I covered some ground this year with Summit Voice and all around the web, with diverse reporting and photojournalism from two continents, and I’ll post links to some of the top stories of 2016 in the next few days, but we also wanted to take a look back at the past year in photos, starting with a few favorites from early last winter. My favorite shot of the year is the shadow silhouette at Red Rocks, taken at dawn, Christmas morning. If you have sharp eyes, you’ll be able to pick out some of Colorado’s best ski areas in the monochrome shot taken from a commercial airliner headed west from Denver. Out weekly photo sets are here, and you can also check out our online gallery here. We also closed out the year with a fine environmental photo essay of the cryosphere for Pacific Standard.
FRISCO — I’m one of those annoying airplane passengers who always wants a window seat. If I don’t have one, I may be the guy next to you who leans across your lap to catch a glimpse of a familiar or exotic landscape from 35,000 feet up. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been that way, even as a kid, when on family trips, I stared out of the plane window for hours.
Even on trips across the ocean, the ever-changing patterns of sunlight reflecting on the sea and shifting cloud bands hypnotizes me. And if I’m flying over territory that I’ve explored on the ground, so much the better. It’s always fun to spot a familiar landmark from a new perspective.
So on a recent flight from the Bay Area back to Denver, it was a gift to fly over Mono Lake, where I spent some formative years learning about western water issues and environmental advocacy from the incredible grassroots Mono Lake Committee. Later in the flight, the widespread landscape alteration from oil and gas drilling in the intermountain West became apparent, along with slices of untouched Utah wilderness and national park lands.
In this series, the stark light of mid-day and the muted colors of winter paint a subdued picture of the interior West, especially through the filters of my iPhone app. All these images were shot with an iPhone 4S. Continue reading “Morning photo: Flyover”→
FRISCO — Almost within shouting distance of the Bay Area metropolis, an ancient grove of trees stands homage to John Muir, one of the fathers of the American conservation movement. Some of the trees are more than 1,000 years old, which means they were already giants when Sir Francis Drake explored the nearby Pacific coastline. The Muir Woods are a classic story of conservation activism, backed by philanthropy, as a local family bought the land when the forests were threatened by loggers, later conveying it to the National Park Service. On our weekend visit, the grove was bustling with visitors, even on Super Bowl Sunday.
The redwoods aren’t exactly easy to photograph. They are tall, to say the least, and even with a wide-angle lens, it’s nearly impossible to capture them from top to bottom. And since they grow in cool, dark places, the light is tricky — deep shadows interspersed with bright patches of sunlight. I’m not totally satisfied with images I came back with, but that’s OK; it gives me a good reason to go back. Continue reading “Morning photo: Redwoods”→
FRISCO —A short weekend trip to the Bay Area yielded a handful of classic West Coast images, with ocean mists softening the light, and a blanket of atmospheric haze and pollution adding color to the sunsets. There’s a reason the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most-photographed scenes in the country. The magnificent span is one of those rare human structures that arguably enhances the surrounding landscape (or seascape). It’s almost hard to imagine what the entrance to San Francisco Bay looked like before the bridge was built 75 years ago, and looking at historical pictures, the inlet looks almost naked without it. Continue reading “Morning photo: By the Bay”→