds good! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

"On a Golden Afternoon"  Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.
“On a Golden Afternoon”
Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.

 

Do you prefer this photograph in color or black and white?

 

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“Winter Forest”

On a very very cold winters walk not too long ago, I ventured out towards the woods. The trees and everything else I could see, was covered in gorgeous glistening Rime Ice. Well, I say Rime Ice because it didn’t seem to meet the conditions for Hoar Frost. If you think you can tell the difference, feel free to leave me a note!

The sun had only been up for a short while when I first went out, but by the time I reached this location it had been out for a while. Still low enough though to capture the beauty of the sunlight on the branches. There were some pretty nice long shadows on the snow also.

I came away with totally frozen fingers despite wearing gloves, but it sure was lovely! We’ve had so many dreary winter days so far this winter. Today happened to be one of them, but on this day here, the sun was shining brightly with pure blue skies.
At least for a couple of hours or so till the clouds moved it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

"Frosty Forest"
“Frosty Forest”

Beautiful sunlight on frosty trees.

"Forest Shadows"
“Forest Shadows”

Sunlight through frosty trees and long shadows on the snow! I decided to go monochrome on both of these images. I think it works well here. How about you?

“In the Heart of Winter”

“In the Heart of winter”

A path so light yet cold through winter boots,
Trees lined, tangled and heavily laden,
This I find in the heart of winter.

A biting cold, light snow coming down,
Small branches covered in white,
This I find in the heart of winter.

A trail not smooth it’s fraught with lumps,
One persons walk is another’s ski strides,
This I find in the heart of winter.

Heavy skies downy white,
North winds blow bringing in flakes each one not akin to the other.
This I find in the heart of winter.

Some skies hold a promise others do not,
The fruit of the sky lies in waiting on endless branches.
This too I find in the heart of winter.

~Rachel Cohen ~

"Winter's Silence"
“Winter’s Silence”