It doesn’t seem possible that 2017 is already gone. It was a strange year for me. Overall, I had more time to wander, explore and shoot, yet I took fewer photos than in years past. We moved in early October, so I guess packing/unpacking did occupy a big chunk of time and I couldn’t get away.  I’m hoping 2018 will be more productive. These photos are ones that I like for whatever personal reasons, not because they are technically great or have perfect composition, etc. I just like them, and I hope you will too.

Let’s get started.

#10-Wolf Creek Pass Wildflowers

#10 – Wolf Creek Pass Wildflowers

I spent quite a bit of time in the Pagosa Springs area this summer.  During one weekend trip, my husband took me on a great tour of a mining ghost town, and we found some awesome wildflowers up on a 4WD road in the Wolf Creek Pass area.  I like this image because the lighting and colors are soft and painterly.  It makes me feel peaceful looking at it.  My “happy place” is a wildflower filled mountain meadow with snow capped peaks in the distance and waterfalls lulling me to sleep.

#9-North Clear Creek Falls

#9 – North Clear Creek Falls

On my various trips to Pagosa, I usually went the Gunnison/Lake City route rather than the Red Mountain Pass/Durango route.  I therefore stopped at this waterfall several times over the summer.  This was the only time I was able to capture some nice cloud action.  I love this waterfall!  It’s roar is magnificent.

#8-Keeper of the Plains

#8 – Keeper of the Plains

I’m a Wichita native, and I’ve always loved the Keeper of the Plains statue created by Kiowa-Comanche artist Blackbear Bosin.  It sits at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers, right where the Mid-American All-Indian Center stands.  A few years ago, they moved the statue and raised it, creating a much nicer display with some educational signage, and also built two very cool pedestrian bridges.  In addition, they added “fire pots” around the perimeter of the statue which are lit at certain times.  I visited Wichita over the Thanksgiving weekend, and since we were right there at Botanica (practically right across the road from the Indian Center), we went over to check it out at night.  I captured both the statue and the skyline of Wichita in this image.  Since there was little color anyway, I converted to black and white and really like the end result.


#7-Bear Creek Falls

#7 – Bear Creek Falls

They refurbished and improved the overlook of Bear Creek Falls on Red Mountain Pass.  This beautiful waterfall is just outside of Ouray on the sometimes scary Million Dollar Highway.  Unless you stop at this overlook, you cannot see this waterfall as it plunges down into the gorge.  Very limited compositions are available at this spot, and if you don’t have a wide angle lens, you likely won’t even be able to capture the entire waterfall.  I happened to be lucky when I visited in June to catch a rainbow in the mist flying up from the falls.  I’m scared of heights, so I had a little heartburn leaning over the edge trying to capture this!  I cropped it square to place emphasis on the falls and the rainbow and to eliminate the rather uninteresting rocks surrounding it.

#6-Bull Canyon Sunset

#6 – Bull Canyon Sunset

We spent the weekend in Moab in March to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We hit the Gemini Bridges area at sunset to see what I could capture.  I really like this image because of the clouds in the sky, the warm colors of the cliffs, and the light hitting the tree snag in the lower left corner as well as the Behind the Rocks area in the background.  There are a lot of awesome trails in this area, along with great canyon views.

#5-Kebler Pass

#5 – Kebler Pass

Due to our move in early October, I unfortunately missed most of the peak fall color.  I did manage to get out the second weekend of October and there was a little bit of color still to be found up on Kebler Pass.  I framed this image with the bare aspens in the front and really like how it turned out.  The bare trees did add a different element that I like.

#4-Dead Horse Sunrise

#4 – Dead Horse Sunrise

In early December, I decided to catch a sunrise at one of my favorite Moab locations:  Dead Horse Point.  I was lucky enough to capture a little bit of pre-dawn color and some clouds, bathing the canyon in warm light.  After my sunrise shoot, I did a 7 mile hike on some of the awesome new trails at the park, had a picnic lunch, took a short nap, and explored while waiting for sunset.  Sunset was a bust, but hey – you can’t have a great sunrise and sunset in one day, right?

#3-Blue Lake Marsh Marigolds

#3 – Blue Lake Marsh Marigolds

Hiking up to Blue Lakes near Ridgway has been on my bucket list for awhile, so this year I decided to go for it.  I hiked solo, and carried a 17 lb. pack all the way to the first lake – a 7.6 round trip hike with 1600 feet elevation gain.  Physically, this hike was quite a challenge for me, but I made it!  The weather cooperated as well.  It didn’t rain until after I got back to my car!  After seeing it, I’ve decided I must go again.  It is spectacular!  There were still quite a few wildflowers blooming but had I gone a week or 10 days earlier, I probably would have seen more. This is the only vertical image that made it into my favorites for this year.

#2-Devil’s Canyon

#2 – Devil’s Canyon

I hiked up to this overlook numerous times this spring, trying to capture some good light.  I finally hit it right one afternoon, and spent nearly an hour at the top, shooting different spots that I had scouted on previous trips, watching the light change as the clouds moved in and out.  I also have a thing for solitary trees, and this great old dead juniper snag was the perfect addition to this image.  I even printed this one up, and I was very pleased with how it turned out.  Once I get a frame, it will hang either in my house or at my office.

And now (drum roll, please…) – here’s my favorite image of 2017.

#1-Goblin Rainbow

#1 – Goblin Rainbow

In mid May, I had a free weekend and decided to head over to Goblin Valley in Utah.  As I neared the turnoff on I-70, storm clouds were looming.  I pressed on, despite the fact the wind was gusting and thunder was rumbling.  Once I got to the park, I had to come back to my car to sit out two little squalls as they moved through, but the second one was late enough in the day that I caught this awesome rainbow over the Three Sisters formation, which is just north of the main valley floor.  I felt really lucky to be able to capture this one.  You can even see a faint second rainbow over on the left. Storm light really is the best!

As for accomplishments in 2017, I really had none to speak of.  Brown Trout publishers will be using two of my images in calendars, and the Colorado National Monument used two of my images in its annual calendar (one was a large monthly shot) but that was about it.  I had no shows or displays anywhere.  I’m hoping 2018 will be a little more active photographically, and more quiet on the homefront.

I wish you good light, great clouds and awesome photos in 2018!