In the spirit of showcasing my best photos of 2019, I thought it might be fun to look back on a decade of my photography (I got serious about photography in 2010, so the timing is perfect) to show you my favorite photo from each year I have been a photographer. It is also interesting to see how my photography has progressed (or some might say regressed) and how my tastes and subjects have shifted over the past 10 years. Without further ado...
I photographed this scene using an 8 megapixel Sony DSC-828 camera on my ascent of 13,809 ft. Arrow Peak at sunset. Arrow Peak has an absolutely unreal vantage of Vestal Peak, which I have tattooed on my right arm. This might be one of the most memorable trips I've ever done in my life.
It is no secret that this is one of my favorite images of all time - I photographed it using a Nikon D7000 camera and a Tokina 11-16 mm lens... it still ranks as one of the most unbelievable days of my life.
My co-worker, Dr. Michael Welch, informed me of an upcoming celestial event that would not return until 2117 - the Venus Transit across the sun. Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena and I had the pleasure of photographing it. For this scene, I meticulously planned my destination, placing the sun in the small gap created by a rock formation in the Garden of the Gods Park known as the Kissing Camels. The planet Venus is seen here as a small dot silhouetted on the face of the sun. This was well before good photo apps like PhotoPills, so I feel pretty accomplished with this particular image!
In December, 2012 I purchased my first full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D800 and took more photos than ever before (or since). In 2013, I worked out a lot of the kinks with the camera and fell in love with astro-photography for the first time. One of my favorite photographs from this era was this star trails image taken at Owl Creek Pass near Ridgway, Colorado. My son Quinn camped with me in my small tent (he was 6 years old at the time) and I had fun getting him in the photograph underneath the stars. This photo won me a small photo contest in Colorado Springs and I have always been proud of it.
In late 2013, I moved to Portland, Oregon after spending a lifetime in Colorado Springs. It was a particularly challenging move for my family and I, having no friends there. We wanted to experience another part of the country and Oregon was a nice match for us. You can read all about our decision here. My obsession with night photography continued in 2014 and I found myself in a new playground with a lot of interesting subjects, including Mount Hood! This Milky Way panorama is one of a few I have ever seen from this location and is one of my favorite photographs from my time in the Pacific Northwest.
My time in the Pacific Northwest was coming to an end but I still had fun exploring what it had to offer. Still to this day, I fondly look back on this scene as one of my greatest photographic accomplishments to date - I shot a horizon-to-horizon panorama of the Milky Way on the Oregon Coast near Pacific City - a shot I see a lot of other photographers try to emulate.
A return to my home in Colorado. My family and I moved to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in Durango, which placed me right at the doorstep of some of the most incredible scenes in North America. My mountain climbers familiar with Colorado will tell you that one of the best views is from the summit of Turret Peak - a high 13,000 ft. peak in the Weminuche Wilderness Area. For this shot, perhaps my favorite sunrise ever seen, I summited Turret in the dark to capture this magical light display.
2017 marked a transition for me as a photographer. I decided to switch to the Sony Mirrorless system which opened a lot of doors for me as an adventure photographer. My pack weight decreased and my ability to climb to more interesting places increased. Perhaps my favorite panorama taken to date is this one. I actually hiked to this spot on a whim, disappointed with the photographic opportunities afforded by the valleys below, I thirsted for something new and hiked to this remote overlook to see this grand scene, including the 14er Uncompahgre Peak. This is another scene I have seen copied since I took it in 2017, and I can't blame people for it, its truly a magical sight!
In 2018, I joined forces with my friend Kane Englelbert to focus on Colorado scenes that have yet to be photographed. As such, we backpacked to this remote destination with a fantastic vantage of one of my favorite 14ers, Capitol Peak. As luck would have it, we were rewarded with some absolutely insane sunset light after a passing storm cleared, which made for one of my favorite photographs I've ever taken... indeed, I have it tattooed on my arm!
This past year has been a challenging one for me as a photographer. I did not allocate as much time as I would have liked to get out and take photos; however, I tried to make the most of the opportunities I did have, including this particular moment that I randomly stumbled upon this aspen tree near Crested Butte which had just been eviscerated by a bear trying to climb to the top of it to get access to a beehive. It was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen or photographed.
I hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me. Here's to 10 more years of photography!