At the end of each year I get a chance to review my output for the previous 12 months. I ensure I've archived everything correctly, and I take some time to plan for new projects involving the best of my images. As the end of 2016 rapidly approaches, I thought I'd look back at some of my recent work and share some back stories.
Taken 11 months ago, this shot happened as I stood on a partially frozen Lake Fork of the Gunnison River as snow fell on a silent mountain town. The leaves and the visitors are missing, but in winter the local scenes take on an entirely different appearance.
Bighorn sheep are a symbol of wilderness here in Colorado. While they can be spotted at any time of the year, I find that the snow puts us on more even terms when I'm trying to get a good view of them. In addition to regular wildlife shots, I like to treat their portraits as I would those of any human. This ewe was quite curious about the crouched figure and clicking noises.
Although spring may have officially arrived, the big thaw of lakes and rivers is a slow process. Eventually, temperatures begin to rise and snowfall becomes less frequent. The mountain summits are the last to clear, and as they do so, the streams come back to life. After a long winter, spring is eagerly anticipated by everyone.
Summer weather makes all of the high country more accessible, and a colorful landscape not only makes for a great photograph but a fun spot for lunch and relaxation after long days of snowshoeing just a few weeks earlier.
As many of you know, moose-watching is one of my favorite things to do. My first spring-time sighting is always a highlight for me, and I always take far too many exposures. This time, I spotted a bull at the edge of a creek as he walked into a clearing.
Summer and fall are busy times, even in small towns. The forests offer limitless hikes, and visitors come looking for a chance to relax with friends and family. Many families like to capture memories of their visits, so they hire me to help out. I enjoy hearing about family traditions and stories of Lake City long before I arrived.
There aren't many people around where I spend much of my time, so it is fun to return to the valleys and spend a few hours with new friends sometimes. A change of style keeps me sharp as a photographer, and I have a chance to control aspects of the shot that aren't possible in wilderness.
When shooting outdoor portraits, I'm at the mercy of weather and seasonal changes. Sometimes I make the best of things, but occasionally I have nature's best backgrounds to work with.
This year was particularly unusual in that I spent a month as the set photographer for a movie production (read more here). It offered many challenges along the way, and I'm certainly a better photographer because of it.
Night photography involving people requires split second timing with both settings and shots, but getting that shot is a satisfying feeling!
As the movie making came to an end, the fall colors began to appear. I headed back into the mountains to experience every possible minute of the displays.
The wildlife were my companions as I returned to solitude. This is one of my favorite moose shots, taken just before sunset on a warm and peaceful afternoon.
After weddings, family portraits, real estate photos and movie stills, I rounded off the year with an evening as photographer and videographer for the headline act at the local wine and music festival - Wylie CrazyHorse Jones. Once again, I was able to turn to my ever-expanding skill set to get the shots.
Live music photography shares many similarities with movie sets. Once you're familiar with how things work and where the good shooting positions are, it's all about anticipating the shot. I'm very pleased to have had such a broad range of opportunities in my time as a photographer, but this year has been particularly memorable.
When the music's over, turn out the lights. The Winefest brought an end to the tourist season, and I was left to wander the mountains once more.
If you put in the effort, the mountains often reward the explorer with magnificent views. Those times when fall and winter meet are brief and infrequent, but always unforgettable.
Weather and lighting can turn a good scene into an amazing one, albeit one that only lasts for a few minutes.
In the time between fall and the heavy snows of winter, the forests can seem ghostly after the aspen leaves have fallen, but there is always beauty in the wilderness. I hiked for a few hours to get this view and enjoyed every second of it.
When winter arrived, there was one last display of color on offer. Three consecutive days of fiery sunsets (once again, only lasting a few minutes) were a fine distraction while the snow was thin and temperatures fluctuated.
Rocky Mountain winters are not for everyone, but for those who make the effort there is still much to see. Even a snowstorm at 11,000ft is a beautiful sight.
That brings us to the end of another year. If you'd like to see more, you can view my galleries here. You can pick your favorite seasonal gallery, subject specific gallery, or search for your favorites. Until Jan 31st, 2017, I'm offering two introductory coupon codes - 5202017 for $5 off a purchase of $20 or more, or 10502017 for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more!
I have a few projects planned for the next year, so look out for details as they become available. Your opinions are highly valued, and you can help me by spending just a couple of minutes answering a few questions here.
Have a safe and happy 2017. Thanks for reading!