“Best of 2017”

This year has gone by really quickly. So much so that I didn’t think I would actually have time to get together my usual end of the year post. These ten images are my personal favorites for the year, or my “Best of 2017”.

This is the 6th year that I have done a “Best of” at the end of the year,  and I would like to thank Jim Goldstein for graciously hosting the Best Photos Project each year. You can check out mine and many many other photographers end of the year posts on his blog!

If you would like to see my “Best of” for 2016, you can find that here.

Also if you’d like to go back to 2015, you can check that out here.

“Silo Sunset’
One of my favorite sunsets of this year!

After a very stormy spring day in SE. Michigan I was happily surprised by an amazing array of clouds as they moved quickly by during a sunset on a local farm!

 

“Peace of Autumn’s Song”
Beautiful reflections on an early autumn day!

You’ll see this lake featured twice here in this post. This image was on a cloudy and extremely still, fall day. The trees, especially the birches gave beautiful reflections in the water!

 

“Leaves in Gold and Bronze”
Fallen leaves in shades of gold.

After all of the leaves had fallen and nothing was left except the crunch of brown and gold underfoot I decided to make just a few images of these beauties!

 

“Effervescent Glow”
Lovely sparkling dewdrops on the grass in the early morning!

I had a lot of fun during a couple of fresh and dewy mornings this year photographing the sunlight as it danced off of the dewdrops in the grass. As a lot of you know, I love nature abstracts!

 

“In Love with Life”
Lovely tulips at the 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan.

I was extremely happy to have had the opportunity to go to The Tulip Festival in Holland, MI. this past spring!

 

“The Stones”
Beautiful and very colorful stones from Lake Superior!

Every time I’m in Marquette, Michigan I always enjoy the beautiful assortment of rocks and stones in the area. These colorful stones on Presque Isle are some of my favorites!

 

“Presque Isle Sunset Glow 2”
A wonderful sunset from Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.

While at Presque Isle Park I almost always make time to stay for the sunset. It almost never dissapoints!

 

“Munising Falls Gold”
A golden start to autumn at Munising Falls in Munising, Michigan!

Munising Falls is beautiful no matter what time of year, but fall is always my favorite!

 

“When in Love”
This was an especially beautiful day along Lake Plumbago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

Lake Plumbago is one of those places I pass by quite often while in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I would have to say that for me it has almost always been foggy and or raining when I pass by. That of course has its own beauty, and I have plenty of photos from that type of weather, but this time there was a striking difference, and actually quite welcomed!

 

“Windermere Hotel Mackinac Island”
One of my favorite places to stay on Mackinac Island!

I have always loved the look of yellow houses with white picket fences, so naturally the first time I set eyes upon the Windermere Hotel on Mackinac Island, it became a must for me to stay there! It is filled with Victorian charm and has such a lovely presence on the Island.

It just happened that this year while on the Island I was graced with bright blue skies which made a wonderful contrast to the beautiful yellow color of the Windermere!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a tiny glimpse into the year of 2017 with me. I wish all of you a very Happy and prosperous New Year, both in your lives and in your photographic adventures! 🙂

 

I’d like to end this post 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 ~ 🙂

 

 

 

“Tulip Festival”

I was fortunate to be able to attend The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan this spring. I have been one other time but that particular year the tulips hadn’t even begun to bloom.

I was rewarded with beautiful tulips and daffodils this year at the festival, among many other types of flowers.

The lovely purple tulips above were some of the last I was able to see that day as the sun got lower in the sky.

The images below give you some idea of the abundance of tulips and wonderful color there at the Tulip Festival!

“Daffodil Tripartite In Sunlight”
Just lovely little daffodils set against brightly colored tulips at The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, MI.

 

“Tulips in Rows”
Beautiful rows of tulips with trees and flags in the background at The Tulip Festival.

 

“Tulip Festival Holland”
Enjoying all of the many varieties of tulips at The 2017 Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan!

“Crystal Plumage”

The title of this post might seem a bit strange when you see this first photograph of some beautiful yet very simple leaves on a row of plants. In fact, I have no idea what these plants are.

I had originally gone out looking for some late summer flowers. Unfortunately it turned out to be a pretty windy day. The few flowers that I found weren’t very cooperative in the wind.

As I went around to the other side the garden I found rows of these leaves. They had a really nice flow to them. My first inclination, after making one simple photograph was to do a long exposure and have a nice motion blur effect. I made three photographs using different exposures.

My favorite out of the ones I made was the second image you’ll see here. It had just the right silky flow that I envisioned in my mind.

Please scroll down to see that image and also the image that gave me the idea for the title to this post.

These are beautiful leaves by themselves with a nice flow.

"Long Leaves"
“Long Leaves”

In this image I used a slightly longer exposure to blur the motion and give it a soft, silky, and flowing feel.

"Ride the Wind"
“Ride the Wind”

What I did in this next image is a different story altogether.

"Crystal Plumage"
“Crystal Plumage”

After I had processed the previous photograph in Lightroom, I decided to reprocess it again in Lightroom for a totally different effect.
I played around with solarization a bit, which I have done many times before with certain types of plants, especially succulents and cactus. However I almost always process these in monochrome.                                                              This time as I was trying out the different colors and effects, I found that I really liked the way the blur of leaves took on a look of bird plumage! Maybe some exotic bird from a far away location! The colors are of course totally unlike the original, but to me they looked like Crystal Plumage!

So if  you are a Lightroom user, but haven’t yet tried out the solarization panel,  I advise you to give it a try for something really fun and different!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos! 🙂

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“The Humble Sunflower”

Behold the humble sunflower! Could there be a happier and sunnier flower? Enjoy these images and quotes!

"One Summer Day" A beautiful flower with a sunny disposition!
“One Summer Day”
A beautiful flower with a sunny disposition!

I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.
~Helen Mirren~

"Sunflower Halved" Wonderful sunlight streams through this beautiful half of a sunflower!
“Sunflower Halved”
Wonderful sunlight streams through this beautiful half of a sunflower!

Does she realize she looks like a sunflower, ready to rain sunlight on all who look down upon her?
~Simone Elkeles~

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”

~Helen Keller~

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“In the Morning Light”

These images speak for themselves. What more can me said about gorgeous morning sunlight! Pure happiness!

"Sun Drenched Orchids" Wonderful morning sunlight illuminates these lovely purple orchids!
“Sun Drenched Orchids”
Wonderful morning sunlight illuminates these lovely purple orchids!
"Morning When I Rise" Gorgeous and golden marigold in the beauty of the rising sun!
“Morning When I Rise”
Gorgeous and golden marigold in the beauty of the rising sun!
"Song of Light" A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass!
“Song of Light”
A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass!

“Sunset Rolls In”

Have you ever gone out to a specific location just to capture a sunset? Hoping to get a spectacular one? It can give you a range of feelings. From those of beautiful anticipation, just knowing it’s going to be a good one, to that of frustration and disappointment as the conditions just aren’t what you need for that moment.

In this location here on the shores of Lake Michigan, I had hoped for beautiful clouds, or just a little  something besides total clear uneventful skies on several different evenings.

For three  days up until this one,  I had gone to the beach on one of the southern areas of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about 30 miles from St. Ignace. I waited in the very bright sunlight of late afternoon just hoping for something wonderful to happen. Something magical!

On my last day in the area as I drove along the shore I could see a bit of hazy wispy clouds starting to form along the horizon. This really got my attention and hopes up!

After arriving at a certain stretch of beach, I set up my tripod and camera, dialed in the settings, and set the focus. I positioned myself on the wonderful warm sand and used a remote cable release to take a few images as I drank in the pure beauty, amazing colors and hues in front of me.

This isn’t a sunset to end all sunset’s by any means, but it was beautiful without being fussy. It was relaxing for me and not hurried. It was a joy to experience, not just photograph.

I stayed long after the sun had actually gone down, not only to capture all of the vibrant hues on camera. I allowed myself to really take the time to enjoy the last bits of color, to hear the sound of gentle waves, to feel the days warmth turn into the cool of night.

This was my moment of peace for that day!

I hope that you might find some beauty and serenity in this image also!

"Sunset Rolls In"
“Sunset Rolls In”

“Sunset on Ice Fields”

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!

"Sunset on Ice Fields"
“Sunset on Ice Fields”

“Flowers and Stone”

Flowers and stone
Spring dreams

Tumbled boulders
Timeless past

Season’s renewal
Wildflowers sprout

Perhaps unnoticed
Perchance to be seen

I have noticed
I have climbed

Life ever changing
Reaching new heights

Flowers and stone
Of God’s Gifts
We do delight

by Rachel Cohen

“The Cool of the Evening”

This image speaks for itself, so my words will be few. This is one of the images from my series “Sunsets over Water”. When looking for a title, the first thing that popped into my mind was the first words in a song “In the cool of the evening” by Dusty Springfield.

Now the rest of the lyrics in that song seem in no way related to this serene image, as you may know. The evening though, when this was taken was COOL and peaceful.

So I just started singing this song, and the next thing you know. There’s the title!

Relax, gaze into this soothing sunset from Northern Michigan, and enjoy!!

Pure Michigan Sunset
Pure Michigan Sunset

“Curving Light”

In a way I’m backing up a bit in this post. Still in abstract mode, but going auto, as in automobile!! 🙂
Going back to January, and the time of the NAIAS in Detroit! Well as most of you know, at all these auto shows there are a ton of flashing multicolored lights everywhere, boat loads of people, and many other distractions that can make getting the shot you want of a car a bit hard.
I came away with plenty of nice shots, and even some of the SRT Viper, which is the car used in this image. I really loved the bright yellow, and the way the vents on the hood curve, soooo in addition to regular shots, I also got this one as an abstract.
Yes it is bright, shiny, full of light, flashy, and don’t forget, bright yellow….but that’s what it’s all about!! Right!! 🙂
This car is really a totally cool sports car, and truth be told, when I was a child, I always wanted to own a bright yellow Porsche. Hhhmmm, I guess I could settle for the SRT Viper instead!! 😉
How about you? What type of car did you want as a child?

Abstract of the automotive type!!
Abstract of the automotive type!!