Top 10 Photographs of 2017

2017 Photos

2017 was a crazy year for me, so it was really hard to select just 10 photographs. While I was trying to showcase a variety of locations, all of the photos came from my family’s month of touring the National Parks and from my 10-day hike of the John Muir Trail. I haven’t blogged about these adventures yet, so look forward to reading those posts in 2018.

#10 – Fly fishing in Lyell Canyon
Yosemite National Park, California

A friend of mine is big into fly fishing and was pumped to bring his rod with him on our John Muir Trail hike in August. We didn’t stop to fish very often, but on day four of the hike we took a break so he could try for some Brook Trout in the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. I caught him mid-cast in this photo. The river was crystal clear and in the background the snow-covered mountains that form the border between Yosemite National Park and Ansel Adams Wilderness can be seen. Overhead storm clouds were gathering which would rain on our lunch.

Man fly fishing next to clear brook with snowy mountain in the background

Fly fishing in Lyell Canyon

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Top 10 Photographs of 2016

2016-feature

Here is a list of my favorite photos from 2016. Last year I posted about my 10 favorite Instagram photos of 2015 because I had photo storage issues. This year I made a return to carrying my DSLR on hikes and captured some shots that do a good job of summing up my year of wandering. A bunch of these are from hikes I haven’t blogged about yet, so look forward to reading those posts in early 2017.

#10 – Great Range Traverse, Adirondacks
A couple of friends and I spent three days traversing the High Range in the Adirondacks in mid-September. This photo was taken of me on the northern edge of The Gothics just before the cable climb down to the col between it and Saddleback Mountain. The large slide in the background is Basin Mountain. These three mountains, despite their intense ups and downs, were my favorite part of the trip.

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Hike: Southern Presidentials

Trail Report

Since March 2015 I had been commuting to work via my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Final, in March of this year I put a down payment on a Toyota RAV4 which gave me and my whole family a lot more flexibility around commuting and other activities. I also bought a THULE Spare Me spare tire bike rack, which I was excited about as it provides a lot of flexibility in my hiking. Bringing my bike with me on solo hikes allows me to do traverses rather than always doing a loop to hike. I decided to put this to the test by doing a traverse of the Southern Presidentials. Additionally, a few weekends prior I had wanted to hike Mount Washington and bailed on the idea because of the ice conditions. But this time I borrowed crampons from a friend to make it happen.

After leaving home at an incredibly early time, I swung by the parking lot on Clinton Road in Crawford Notch at 6:00 am. I ditched my pack in the woods and clambered back into my car. There were only two cars in the parking lot, so that was good.

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Winter Hike: Return to Chocorua

Trail Report

As the last weeks of winter rolled around I considered a winter ascent of Mount Washington. Unfortunately, there were a lot of icy trail reports that dissuaded me from attempting Washington. Instead, I decided to return to Mount Chocorua as I really enjoyed the summit and I was hoping that the lower elevation would mean less ice. Plus, in a few months the weather would be nice and undoubtedly the crowds would return to the mountains and I wouldn’t be hiking Chocorua then.

I chose Piper Trail as the starting point of the hike and would go up Nickerson Ledge Trail, Carter Ledge Trail and Middle Sister Trail to make the hike into a lollipop loop. I got to the parking lot at 8:00 am, and there were no cars in the lot. It was pretty windy (the final icing on the no-go-Washington cake) and partly cloudy. The forecast was calling for a significant drop in wind speed and a clearing of the clouds.

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Night Hike: Jackson Sunrise

Trail Report

We moved off the island in July and one of the things I was looking forward to in living on the mainland was having more flexibility for going on hikes. On a mild and clear December day I decided to go on a sunrise hike of Mount Jackson. I got up at 1:30 am, made some coffee and hit the road.

I got to the parking lot across from Elephant Head Rock at 4:10 am. It was clear, there was a slight breeze and the temperature was in the high teens/low twenties. I brought my larger pack with me as I was unsure of the snow conditions up top, though I suspected that only microspikes would be needed. I also carried my camera’s tripod and many layers as I knew I would be stationary for a while taking photos on the exposed summit.

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Top 10 Instagram Photos of 2015

Here is a list of my favorite Instagram photos from 2015. The previous year I posted about my 10 favorite photos taken with my Nikon D3200. Unfortunately I had two hard drives crash over the year and lost a lot photos. I decided to comb through my Maine Wanderlust Instagram account instead and found a couple of gems.

#10 – Crawford Notch from Mount Willey Lookout
I hiked Mount Willey in August which had a great view over Crawford Notch State Park. It was cloudy but the clouds were high enough to give a view of all mountains except Mount Washington. In this photo the clouds were glowing with sunlight and Route 302 was lit up as it snaked by Webster Cliffs.

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Top 10 Photos of 2014

Some qualifiers are needed here. These are my favorite photographs that I took with my Nikon D3200 while hiking this year. I’m very much an amateur photographer, but I’m looking to take it more seriously and improve my photographs. I thought a good way to do that would be to look back on this year’s photographs and single out some for inspiration and as a benchmark for 2015.

#10 – BRADBURY MOUNTAIN

This photo is from my first hike with my new camera. My boys and I climb Bradbury Mountain every year. It is the closest mountain to Portland, Maine, and although it only rises 485 feet, it is enough to afford a view of the nearby coast. I snapped this shot while my boys were quietly looking toward the coast. The mountain was covered with ice so the boys descended the mountain by glissading the whole way down. I love that this photo captures my boys in a moment of serenity.

Bradbury Mountain

Bradbury Mountain

#9 – ZEN STONES ON PEMIGEWASSET RIVER

Prior to hiking Welch and Dickey Mountains my sons, my friend John, and I stayed at Hancock Campground off the Kancamangus Highway. I got up first thing in the morning to meditate by the river and took this shot. It is early May so the river is running high and hard. The photo is framed by a stack of stones that someone else had set in place. In the background is the Kancamangus Highway and beyond it is the suspension foot bridge at Lincoln Woods Visitor Center. I love the juxtaposition of the balancing rocks and the motion of the river.

Zen Stones on Pemigewasset

Zen Stones on Pemigewasset River

#8 – POINTING OUT PEAKS

My friend Mike is pointing out some of the peaks in the Sandwich Range to his son. This is captured on the ledge vista below Welch Mountain. I love how the sky and clouds pop in this photo and how a fatherly moment is captured here.

Pointing out Peaks

Pointing out Peaks

#7 – GARTER SNAKE

While hiking up Welch Mountain my friend John leaps into the brush and comes forth with a garter snake. I took this photo as he passes the snake around to my friend Mike’s and my kids. I love the handing off of the snake as it shows a moment of education and respect of nature. I also love the curiosity of the other kids while they watch.

Garter Snake

Garter Snake

#6 – FRANCONIA RIDGE TRAIL

The Franconia Ridge Trail is one of the most amazing hikes in the northeast. I captured this photo while hiking Lincoln and Lafayette with my good friend and fellow photographer Branden. In the background are the wave-like peaks of Mount Liberty and Mount Flume. Closer to the foreground is the Appalachian Trail following the ridgeline. I love the layers of this photograph and then noticing the trail running across the ridge. To me it captures how astounding Franconia Ridge is.

Franconia Ridge Trail

Franconia Ridge Trail

#5 – FALLING WATERS TRAIL IN AUTUMN

While hiking up the Falling Waters Trail toward the Franconia Ridge Trail I shot this photo of a waterfall. I love how the dark colors of the wet rocks are framed by the bright colors of autumn leaves.

Falling Waters Trail in Autumn

Falling Waters Trail in Autumn

#4 – BOYS PLAYING CAPTAIN

While going on a coastal hike around our home town of Long Island, Maine, my boys and I stop so they can play with a captain’s wheel set up near the rocks. I am down on the rocks looking up toward them and capture the shot through the weeds, with the bright blue sky in the background. To me this photo captures a moment of childhood daydreaming.

Boys Playing Captain

Boys Playing Captain

#3 – MOUNT WASHINGTON FROM MOUNT SURPRISE

If you know me, then you know I’m obsessed with the White Mountains National Forest and in particular the Presidential Range. I love this early winter photo I took of Mount Washington from Mount Surprise while hiking to Mount Moriah. I love the details that the snow brings out on the mountain above treeline.

Mount Washington from Mount Surprise

Mount Washington from Mount Surprise

#2 – MOUNT MORIAH SUMMIT

I took this photo from the summit of Mount Moriah this November. The snow covered trees were all I could see as the peak was sitting in a cloud. I made this photo a black and white as those are the primary colors anyway and it adds to the feeling of solitude.

Mount Moriah Summit

Mount Moriah Summit

#1 – CANNON MOUNTAIN FROM LITTLE HAYSTACK

I took this photo of my photographer friend Branden on Little Haystack Mountain while hiking the Franconia Ridge Trail. I love that this photo captures his awe of the view and how the massive Cannon Mountain seems to be drawing him toward the Franconia Notch below. I also like how you can see the ridge that the Old Bridal Path follows in the bottom right corner of the photo. That point in the hike was several miles and hours away but seemingly right in front of us.

Cannon Mountain from Little Haystack

Cannon Mountain from Little Haystack

I think I’ve learned a lot about photography this year, and the practice of revisiting my photographs in order to write this post was insightful. As much as I love to photograph scenery, the photos tend to be more interesting if they are capturing people enjoying that scenery.

Also, I noticed how few of my hikes I brought my camera on, relying on my easily portable iPhone for photographs instead. Late in the year I discovered I could carry my Nikon in my daypack by putting it in a small drysack rolled tightly as to create a cushion of air around the camera. I hope to bring my Nikon on more adventures in 2015.

References:
D3200 Nikon HDSLR Camera.” nikonusa.com. Nikon Inc. Web. 26 December 2014.

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