My Favorite Photos of 2009

Here it is only a few days into 2010 and 2009 seems like such a distance memory.  Luckily working through all my photos from 2009 to choose these favorites helped rekindle my memories of the year just past (just like when I chose my favorites of 2008).  Below are twelve favorites from the past year in order of the dates they were taken.

March

Snow covered pint trees sit on top of cliff peeking through winter storm clouds in Yosemite National Park.

Snow covered pint trees sit on top of cliff peeking through winter storm clouds in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite, CA

For some people pulling into Yosemite Valley and coming around that first turn on Highway 120 only to see a valley full of clouds would be a disappointment.  For me, it was a chance to look past the obvious wonder of the valley and capture other marvels.  Like this rocky outcropping with this lone tree peaking through the clouds on the other side of the valley.

Snow dusted Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls after a late winter snow storm in Yosemite National Park.

Snow dusted Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Falls after a late winter snow storm in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Valley, CA

Of course, the view of Yosemite Valley in it’s ever changing beauty can’t be passed up.  During this trip, the last winter storm of the season was just starting to break up and granted me this wonderful view down the length of the valley.  I just love how the patchy light from the breaking storm adds such texture to this image from Tunnel View.  It has become one of my favorite desktop images and a great way to release my mind during the day.

May

PIcture Perfect View through the Window of the Picnic Shelter at the Newark Slough

PIcture Perfect View through the Window of the Picnic Shelter at the Newark Slough

Bay Area – Newark Slough

Nestled along the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay, just south of the Dumbarton bridge is the Newark Slough.  I’ve driven past this area hundreds of times and never gave it a second thought until this past year.  During one visit, I noticed how the picnic shelter’s window created a nature frame for the view of the Slough.  I just love how this photo tricks you by being a framed photo within a photo.

August

Two tourists rest on a park bench in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.

Two tourists rest on a park bench in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Nothing is more rewarding than capturing that decisive moment, except maybe catching that moment while driving by at 20 KM/hour. While visiting Victoria in August I really wanted to photograph the front of the historic Empress Hotel.  Timing during the trip allowed only this one shot as we were driving by the hotel in our car.  In retrospect, the people on the bench are a key element of making this photo work.  Something I might not have gotten if I had more time…

September

Fog Rolls into San Francisco as seen from a distance at sunset

Fog Rolls into San Francisco as seen from a distance at sunset

Bay Area – Las Trampas Regional Wilderness

September can bless the San Francisco Bay Area with high pressure systems that result in  days and nights of wonderfully clear skies and warm weather.  This year, I was able to capture this unique view of San Francisco from thirty miles away in the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness area.  By hiking up to the highest ridge at sunset, I was granted with this distant silhouetted San Francisco Skyline.  Many thanks to my friend Chris Chin for the loan of the 400mm lens needed to capture this photo!

Early Morning Alpine Glow on Autmn Color along North Lake

Early Morning Alpine Glow on Autmn Color along North Lake

Bishop, CA – North Lake

As we ascended from Bishop, CA to North Lake, it was completely dark and the eventual sunrise was starting to create a white outline above the mountains to the east of us.  Reaching the North Lake parking lot, we were the first to arrive.  This early morning wake up call allowed me to capture this wonderful early morning alpenglow on the mountain peaks around North Lake during the height of the fall color.

October

Mount Tom and an Owen Valley duck pond basked in the pre-dawn alpenglow near Bishop, California.

Mount Tom and an Owen Valley duck pond basked in the pre-dawn alpenglow near Bishop, California.

Bishop, CA – Eastern Sierra Nevada

Taken at a much lower elevation from just north of Bishop, this pre-dawn view of Mount Tom with snow capped peaks shows how many photographic opportunities exist in the Eastern Sierra Nevada.  This morning it was just myself, my coffee, and a few dozen ducks to enjoy this mountain view.

Early morning reflection of Mount Tom and Round Valley Peak in a duck pond north of Bishop, CA. (Black & White)

Early morning reflection of Mount Tom and Round Valley Peak in a duck pond north of Bishop, CA. (Black & White)

Bishop, CA – Eastern Sierra Nevada

Too often I’m out photographing sunrise or sunset and see other photographers around me leave right after the the sun fully rises or dips below the horizon.  Waiting around for 30 minutes before and after these moments presents light that is continually changing and can result in amazing photos.  This photo was taken just 30 minutes after the previous one.  While I can’t claim to see in black and white as well as some other photographers, the stronger light of this post sunrise vista resulted in this magical image.

Fog and still waters disturbed only by the ducks swimming along greet Dawn at the Mud Slough near Napa, California.

Fog and still waters disturbed only by the ducks swimming along greet Dawn at the Mud Slough near Napa, California.

Napa, CA – Mud Slough

The softness and subtlety of the pre-dawn light on the Mud Slough near Napa, CA made this one of my favorites.  Something about this image projects stillness and quite that only these magical early morning times can provide.

Orange and Green succulent leaves covered with small drops of dew.

Orange and Green succulent leaves covered with small drops of dew.

Succulent Closeup

Changing things up quite dramatically, the pattern, texture and color of this succulent closeup captures my attention.  One of the challenges with photography is learning the skill to be constantly zooming in and out with your vision.  Looking not only for the grand vistas, but also for the close up details.  It’s a skill that I continually work on.

December

Night time winter skyline of Downtown Chicago as seen from the Shedd Aquarium.

Night time winter skyline of Downtown Chicago as seen from the Shedd Aquarium.

Chicago, IL – Downtown Skyline

Right before Christmas I was able to spend a few days in downtown Chicago.  The storm front that was moving over the city created this wonderful reflective sky over downtown.  This image was taken from the Shedd Aquarium along the lake front.

Silhouette of a single oak tree during a Wisconsin winter sunset.

Silhouette of a single oak tree during a Wisconsin winter sunset.

Central Wisconsin – Lone Oak

One of my famous images that broke my tripod, trying to capture the perfect tree photo for my wife has become an ongoing project.  While she hasn’t told me yet if this is the one she has been waiting for, it definitely made it onto my list of favorites from the year…regardless of the damaged gear.

I hope your 2009 was a photographic as mine.  Let me know which of my favorites were your favorites too; you can buy art prints of your favorite using the buy button below each photo.  Stay tuned for some website and blog updates that I plan on releasing in the next few weeks as well as more great photos.

2010 is looking to be another great year of challenge and change…here’s to more great photo moments in the year ahead!

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