My Favorite Photos of 2019
2019 was an odd year for me. I had some health problems which significantly impacted my time "out there" and I made far fewer images than in 2017 or 2018. It is my hope that through a rigorous diet and daily exercise the year 2020 will be better.
I post many of my photos online and invariably I'm surprised at what photos garner the most attention - rarely are they my favorites. Isn't that interesting? Nevertheless, I always enjoy the feedback and find it educational and encouraging.
So, it's important to note that these are MY favorites...perhaps not yours. Regardless, I hope you'll kick back for a minute or two, look at these photos and take a tiny respite from the rest of your busy life.
We will start with a photo of San Clemente that I took last spring at sunset. It was a peaceful evening after a storm.
Next up is a photo I took from my front porch of the Supermoon in August. I took a series of moon photos this year and, while photographing the moon can be challenging, I like this one.
The following photo was my most popular on social media which doesn't mean much really. But, I kinda like it too. It's the Bare Mountain Range north of Death Valley in Nevada.
Last winter, I went out to the Mitchell Caverns and spent time in the Mojave Preserve. It is, no question, one of my favorite places in all of the West (I say that often, don't I?). The photo below might merit a click. The clouds, after a few days of rain, are clinging to the mountains as if they can't bear leaving. That afternoon was as crisp and beautiful as any desert afternoon I've known - and I've known some almost painfully beautiful desert afternoons.
Another magnificent desert spot I visited last winter was Anza Borrego State Park with my two kind and handsome sons. One afternoon my oldest son, Jordan, and I drove around the park and stopped here at Clark Dry Lake. I enjoy this photo not just visually but because it also reminds me of the fine company I had that day.
Last September my daughter started attending Oregon State University and I drove the truck up with her things to help get her settled in. On my way home I drove east through Oregon on my way to Highway 395. One morning I found a quiet lake with clouds hovering above it between Corvallis and Bend. I stayed for an hour watching the clouds slowly lift.
Speaking of clouds ... early one morning I found myself on Highway 1 just south of Big Sur and saw this view of the marine layer and sun. I even kind of like the lens flare in this one. It reminded me of my youth driving the Rim of the World Highway (Highway 18) near Lake Arrowhead overlooking the valley.
On my southbound drive last autumn from Oregon I stopped along US 95 in the wee hours and made this photo which is near Tonopah, NV. I liked it so much I even made new personal cards with this image.
This year, 2019, will be the year I'll remember that I fell in love unexpectedly. For many reasons I am in love with Colonel Allensworth Historic State Park in California's great Central Valley. I have at least 15 photos that I'd like to share from Allensworth State Park! I will, however, only share two and they are both from my first trip. You'll be seeing many more of that area in the future. The first is an iphone black and white photo that I took while out walking and a storm began to build in the north.
The last photo of my favorites is also from the Central Valley and I call it, "Rage Against the Dying of the Light". It is my favorite photo of the year - the sun's last light as it beams through the Tule fog and shines on two trees, together, but alone.
So, there are my top 10 favorite photos from this year.
Of course, you know I have a western theme that I also love - it's roads, and rails, and telephone poles. Each of those symbolize the West of my heart and my dreams and I will leave you with one of my favorites of those motifs as well.
I wish you all the best for 2020. May it be the best year of your life.
My Beloved California
For several months my two pals, Steve and Marty, had planned on meeting in Big Sur in November at good old Plaskett Creek Campground. I surrounded that trip with short stays in Morro Bay and Allensworth State Park (my new favorite) for a pure California trip. Sadly, Marty got sick and couldn't make it. I hope he's reading this so he'll realize how much he was missed. I know he was bummed about not going so we'll just need to schedule another trip soon.
I share lots of photos of Morro Bay on this website so I will only share a few more. I am on a "health kick" these days ('bout time, don't ya think?) and I did go on a ten mile walk one day while I was here - from the State Park to the Rock and then all around town. This time of year things are quiet in this sleepy beach town - reminds me of California past...
The next photos are from the hike near the State Park and into the estuary. Posting the photo of the Turkey Vulture online got a lot of responses. It reminded me when I went to a "talk" on them at the Grand Canyon two summers ago the Park Ranger put a photo up on the large projector screen and a kid yelled, "Oh, GROSS!" Cracked us all up and you may see what he means...
Here are a few more photos from magnificent Morro Bay.
After two nice days I drove the short distance to Plaskett Creek Campground which is south of Big Sur and north of Ragged Point on the California coast. Nearby is Sand Dollar Beach. It is one of the few remaining places that has ZERO cell reception which at first is strange and then worrisome and finally - so relaxing. I think we all need an electronics break and it's hard to take one so I suggest camping at Plaskett Creek as soon as possible! The first photo is a view of the sun and the marine layer from a stop along the Coast Highway. It reminded me of my days, long ago, driving across the Rim of the World Highway near Lake Arrowhead...the good old days.
Here are some photos of and from Sand Dollar Beach.
A few more photos of the area near Plaskett Creek.
My dear friend Steve arrived for the weekend. Recently he and I lost someone who we both loved very much. We spent time together connecting in the way that only people who have shared a mutual loss can. We walked and talked and remembered. It was a poignant and meaningful time together.
Luckily Steve brought his guitar and so we serenaded our nearby neighbors with songs of Slaid Cleaves and Jason Isbell. We also loudly proclaimed our thoughts on the band, Queen. One of us is a fan and one of us is not (me).
I didn't focus much on photography. That will be for another time. I'm grateful that Steve and I had that time together.
Here are a few black and white photos from the area.
You may recall that last spring I visited a State Historic Park in Central California in which I fell in love. On this trip I returned and my love affair deepened. I do have a request though -this place is off the beaten track and I'm worried that I talked too much about it online. So, let's keep this a secret just for us?
When I arrived at Allensworth I was only the second camper. The Ranger came by and wanted to talk about my Casita - while we did that she shared more about how I might be able to support the Park. When I came home I joined the "Friends of Allensworth" and made a small donation. I don't necessarily believe in reincarnation but I certainly feel at home here in some strange and reminiscent way.
Each day out there was glorious and I did get out to the local Wildlife Refuges as well.
Here are some photos of the buildings at Allensworth which have been faithfully restored.
Trains roll by on the regular. I love the sound of horns and the hum of the clickety clack as the freight trains roll slowly by. It lulls me into a calm and contemplative state like nothing else. I breathe easier.
On one particularly fine day I got up early and walked 6 miles all around the Park - made a lunch to go, jumped in the truck and drove to the Kern Wildlife Refuge. After meeting with the Ranger I took a few photos and then headed to Pixley Wildlife Refuge which is close to Allensworth for sunset. It was one of the very best days. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them...
Many of my favorite photos of the last few years are of telephone poles and solitary roads. This place was heavenly in that regard.
I will leave you with a few photos of my last sunset in my Central Valley paradise. Thanks for coming along on my western journeys. I love to travel alone knowing I get to share with you on my return.
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.