Grand Canyon – North Rim

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We just got back from several days in the Grand Canyon.  Not the popular and tourist heavy South Rim… but the more out of the way North Rim.  More over.. not actually in the National Park itself, technically outside of the park.  We camped in the forest outside the Grand Canyon – North Rim, finding amazing spots that overlooked the back side of the Grand Canyon.

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We didn’t have to fight the crowds, or make reservations at jammed lodges for a year in advance.  We camped on our own, brought and ate our own wonderful meals.  We went for hikes along amazing trails and took in views that took our breath away.

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As I sat one morning, all by myself, waiting for the sun to come up over the canyons, I took pause to feel thankful for this amazing state we live in.  How fortunate I feel to live in a place where we can see this amazing landscape, in the solitude of my own company, feeling quite safe and extremely comfortable.

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As the light shifted and changed over the canyon walls I thought how challenging Arizona photographers have it to photograph these vast ravines and sprawling cliffs.  The shadows and light changing like a curtain being raised slowly over a work of art, waiting to see what moods today will bring about… clouds, blue sky, storms, dust, or haze.

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We camped in several stunning spots, including Jump Up Point, Crazy Jug, and Rainbow’s End Trails.  Each had their own beauty, foreground, and atmosphere.  It was a great peaceful, relaxing trip…. one we’ll have to do again.

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Best of 2016

I was recently talking to my friend, Maureen, about Best Photos of 2016.  It’s an interesting topic and one worth taking pause to think about.   We are fortunate and active enough to take quite a few trips per year, and with them lots of photos.  So I have lots to choose from for a Best of collection.  The hard part, if not impossible, is trying to pick which ones make the cut.  Nonetheless, I think it is an important and relevant task that should be part of my annual objectives… pick your best of the year.  It does two things, allows one to reflect on the year past… all the special moments, great experiences, and cool things we did… and identify my best photos.

So I decided to take on the task.  Looking at my 2016 photos, I was delighted to see how many I really liked and that indeed I did come away with some great shots on the many awesome trips we took.  In fact, I got so many I liked, I am able to break this blog into two .. and share my TOP 10 here… and another TOP Honorable Mentions on my sister blog, here.

So without further ado… here are my Best of 2016 (Top 10), in no particular order.  What do you think?

Alstrom Sunrise Pano PEPSi.jpg1. Alstrom Point, Lake Powell

Mesa Arch Pano_PEi.jpg2.  Mesa Arch, Canyonlands  Utah

reflctnpondPSi.JPG3. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

treesaddlePSi.JPG4. Mogollon Rim, Northern Arizona

boatrekPSi.JPG5. Peggy’s Cove,  Nova Scotia

mossfingersPSi.JPG6. Olympic Peninsula, Washington State

iredaleshinePSi.JPG7. Peter Iredale wreck, Ft Stevens  Oregon

leafsplash2PSi.JPG8. Leaf splash, Northern California

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qfalls mistPSi.JPG10.  Quinault Rain Forest, Washington

So that’s it.. my selected 2016 Top 10.  To see the honorable mentions, check it out here.

The coolest part about this exercise, were the number and amount of great photos I left behind that I could have chosen.  Love it when that happens.

So what do you think.. weigh in… what are your favorites?

Antelope Canyon

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We have been to Antelope Canyon Slot canyons maybe half a dozen times over the years. The first time we saw the beams of light and had the place virtually to ourselves… that was quite some time ago (decades).  We have seen the crowds increase, but never such as we saw this past weekend.

Yikes!  What a ZOOOOOOO.  I would never go back.  They pack so many people into the canyons that it’s just not fun.  It’s bumper to bumper people, and you can hardly get a photo in.  It’s a money factory… they pump through 400 people an hour in the short distance in Upper Antelope Canyon.  We found it absolutely disgusting.  It was on and off raining all weekend.  We were fortunate enough to go during a reprieve from the rain.  The next day it was driving rain… and they were loading up the buses come rain or shine… no matter that there would be no sunshine, decent photo opportunities, and miserable muddy conditions.  How unfortunate that nature has become such a tourist attraction that they can hold your credit card hostage with no consideration for the personal experience.

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Having said that, our friends from the U.K. had never seen it and had made the special request to see this marvel… so we went.  We shot up, and got shots devoid of people, which really doesn’t tell the story.

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Fall Colors

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We were quite anxious to go out and get Fall Color photos this year… but we have been so consumed by our projects that it nearly passed us by.  We had friends come up from U.K., and they gave us the excuse and opportunity to make the journey to the rim to enjoy Fall and it’s gorgeous bounty.

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Actually, the leaves were nearly gone.  I think they snapped into color just as we got that big cold front and wind that moved through… then brushed them right off the trees onto the ground and against trees making for interesting juxtaposition.

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Every year brings something new.  Now that we live somewhere with 4 seasons we can take full advantage of it and enjoy all it has to offer.

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Photographic Style

When I first started this endeavor of throwing myself into my photography and learning, improving, practicing, and publishing, I read a lot about Photographic Style.  These books recommend that you choose one.  What the heck does that mean?  Why can’t I just shoot whatever I want, whenever I want, as it appears to me?  I pretty much disregarded the advice.

Now, as I look at my photos, I realize, I didn’t disregard it… I did make a decision,even if it might not have been conscious.  I dislike taking photos of people.  I am just uncomfortable pointing a photo at a person as I feel it invades their space.  That may seem silly, but it’s just not my thing.  So I avoid it.  (That being said, I am trying to get more into it, as it does add a lot to a photo.)

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I naturally find myself taking photos of my environment.  Those are the types of photos that inspire me, and make me comfortable.  I love capturing the Landscape and Wildlife that surrounds me.  I can be at peace with those subjects, take my time, and carefully compose the perfect picture.

So I guess my Photographic Style found me… I’m a Landscape and Wildlife photographer.  Hmmm.  I’m way ok with that.