Brown Bear, Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park & Preserve. Alaska.
While I may be happy to kiss 2021 goodbye, with pandemics, politics, and natural disasters, it was a wonderful year of immersing myself with nature, camera in hand, and seeing and sharing some of the west’s most beautiful places. And here at home, having a white Christmas and New Year (with another four to six inches coming as I write this) was a great way to end 2021 and begin 2022.
Flight over Katmai Range. Alaska.
Favorites included spending days camped along the Yellowstone and Lamar rivers in Montana, photographing deep snow images on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker, trying to count waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge, flying across the Brooks Range and into Katmai National Park and Preserve, and boating past rafts of sea otters and distant volcanos on the way into Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. Traversing the Cassiar, Alaska, and Denali Highways in peak fall colors, and camping with friends in Death Valley. Breaking with habit, meeting in Yellowstone with new photography friends, and searching out - and finding - porcupines, coyotes, buffalo, elk, bear, sheep, pronghorn, and pika on nearly every trip.
Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. California.
Closer to home, uncountable mornings spent on the Skagit and Lummi flats, and along the Nooksack River. Watching young red and black fox explore the world and revel in their first spring, and visiting with local snow geese, trumpeter swans, eagles, herons, and mergansers. Heavy morning marine layers and fog in the Cascades, vibrant sunsets over the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands, and wind and spray along the Olympic Coast. Afternoons watching high water in Whatcom Falls Park, just over a mile from my home.
Hard not to count 2021 as a good year!
Blue Lake, Cassiar Highway. British Columbia.
So, as I hunker in for a few days of snow, and as I contemplate longer days, growing light, and future resolutions, what are my wishes for the coming year? What do I want to accomplish? What did I learn that will make a difference in future adventures?
Fox & Hare! Northern Yellowstone National Park. Wyoming.
I could easily redo all the above and be happy. You never see the same image twice – changes in light, weather, circumstances, and perspective all combine to make every photo unique. And there are favorites like Yellowstone, British Columbia and Alaska that are always on my priority list.
Kingfisher, Fulton River. British Columbia.
Last year, I really enjoyed working with the camera, postprocessing my photos, developing a website, and writing my travel blog. I’d like to improve on all of that, learn more, and provide even better images and stories on what nature and wildlife means to me. And I’d like to expand those who follow, enjoy, and purchase my work.
One highlight of 2021 was connecting with local people on my trips. From storeowners in Talkeetna and Homer, fishermen on the rivers, other photographers, and campers and camp hosts in Texas and Arizona, hearing from others was fun. This provided connection and background for my images, understanding and relationships with those who live in, value, and visit awesome places. New friends make great stories to share with each of you. Local connection is something I will continue every trip I take.
River Overview. Alaska.
In October, my wife Stephanie retired after twenty + years at Western Washington University. We celebrated by immediately going on an adventure – together! I am looking for many more trips like that, sharing morning and evening light, the wonderful vistas, and spending entire days just with my wife. Talking, letting the views sink in, and just sharing life.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Texas.
Finally, I hope to see and photograph a wolf in the wild. Wolves, like bears, really define the wild for me. I have watched them through a spotting scope and been close on so many occasions. I have plenty of out-of-focus or shot-in-the-dark images, but so far getting a good quality photo of a wolf or wolves has eluded me. The image below is the best I have. It is not very good, but I share it so that you can follow me as I try to improve.
Wolf in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.
Whatever adventures life brings you in 2022, enjoy!