My Best Landscape Photos of 2019

Every year, I like to take pause to reflect on my year past, both in terms of what we have done, where we have gone, and what we have accomplished – but also in terms of my best shots.  Reflecting on what I have done, helps me to see where I came from, to help me consider where I want to go.  I will keep these to Top 10 to force me to choose those I most liked.  Feel free to weigh in…

So without further ado, in no particular order:

  1.  Runoff outside of Workman’s Creek, AZ_40A9287_IR.jpg

2.  Mogollon Rim, through the fog_MG_0013_IR.jpg

3. Milk Ranch Road, Sunburst_40A1550_IR.jpg

4.  Blue Ridge Reservoir sunriseWaters Edge Hort_IR.jpg

5. Hawley Lake sunrise_40A4341_IR-2.jpg

6. Smoke Burst, Mogollon RimTreeBurst Vert_IR.jpg

7.  Blue Ridge Reservoir, FallBlue Ridge Fall Sun_IR.jpg

8.   West Fork Trail, SedonaRedRoot_IR.jpg

9.  Fossil Creek, Fall falls_40A0077_IR.jpg

10.  Fossil creek_40A0044-HDR_IR.jpg

That’s it.  I’m comforted knowing that I left out some additional good shots to pare it down to these 10.  Life’s about choices, and these are mine, and I’m sticking to it.

Check out my best wildlife photos of the year here….https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/

 

From Sun to Snow

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Hard to believe a week ago we were enjoying the coast of CA… and now we are enjoying snow at home in AZ.

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We’re happy to get whatever nature gives us.  The snow is good for our forest and our trees.  Besides, it was nice to have a white Christmas.

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We got about 12″ out of our two storms.  Let’s hope there is more to come.  : )

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Big Horn Herd

A funny thing happened to us on the way home from Vegas… we ran into a herd of big horn sheep!

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There must have been 2 – 3 dozen of them, walking down from the hills to graze in the grass.

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They were beautiful to watch as they grazed and played.

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I spent hours trying to catch their activities.  They didn’t seem to mind that I was there, and posed for me… though it was hard to get their attention, as they were keen on the lush grass they came for.

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A ewe after my own heart – it’s all about the food!  :)

Check out more pix from our trip here… https://kritterspaw.com/2019/12/22/sea-critters/

 

Photography Genre

When I started getting serious about photography I kept reading that one should pick a ‘genre’.  I was like, ‘what the heck is that’?  Why can’t I take any kind of photo I want?

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As I read more and photographed more, it made sense.  A wedding photographer needs certain skills and tools to take beautiful wedding portraits, just as a sport photographer, and they are each different.

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So, I thought – I want to be a landscape photographer.

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So, I was surprised when the first photograph I got published was wildlife.

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I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  We just got back from a trip to the beach from AZ, and these are the pix I brought back – all wildlife.

Do what you’re good at… and what you enjoy, and you’ll be good at it.

 

Snow Critters

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This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.

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With it, brought animals looking for food.

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It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow.  It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.

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There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.

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I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff.  Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting.  Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place.  Bring it on.

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Fossil Creek ND

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As I continue to strive to get better pix I find that if I stop to think about the photos before just clicking away at the shutter, my photos come out better.

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Case in point when I went out to get smoke pix, just because the smoke makes for more moody pix (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/19/mood-lighting/ ).

So continuing my current pursuit of Fall Colors, we planned a trip to Fossil Creek.  When I think of water pix, I think smooth silky water cascading over rocks, which means to me, a long exposure.

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So considering the outcome I wanted, I had to think about how to achieve my desired result.  Do I go first thing in the morning, dawn… or dusk?  With little light to be had, that could work… OR I could go in full daylight and sun and use a tool I carry in my bag – a Neutral Density (ND) Filter.

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I actually use a variable ND filter so I can control how much light I cut anywhere between 3 stops to 10 stops.  The ND filter allows me to stop down my exposure so I can take a 2 second exposure to get that super silky water.  Tripod required!

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Hmmm… it works!  Thinking through our actions does make a difference.  Who’da thunk it?  Ha!

 

West Fork Trail, Sedona

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We went to Oak Creek to see Fall Colors, but we decided that during our visit and goal to see Fall Colors we should include West Fork Trail.

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We have never done West Fork Trail.  The crowds and lines to get in have always been just terrible.  It seems to be like so many over-touristed places that become overcrowded taking away from the entire experience.

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So we got a hotel, went out to a nice dinner, and got up early to hit the trail before anyone got there.

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I can tell you now from experience … that is absolutely the way to go.  We were the very first one’s there.  We arrived at 7am, and took one of maybe 5 parking spaces outside the gates that don’t open until 8am.

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We had the trail to ourselves.  We had 2 people pass us going up, (after they caught up to us).  It was great to not have to bob through people – which is what we did on the way back down.

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We felt like salmon swimming upstream as we had to side step the hoards of people once the gate opened… and we were headed back down the trail.

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We thought it would be difficult to get out of our parking spot way up front… but cars were more than happy to make way for us to get out as we pulled out into traffic, and passed an impressive line of cars waiting for a parking space to get in.

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Proper planning yielded a great day and a beautiful hike.