2013 - A Year In Review

December 30, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

One of the perks of being a photographer is that, when the time comes to look back on a year, I can view thousands of images to remind me of some of the photographic highlights. Unfortunately, it is difficult to select just a few for this review of 2013.

After a long wait for snow in the early weeks of 2013 it finally came, as you can see in this shot of the Nellie Creek trail head for Uncompahgre Peak. As the snow continued to fall, I spent as much time recording it as possible. This shot was taken as a winter storm engulfed part of the San Juan Mountains.

Fun though it is, winter cannot last forever. Green shoots push through lingering snow, and fresh growth on trees and shrubs make tasty snacks for local residents.

With the snow almost gone, I was lucky enough to help with the release of a black bear into the wild - my second operation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife in just a few months. It was a great opportunity to give something back to the wild places I treasure, and of course to get close to an elusive but magnificent creature. Late spring is a time to explore the high country again. The trails are passable once more, but traces of winter still linger. Here is a memorable shot of Sloan Lake. While this was taken in June, snow fell on two occasions on that day.

As summer arrived and I visited another of my favorite peaks I caught this scene. Wildfires were raging in SW Colorado, and the huge plume of smoke in the distance contrasted sharply with the last signs of the previous winter.

It was around this time that my first book was launched. This was a real labor of love for me, and I hope every owner of San Juan Inspirations is still enjoying it. The second calendar (sold out in mid-December) was also released, and with book signings it was a busy time for me. I took a rare break afterwards, but managed to squeeze in a hike in a remote spot. That day I spotted two black bears in the wild, and even managed to shoot video of the one pictured below.

Sometimes wildlife photography takes a little more work and less luck. I finally got a close view of one of our aquatic mammals! As the summer progressed, I had several more wildlife viewing opportunities, and probably learned to be more patient along the way. A few weeks after the fires, I returned to view the devastation for myself. When I walked into the charred forests, I was pleased to see young aspens, lupines and other plant life breaking through the ashes. Fire is unfortunately part of life in the wilderness. As if to demonstrate that the forests are still full of life, I watched a group of moose grazing one afternoon. This mother and child running through a creek made a memorable image. Mushroom season signals the end of summer, and the first golden aspen leaves confirm that autumn is almost here. My favorite terrain begins a transformation that is fascinating to watch. The forests are spectacular, especially from within!

Even on the valley floor, there was autumnal beauty all around.

 Plunging temperatures and early snow brought the autumn display to an abrupt end. Still, this is one of my favorite shots of 2013, and shows the outcrop known as Sugar Loaf with Crystal Peak in the background. The remaining aspen leaves were highlighted by the snow, offering a display of a different kind. A frozen Lake San Cristobal is a clear sign that winter is here. At the end of another hard year for businesses, I used the quiet time to begin to reflect on the year and to consider ideas for next year. I was also glad to strap on my snowshoes and follow tracks in the snow. To live in the mountains year-round, it helps to enjoy winter sports.

This next photo was the subject of my last blog entry, and is another of my favorites from this year. I've pushed myself further than before, both physically and artistically, and I feel that my work has benefited from it. Perhaps my choice of black and white signifies a slight change in direction. What will 2014 bring?

Thanks for your support and your business in 2013. Have a great 2014!


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