Top 11 of 2022
We all know we never just share 10 so why not just say it! Now that we’re into February and I’ve largely missed the push of Best of 2022 from many great photographers, I figured I’d too share by best/favorite of the year. 2022 brought a few interesting moments behind the lens as well. I hope you enjoy the read through the year in images and thank you for your support. Cheers to a great 2023!
Click on each image for a full screen view.
We were exploring for the cloudy afternoon during our Brian Head Fall Colors Workshop and had been finding small patches of color all day. The conditions were nice but not necessarily stunning or awe inspiring. We were shooting in one location and a light drizzle began to fall as we walked back to the car. I happened to notice this section of aspens beginning to turn and this slightly unusual composition jumped out at me. Perhaps it’s my years of working in the Mangelsen Gallery but these left flowing asymmetrical compositions are just pleasing to my eye. A few frames stitched together and “Autumn Dance” came to be.
You’re not supposed to photograph Bryce Canyon at sunset, that’s what they say, right? If you’ve ever joined me in Bryce Canyon you know I’ve mentioned that Bryce at sunset is like a 1 in 20 chance of anything happening. You’ll go 19 times and get nothing for every 1 time you see anything. This was one of those 1’s..and then some.
The evening looked grey and we had hiked a bit that afternoon, just returning to the rim. A light drizzle began to fall (is this a trend?) and it was just dull and grey. We debated packing up and having an early dinner but then, Bryce Canyon began to show off in a spectacular fashion for the next 45 minutes! Rainbows, rolling fog, intense light and color, a vivid glow and a scene which captivated everyone around us. I have this image printed in my home and it reminds me of how Nature can surprise us with her beauty in unexpected ways and unexpected times.
Evening light glances a hillside in South-Central Utah reflecting blues from the sky to compliment the warmer evening light. The badlands are an incredible landscape to explore and go on endlessly. They seem to change colors with the light of the day and are always interesting to photograph. This image was from a certain area of the badlands which isn’t that remote yet feels like a different arrangement than you’d typically see from here. I think getting out and exploring these badlands on foot helps a lot with finding new compositions, just as with this image. For the image itself, a telephoto view will go a long way at forming compositions for intimate views. I love this type of shooting and the design, flow, color, balance and glow in this image made it all just feel right.
There’s a certain place in Nature where interesting images happen. They happen here because there’s an interesting play of contrast, a dance of darkness and light, and an interestingness we can’t always find the word for. This is where a camera can help us understand. This place is the edge of light and where shadow and light meet.
Here the final few seconds of sunlight backlight reeds before falling into evening shadow. For this brief moment a glowing yet silvery look to the reeds emerges before fading a second or two later. These fleeting moments are often along these edges and it’s also where Nature often hides here secrets. This may sound a bit confusing to read but in person, out in the field, this approach works surprisingly well at finding interesting scenes. This image was one of my favorites from exploring these “edges”.
A late Autumn morning where there was a sudden cold snap in Zion. My partner Arika (Zion Adventure Photog) and I are both self employed photographers so we have a flexible schedule once the kids are at school. This morning we sent them off and headed to Zion which is only 30 minutes from home. We roamed the washes looking for ice and fall colors and were not disappointed! Everywhere we looked, ice and colors were on the ground as the end of Autumn was pretty apparent. A cold wind blew and stripped even more leaves from the trees as we roamed around and Winter was visibly moving in.
Looking back, Winter basically began that day and the signs were all there. Looking down, the signs are there too but in a simple and almost artistic way. I’m careful to say Nature is fully artistic since much of this image can be explained with physics. The other part of the artistry is up to us, how we shoot and interpret a scene and ultimately up to the viewer. This is the part physics can’t explain..just beauty.
Her and I ended up with vastly different images that day which makes sense since we are too quite different people. But it’s how we see together, flow together and appreciate our differences which makes it all beautiful.
Another one from Zion, this time deep in the belly of the Subway during a cold snap in February. Just to the the left is the iconic Subway and this lone tree is often overlooked. I felt on this day it looked particularly nice and the icicles in the background tell a little story. Compositionally this image was tricky and I had to set up my tripod on the side of a steep rock. I liked this image because it was literally in front of my destination and wasn’t the destination itself. There should be a saying about that:). This image also made it into my Forest Characters Portfolio for its presence in an underground frozen world.
October brought continued rain to Southern Utah after an active and wet monsoon season. This day in early October brought more thunderstorms which was strange while out looking for Autumn colors. I was walking down a random dirt road one morning and a mud puddle on the road caught my attention. The reflection of the grasses and the light hitting them was so fascinating when viewed in the reflection. A simple capture at my feet in a mud puddle and here it is in my top 11. I’m convinced Nature Photography is as much what you see as how you see it, even when it’s perfectly visible and at your feet.
Continuing on with how you see the landscape, this image is an obvious abstraction yet has a feeling which remains. Certain elements are visible, some are blurred. This technique is all done in camera and not in Photoshop, all done at the time of capture. It’s a technique I use in my Zion Skyline Portfolio and use it in Nature occasionally to help convey a feeling, or memory or emotion.
This Autumn moved by so quickly and I had little time to shoot anything for just myself. I was all over the place in October and ended up being my most productive month for images and total frames (3,000+). I think I just wanted Autumn to slow down a little.
This image is very close in distance to the image prior yet a world away in appearance and technique. A simple frame looking below the setting sun and a chromatic flare among the shadows. I submitted this image to the Natural Landscape Awards in 2022 with this unusual composition. The tops of the trees are clearly cut off but I ask, can’t you still see the tops? This image didn’t score as well as I had hoped but it’s fine. Scores don’t influence my artistic vision and I still get an emotional reaction to this image and that counts to me.
One interesting thing with this image is I was just messing around with this old basic lens on this day. The lens is sharp in the middle but not the sides and isn’t that great of a lens. Yet here is an image made with it and it just works for me:). This is also a candidate for my favorite image of the entire year!
Another intimate landscape and again from Zion. This image was a surprise for me because I was focused on something other than the colors in the ice. There were a few bubbles causing the strip of ice to appear thinner and I was shooting to try to capture it on the edge. I didn’t even notice the colors in field and it wasn’t until it was on my computer that I saw the colors for the first time.
Nature is so surprising sometimes, even to the most attentive eye. I say, let her surprise us. The images seem to turn out better this way too:)
My final image for 2022 was from November in the far reaches of Capitol Reef NP. I had planned to meet another photographer friend here and headed into the canyon to find him. Along the way, this scene fills the view more or less, and it was just sitting there in perfect afternoon light.
Later that day the winds picked up as a powerful fall storm was arriving. Leaves were swirling everywhere that afternoon and this calm moment was in the past. The next morning we woke at 6AM to hike out and to the car in the rain, along side a flowing creek and waterfalls crashing all around. It was an awesome experience and a lucky moment to see Nature in perfect balance.
The Candidates of 2022
I thought it would be interesting to share the fuller collection of 20 or so images which I had previously narrowed the year down to. From here, it was a slower process to finalize the 11 images above. I love all these images and vividly remember each moment. So this fuller collection has more of the special moments, more of the memories and more of the images which made 2022 a year to remember for me.
All images are available as prints or wall art. Please see my print info page for ordering information.
Thank you for looking and reading and I hope to see you outside:)