2018 Year in Review

Winter Morning at Grand Canyon
We are fast approaching the end of 2018, so I thought it was time to post another Year in Review.  You can check out my prior  Year in Review Posts   

This was another year of adventure in photography where I did some new things, went to some new places and reached a few accomplishments.  Along the way, I saw some great light and even made a few images I really liked.  I feel lucky to have gotten out with the camera and try to make the most of my time in the field.

As is my tradition, I am out for sunrise on New Year's Day.  It is my Day 1 ritual to be out waiting for that first sunrise of the year.  In 19 years of doing this, I have yet to get a good image and 2018 was no exception.  We had ice and the roads were not in good shape.  I got out and walked on a cold and clear sky morning.  I made a few images, but there just was not a good photo to be had.

January took me to Arizona where I got to hike in the Superstition Mountains and see
Superstition Mountains, Arizona
Saguaro National Park.  Caught some nice light and made a few good images in the desert.  In February the galactic core of the Milky Way returns to the sky right before dawn and I waded the Nolan River with hopes of getting my first nightscape photos of the year.  Then I had the opportunity for a weekend in Zion before attending a convention in Las Vegas.  I waded the Narrows of the Virgin river in winter, spending the day in the cold depths of the canyon.  I have always loved photographing the Narrows and seeing it with ice and snow was fantastic.  I even got a chance to get in a couple of Milky Way images one morning just before dawn.  The slickrock and and stars make such a great image.

Winter Camping at Grand Canyon
In March I flew back to Las Vegas and drove up to the Grand Canyon spending a week camped in the park.  What an amazing week it was.  I woke up to 6" of snow on my first morning there, catching an incredible sunrise over the canyon.  I spent the next week photographing the Milky Way in the predawn hours, the days hiking, and sunsets chasing light.  I would have thought the snow from the first morning could not be topped, but on my last morning we had snow, rain, sleet, wind and some of the most amazing light I have ever seen.  I took many images but I do not think any could truly capture the light that day.

I chased bluebonnets across north Texas in April but my favorite patches got mowed down!  It was a tough year for wildflowers after that. May took me to Florida and I photographed the ocean and dune lakes of the Emerald Coast.

In June I was in California and got to spend a weekend in Yosemite on a chance.  It was clear skies and only a trickle from the falls, but hey it is Yosemite!  My normal tactic with clear skies is to go nocturnal and photograph hoping to get the Milky Way.  So I was out at 0230 in the morning as the amost full moon was sinking in the west.  This gave me a
El Cap in Yosemite
chance to get a few images of the famous views with the stars and a few that worked out well. I also had a chance to get to see some redwoods along the coast and get in a morning hike with a few images of the big trees.

When the calendat turns to September I seem to go into hyper photography mode evey year.  We start to cool down past the summer Texas heat, the light is better, there are fall colors to be chased and I am out with the camera all the time.

My big trip for the year was two weeks solo camping in Iceland!  When I saw that American was launching direct service from DFW to Reykjavik I bought ticket and finally got to visit a place that had long been on my list.  I will have detail this trip in longer posts, but I can say there were icebergs, glaciers, the aurora borealis, waterfalls, and much more.  It was an incredible trip.  It is also incredibly popular, the whole country is like and as a crowded as a US national park.  It has scenery and sights that are truly breathtaking, but
Aurora Borealis in Iceland
if you have seen a shot from it on social media.....so has everyone else.  I knew some places would be busy but I was hoping I had found a few other spots off the beaten path.  Nope, those had tour buses too.  Still a wonderful trip and one I will return to again.

October took me back to Zion.  I spent a lot of time hiking and did not get to the Narrows.  I did get to see the Milky Way one moring peaking out between the clouds and made a few shots.  Zion is another place of amazing scenery and crowds, however the mandatory shuttle system into Zion Canyon works great.  Keeping the cars out makes the canyon quiet despite the crowds.  If you stay in the town of Springdale, they even shuttle you into the park so you don't have to drive.  
Glacier in Iceland

October also took me to Minnesota and South Dakota.  I got to take an evening hike along the bluffs of the Upper Mississippi River.  This is a very neat area that few people visit and one have been lucky enough to see many times.  I find it very scenic and have yet to ever encounter another photographer here.  I made it over to Siuox Falls and got to photograph the Sioux Falls.  Another neat area that only the locals will visit.  

Upper Mississippi River
The late fall was all spent locally chasing fall colors across north Texas.  I was out every weekend from late October through Christmas chasing autumn.  Wading rivers, hikes trails, driving the countryside.  I visited local parks, went to our local nature center and rode my bike on our trail system.  People always say that there is no fall color in Texas but I have just spent two months photographing it.  Like many places, you have to learn it.  Most areas fall is a two week splash of color, here it is a long slow change.  I have taken the time to explore and learn and I now chase it every year.  In fact I am running out the door now to catch yet another sunrise and see what the light may bring.  It is clear but a full moon will hang in the west.  I think I know a windmill I might photograph with it.  It will be last image on the page here.

Late December sunrise west of Fort Worth
So as we sit on the cusp of 2019 I look back on where I have been and am looking forward to what I might get to photograph in 2019.  Already working on a few trips.  Hoping for another year of travel.  I will revisit some locations and maybe try to find a few new ones.  Never enough time.......

Have a great 2019 all!


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