My favorite photos from 2012 - the best from Colorado and beyond
The time has come - the end of 2012 has finally arrived, welcoming another year of great photography opportunities for me and photographers across the world. One of the things I wanted to do this year was look back on my year of work and pick thirteen photos that personally resonated with me as favorites. These are maybe not my best photos, per se, but the ones that hold the most spiritual, artistic or technical value to me and no one else. If you also to happen to like my choices, that's wonderful, but I won't hold it against you if you don't!
2012 was a big year for me. A big year for Colorado too. I finished climbing all of the ranked 14,000 ft. peaks in Colorado, a goal I set for myself many years ago. I also coached for my son's t-ball team and travelled to Kauai. This year we also got to witness a full lunar eclipse and the transit of Venus, which won't happen again until the year 2117! We also had the Waldo Canyon Fire here in Colorado Springs, which I was happy to not be majorly impacted by. I saw some very spectacular scenes this year and so it will be quite hard for me to pick from all of the wonderful moments in time I've captured with my cameras.
So with all that being said, let's start at the start of the year and move on.
1. Stars over the Garden of the Gods
This was a project shot and had been in my mind conceptually for a long time. I was finally able to execute it on a very amazing morning at sunrise with a two hour time-lapse which captured stars, cars and amazing light.
2. En Amor
This black and white shot was taken on a engagement shoot for two of my close friends in San Francisco, CA. They flew me to San Francisco to shoot their engagement photos, which was an honor and a privilege.
3. Venus Transit through the Kissing Camels
Ah, a classic photo. Embroiled in controversy and turmoil for me personally, this shot was both the highlight and the bane of my photography existence this year. You can read more about it here. The shot took quite a bit of technical execution and I was very proud to pull it off. You are seeing the sun through the Kissing Camels, with the planet Venus crossing (or transiting) the sun.
4. Milky Way over Sundog
This was my first foray into night-time panoramics and it turned out so awesome. I was very proud after pulling this shot off, which was totally unplanned. The moon had just set behind the mountains and the light was fantastic.
5. Quinn and the helicopter
This shot just rocked. This was my son at my company's picnic. He was playing with one of those toy helicopters on the side of this hill next to a tree. The shot turned out great and is a family favorite.
This was a senior portrait shoot with a co-worker's daughter, Kylee. The photoshoot was one of my best I've ever done and this shot was just great. Her expression, the light, the bokeh, everything about it was fantastic.
7. Reflections of Greatness
This shot was taken the evening before I finished climbing all of the 14ers. Crater Lake reflected the visage of Pyramid Peak (my finisher) with the Maroon Bells across the valley.
8. Gazing at Pyramid
This shot of a mountain goat looking across at one of Colorado's most amazing peaks, Pyramid Peak, was taken from the summit of Maroon Peak, one of Colorado's deadliest mountains to climb.
9. Star Trails over Devil's Thumb Ranch
This shot was taken the night before the wedding of my friends Jon and Heather (see En Amor above). I actually sold publication rights to this photo to Devil's Thumb Ranch for them to use in publications, so I'm very proud of that.
10. The last day of summer
This 5 hour time-lapse over Ohio Pass near Crested Butte is probably my best star trail photo to date. The huge trails and colors are just wicked. I also will never forget "sleeping" on a pile of rocks while the camera took shoots that night.
11. Kebler pass madness
This huge panoramic was taken at Kebler Pass, one of Colorado's most amazing places to visit in the fall. Someday I want to print a huge version of this file as it shows very intricate detail of each tree in the photo.
12. Queen's Bath spray
This shot was took a lot of planning, execution and equipment. Oh and a flight to Kauai. I actually shelled out $800 to get some Lee Filters to take this single shot. Crazy, right? I know... Anyways, finding the spot and then executing it was a thrill never to be forgotten.
13. Geminid Meteor Shower
This two-hour composite shows 12 meteors coming down above the Paint Mines Interpretive Park. It was a very fun adventure to get this shot and I'm sure I'll always strive to take even better meteor shots after this.
That concludes my picks for this year. There were many shots I wanted to include, but knew it would just get out of hand. I hope to plan for even more amazing opportunities this year and to have the chance to photograph more amazing people too.
Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Keywords: 2012, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Kauai, Landscape, Matt Payne, Night, Photography, Portrait, Star Trails
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