My Favorite Photos of 2012

Happy New Year!

As I have for the past four years, I spent the past few days of 2012 reviewing my photos from the year and picking out my favorites (you can find previous year’s favorites under the Favorite Photo tag).  As I looked back on 2012, this quote came to mind:

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
– Groucho Marx

In 2012 time sure did fly and faster than an arrow.  A lot of changes happened for me and the expanding family. All those changes didn’t leave much time for photography except of the family (and I’m sure most of you don’t care about those! 🙂 ).  And now, at the end of 2012 with a 2 year old and a 7 month old in the house, I now know how a banana flies (as well as crackers, cauliflower, carrots, and sippy cups…just to list a few) as well as how precious time is.

What follows are my favorite photos created from the year with a brief explanation of what makes them so to me.  They are presented in chronological order from the start are of the year and you can click through on each one to view a larger version as well as order prints or just view other related photos.

Enjoy! And I look forward to your comments and thoughts.

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Visitors ice skating and enjoying novalty of accessing frozen Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park, California, January 2012.

Visitors ice skating and enjoying novelty of accessing frozen Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park, California, January 2012.

In January we had the rare opportunity of a largely snowless high sierras which resulted in Tioga Pass in Yosemite to still be open. The family and I headed up to experience this rarity and ended up enjoying a frozen Tenaya Lake with other Yosemite visitors, residents of the Eastern Sierras, and even one family who drove up that morning all the way from San Diego just to go ice skating on the lake.

ull Moon rises over Yosemite Valley framed by El Capitan and Bridal Vail Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.

Full Moon rises over Yosemite Valley framed by El Capitan and Bridal Vail Falls in Yosemite National Park, California.

Coincidentally, the same weekend we went ice skating on Tenaya Lake there was a full moon with moon rise happening right around the time of sunset.  This allows for ideal landscape photography featuring the moon…and I just happened to be in Yosemite.  This classic composition from Tunnel View doesn’t feel like January at all.

Toddler sits to take drink during hike through Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Toddler sits to take drink during hike through Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

In the early spring the family and I took a road trip to Los Angeles and were able to head out to Joshua Tree National Park for the day. the Los Angeles basin just had 2 straight days of rain and the sun came out as we approached Joshua Tree. With our son having slept for most of the 2 hour drive out to Joshua Tree, we were all in much need of stretching our legs. Thankfully we discovered that he was quite a little hiker, even at just 18 months old, as he did the majority of the 1 mile long Hidden Valley Trail all by himself (and without getting tangled in any cactus). This photo of him taking a break and enjoying some water forever changes my view of Joshua Tree.

Great Egret (Ardea alba ) fishing in wetlands at Colusa Nataional Wildlife Refuge near Calusa California.

Great Egret (Ardea alba ) fishing in wetlands at Colusa Nataional Wildlife Refuge near Calusa California.

Toward the end of the migratory bird season, myself and a friend did a quick day trip north of Sacrament to the a national wildlife refuge area that features marshland that are part of the stop over for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. I just love the simplicity of composition of this image of a Great Egret.

May 2012 Super Moon rising over Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the distance.

May 2012 Super Moon rising over Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the distance.

Where were you during the May Super Moon?  I was with what felt like a thousand other photographers in the Marin Headlands trying to photograph the Super Moon rising over San Francisco (you can read more about those details in my blog post from that night).  I felt fortunate to have claimed a spot that lined me up perfectly with the moon to rise over the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. I liked this composition of the moon about to touch the bridge best.

May 2012 Super Moon reflection in San Francisco Bay with Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Skyline as seen from Marin Headlands.

May 2012 Super Moon reflection in San Francisco Bay with Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Skyline as seen from Marin Headlands.

As with most photographic moments, as soon as the moment passes most people head to their cars.  During the Super Moon most people started heading back to their cars once the moon got a few degrees above the horizon.  Myself and my friend waited around to see what other photographic moments would present themselves. It was worth the wait! As the moon rose higher into the sky and darkness fell, the moon created this monster reflection across San Francisco Bay. In many ways, I like this image with the Super Moon out of frame just as much as the previous one.

Satellite Dish on a hillside at sunset listening to the Heavens.

Satellite Dish on a hillside at sunset listening to the Heavens.

With the birth of my daughter this year, I’ve seen more sunrises during early morning feedings than I have during my last few years of photography trips.  So, when a late season rain storm broke up just at sunset I had to grab the camera and cash in a hall pass from my wife to try and catch some striking images in my local area. That is when I spotted this satellite dish aimed straight up and peeking over a nearby hill just as the setting sun broke through the clouds.  The narrative possibilities that you can read into this photo is one of the reason I like it so much.

August 2012 Persied Meteor Shower over Olmsted Point in Yosemite National Park, California (Composite Image)

August 2012 Persied Meteor Shower over Olmsted Point in Yosemite National Park, California (Composite Image)

In August I was able to cash in a much bigger hall pass with my wife to take a long weekend camping trip up in Yosemite National Park. While I was preparing dinner the first night I over heard a fellow camper talking to one of the rangers and I caught the key words Perseid Meteor Shower and tonight. Being in one of the darker areas of the country, I headed up to Olmsted Point for a late night of time lapse photography while enjoying the meteor shower from the comfort of my camp chair and blanket. I ended up capturing 20 distinct meteor’s that night and created the above composition featuring all of them.

San Francisco Giants Fan Watch World Series Parade on Market Street in Downtown San Francisco Plaza.

San Francisco Giants Fan Watch World Series Parade on Market Street in Downtown San Francisco Plaza.

A few days after the San Francisco Giants won the 2012 World Series, I found myself in San Francisco with a birds eye view of the Celebration Parade that went down Market Street.  While not directly on Market Street, the building I was in had a clear view of the parade thanks to a courtyard between it and Market Street. All the fans and office workers collected along the elevated pathways of the garden to watch the parade.  And that was when my landscape photography eye noticed these great patterns from the garden juxtaposed next to the crowd of people.

Sun highlights Pacific Ocean at sunset from Davenport, California.

Sun highlights Pacific Ocean at sunset from Davenport, California.

After experiencing countless sunsets along the pacific coast, I finally notice that during certain cloudy conditions you can get this very unique highlight from the sun cast across the ocean. During a recent Photowalk in Santa Cruz, California we ended the day at Davenport Beach.  The clouds were thick enough to have many of us concerned about the quality of the sunset.  Before the sun got to close to the horizon, I noticed the above highlight it created from behind the clouds.  Again, the simplicity of the composition is one of the things that draws me to it the most.

Man watches sunset over Pacific Ocean from Davenport Beach near Davenport, California.

Man watches sunset over Pacific Ocean from Davenport Beach near Davenport, California.

The great thing about photographing along any beach in California is that you are very seldom alone. If you keep your eye out for the opportunity, the placement of a person or two into a photo will sometimes change the entire mood and story of the image. While at Davenport beach (between the previous and next photos), I noticed this wonderful drainage that cut through the rock cliff.  I spent 15 minutes trying to find a way to photograph it and then almost missed this image as I was walking away.  Another beach goer found the drainage a perfect place to enjoy sunset and him along with a slow shutter speed created the above photo that just oozes possible storylines to me.

Sunset illuminated the clouds over a sea stack at Davenport Beach in Davenport California.

Sunset illuminated the clouds over a sea stack at Davenport Beach in Davenport California.

Sunset ended up being pretty epic at Davenport Beach during the recent Photowalk.  This image is an alternative view of the classic Davenport Crack.  The downside of visiting a location with 40 of your newest photography friends is there is never enough room for everyone.  While you don’t get the full impact of the crack, which runs left to right in this photo, the low angle of the setting sun creates for some wonderful textures across the (very slippery) rocks and tidal pools. Again, sometimes placing a key element (like the sun) out of frame can add strength to an image as your eye is pulled along the highlights in the rock and the Davenport Crack to where the sun is setting out of frame.

A breaking winter storm creates a rainbow next to the Gold Gate Bridge as seen from Marin Headlands.

A breaking winter storm creates a rainbow next to the Gold Gate Bridge as seen from Marin Headlands.

I’m always one to appreciate dumb luck.  The family and I were heading to Marin just before Christmas to attend a friends holiday party.  It was raining almost the entire way to Marin, and then the sun broke out and we were seeing rainbows! With extra time before the start of the party, I quickly drove to the Marin Headlands to be able to enjoy the above view of the storm breaking over San Francisco. To prove the power of this scene, my son was totally engrossed in an episode of Curious George in the back seat and yet, as I pulled into the parking spot where I took this photo, I suddenly heard him say “Ohh. Dadda, what’s that?”.  Score one for iconic image verus streaming video to the iPhone! 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed my favorite photos from 2012 and I look forward to sharing much more during 2013.  If you got here via Jim Goldstein’s Best Photos blog project, thanks for visiting! Please consider subscribing or following using any of the social media links in the sidebar.

Wishing you an exciting and photographic 2013!

7 thoughts

  1. Sounds like you have had a heck of a busy year Greg. Great series of photos here and I enjoyed reading the reasons behind each one. Some favorites of mine here would be the meteor shower, the Pacific sunsets, and the super moon reflection (quite the large reflection indeed!).

    [Reply]

    latoga Reply:

    @Mark, busy is was one word for it. 🙂 Now that all the kids are mostly sleeping thru the night, I’m hoping for more photography time in 2013 (and re-engaging with the photo community).

    Glad that some of my favorites were your’s too!

    [Reply]

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  4. Great photographs….the only thing that disappoints me is that I didn’t take them. I’m an arm chair photographer now because I’m too old to do what I used to do, so now I sit back and enjoy the fruits of the work people like you do, and I love it….but I would still rather be behind the camera. My favorite is the majestic Great Egret.

    [Reply]

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