Hard to believe another year has already gone by. Looking back on the top ten this year reminds me that it hasn’t been such a bad year after all.
10.) Hummingbird Stretch
This hummingbird was a regular visitor during my stay on Sauvie Island in Oregon. I would be out watching the osprey and he would come perch on his favorite branch, causing me to refocus quickly in order to catch his antics.
9.) Sunrise on the Chiricahua Mountains
One of the best things about traveling is the unexpected beauty. While out on an adventure near the New Mexico/Arizona border, I was struck by this view. However, it was afternoon and the light wasn’t right. I made a note of the odometer reading and went back the next morning at sunrise for this view.
While staying at Smith River, California, I was thrilled to discover a family of river otters living at the mouth of the river. They would often come out to fish at slack tide. This one popped and and gave me a “smile.”
7.) Trout Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Ever since last summer, I had been dreaming of spending autumn in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. While there I waited, not so patiently, for the aspens to turn to gold. It was better than expected when an early snowfall dusted the peaks while the trees were still filled with colorful leaves.
6.) Ram Tough
The elusive Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep was one of the species on my list to photograph. I checked that one off this year in Glacier National Park.
Great blue herons are especially beautiful when they are in breeding plumage. It was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy, drizzly day on the Oregon coast when I discovered a rookery where dozens of them were busily preparing their nests.
4.) First Light at Logan Pass
Sunrises are a gamble when it comes to photography because you must set out while it’s still dark, not knowing how the sky will look when daylight breaks. On this day in Glacier National Park, I was feeling discouraged as the sky illuminated and remained a dull bluish-gray. When I summited Logan Pass and started down the other side, my reward was this dramatic alpenglow, which lasted less than five minutes.
3.) Classic Oregon Coast
The last day I spent on the Pacific coast this spring before heading inland, I awoke early and couldn’t get back to sleep. When this happens, I take it as a sign that I should get out with my camera. The soft, misty, pastel colors in this image are the essence of the ruggedly beautiful Oregon coast.
2.) Up With the Sun
Early mornings seem to be the theme in this year’s top ten. Several early mornings spent with the sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico yielded so many images, it was difficult to choose one for this list.
1.) Great Gray Owl Swoop
My favorite image this year was taken all the way back in February in Humboldt County, California. A wayward great gray owl wandered far out of it’s normal range to spend a month or so in the California Redwoods. I happened to be in the area when this unusual visitor arrived. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. A few of my images of this avian celebrity (and a snowy owl, which was also a rare sighting for the area) were featured in Lost Coast Outpost.
So there you have my choices for top ten images of 2016. I hope you will continue to follow me on this photographic journey throughout 2017. I can’t wait to see the surprises that await. Happy New Year!