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:
- Runoff outside of Workman’s Creek, AZ
2. Mogollon Rim, through the fog
3. Milk Ranch Road, Sunburst
4. Blue Ridge Reservoir sunrise
5. Hawley Lake sunrise
6. Smoke Burst, Mogollon Rim
7. Blue Ridge Reservoir, Fall
8. West Fork Trail, Sedona
9. Fossil Creek, Fall falls
10. Fossil creek
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/
As I continue to improve my photography, I think about what that means. It’s all about the light – dawn & dusk, we are so often told.
It’s complicated though. Light is bright and shadows are dark, how does one even them out and still add emotion, mood, and interest?
Light is the master of depth. We need light to make our ‘hero’ shine, or our supporting cast fade into the background. In this way we can isolate our subject so we know what (or who) it is.
Fog and smoke provide a fantastic mood factor, allowing us to separate the foreground from the background. While our controlled burns up north can be dreary to look at… they can also make for some very moody exciting pix.
Light rays illuminate and become visible through the smoke or fog in the air, distinguishing different elements of the life in the forest.
The fog creates a diffusion through the harsh light, from which comes clarity.
It’s been a month since the Tinder Fire, and our community continues to heal.
I first wrote about it here…. https://kritterspaw.com/2018/05/02/tinder-fire/
We had a community craft fair this July 4th weekend to celebrate our freedom and independence. Talented members of community shared their talents, hand crafted goods and tokens of the Tinder Fire, along with their stories of desperate helplessness during the fire. It seems an appropriate time to remember our own turmoil, our survival, and tenaciousness to rebuild.
This fire was like ‘The Devil’, as it tore through our lives with terror in it’s eyes as it faced us down in our neighborhoods and communities, with it’s 40′ flames and spiraling gusting winds. It created it’s own fire storm and took daylight and turned it dark; green turned to charred black; and ground to ash.
But we have persevered and are re-building. Only a month later, many who lost homes have excavated the ruins and cleaned their grounds, as they prepare to set new foundation and build back up their lives and their homes. We have seen more fire-wising since the fire, than ever before, as people rake pine needles and clear dead and downed trees.
The goodness that we have witnessed during and after the event is what I want to remember and not forget. Neighbors helping neighbors; the few that stayed putting out fires and doing what they could for their own communities; the many donations of water, food, and supplies to the fire house and their communities; donations of time and money to help those in need. It makes my heart feel good to see so much kindness to so many.
It’s in a time of despair that the best (or worst) comes out in people. Our neighborhoods are forever scarred, but we are stronger together, more so now than ever.
I am finally taking heed of all that I have been reading, learning, and experiencing in taking all these pix. Go when inclement weather rules.
For years I thought anything but a blue sky was a disaster. Now, a blue sky makes me cringe. I am finally starting to get it… ‘hey, it’s raining… let’s go take pix’. ‘It’s snowing out, let’s go take pix.’. Crazy, right?! Those interesting, moody skies, make for … wait for it… interesting, moody shots.
Case in point, we are being inundated with smoke in our neighborhood thanks to the Forest Service. Their ‘prescribed burns’ are meant to help keep the fires at bay. I’m all for that… and can put up with some smokey air now and again to assure that our fire risk is abated. And as long as we’re getting smoke… let’s get pix.
I had thought the smoke would diffuse the light and allow me to bring out my fall colors by isolating my subject. So we left early in the morning to see what we could capture. The fall colors were unaffected by the burns… but the early low sun streaming through the trees made for some interesting shots.