Christmas in Woodstock, VT

Christmas tree on the Greens in Woodstock VT

Happy New Year Everyone

Every year photographer Jim Goldstein of JM Galleries has fellow photographers submit their web link for their top 10 images of the past year. There are a number of fellow photographers that go through this process of reviewing their images, each in a slightly different process. Take Michael Frye, an excellent photographer of Yosemite National Park. He invites visitors to his site,  Michael, and to pick from a final selection of images for the best of 2016. Actually, this is a worth exercise for anyone to go through as it is good to review ones body of work,  determine if one is advancing in this art, was it productive, are there things worth improving upon, what are the goals for this coming year, etc.

I find the process  of distilling a body of work down to 10 images very hard. Take this last year for example, I shot slightly under 20,000 images.  While there were a number of images that I like from a particular place, like the Palouse, Vermont, Paris, Colorado, it’s hard to pick one or two that are standout images from a group. It becomes very much like flipping a coin over several images. My June visit to the Palouse area was so rewarding that I could not settle on just one as you will see below. Rather than being the best, I think my selection is more of a representation of what I photographed during the year.

So here are my Top 10, with commentary:

early morning March weather in Bandon, OR

early morning March weather off of Haystack Rock, Bandon OR

It is hard to go through the year without a representation from the Oregon Coast. This is an early March image of the clouds off of Haystack Rock just south of Bandon, Oregon. I think one of my favorites of the cost this year.

foggy evening view of the Cape Mears Light from the walkway to the light

evening view of the Cape Mears Light from the walkway in the evening with fog, Tilliamook County, Cape Mears, Oregon

As you will see, there are a couple of lighthouse images in my list for this year. I do rather like traveling to the coasts for images of them. This is one of Cape Mears is a rather unusual image of a lighthouse. Cape Mears Light, West of Tillamook, OR, is a rather difficult one to photograph. It’s not like access is hard, its that one has very limited options with either a side view or one from the top, making it hard to get creative, particularly if one has difficult weather when visiting. In May, I drove out there in the early afternoon from Portland and stayed till after sunset. It was sunny when I left Portland and for most of the time at the lighthouse, but as the sun set, the fog rolled in, obscuring the ocean and the setting sun. This image is from the walkway leading to the lighthouse with the lantern just barely visible in the fog at the end of the path.

Palouse wheat fields in spring, green fields, dawn, morning light

Palouse Washington, green wheat fields, spring, Eastern Washington, sunrise, morning light

Palouse wheat fields in spring, green fields, dawn, morning light

Palouse Washington, green wheat fields, spring, Eastern Washington, sunrise, morning light

I think a visit to the Palouse area of Eastern Washington in June is a photographers dream. In the morning or evening, with the rolling hills, shades of light and the wonderful pastels colors make it just an amazing place. One just needs to spend a little time composing the wonderful scenery. The first image is one of my favorites with the tractor lines, shadows and soft colors. The second is a particular favorite among my friends.

image of Smith Rock, Oregon from the light of a full moon.

an image of Smith Rock from the light of a full moon, Smith Rock State Park, Redmond, Oregon

A particular site in Eastern Oregon on my bucket list to visit and photograph was Smith Rock in southeastern Oregon. In August, I visited it during a full moon and this image was created from the light of that moon at approximately 10:00 pm, ISO 400, f/6.3 for 60 seconds. I wanted to not get too much of a blur in the stars. I discovered the next morning, that Smith Rock is quite a hot spot for rock climbing from chatting with people from Australia to Britain who had traveled her to try it out.

Eiffle tower in the evening with the Pont Alexandre III in the foreground

an evening view of the Eiffel tower from the Port des Champs Elysees with the Pont Alexandre III in the foreground.

Paris is an amazing place with so many photographic opportunities, however, it is equally much photographed and difficult to come away with a unique image. Most often I am not bothered by this and just enjoy the place and what the weather and environment has to offer. On this particular evening I had ventured to Right Bank of the Seine, north side of the Pont Alexander III to take some images of the Eiffel Tower with elements of the bridge in the foreground. It is a great spot, but the sunset was more than underwhelming. As a result, I settled for this image taken later that evening as I moved down the Port des Champs-Élysées.

As I stated above, so many good images, it is hard to select one from the others. I will be posting a lot of images from here on my Flickr site.

yellow aspen and Clear Lake

yellow aspen and High Mesa reflections in Clear Lake, Silver Jack Reservoir, Big Blue Wilderness, CO

If it hadn’t been for Tony Litschewski’s urging to join them as they journeyed to the Silver Jack Wilderness area of South Western Colorado I would never have gotten this shot. At 9,250 ft, it is pushing the boundaries of my elevation restriction. But the trip to meet up with my photography friends and capture the beauty of the greater Ouray region and Mount Sneffels Wilderness area was special. I particularly like this image with the aspen strung out along Clear Lake and an otherwise rainy afternoon, with the sun lighting up the yellow in the trees.

Mekena Beach at sunset

Mekena Cove beach in the afternoon, Maui, Hawaii

As a local photographer claimed, there is nothing secret about Secret Beach on Maui. Even Google Maps knows where it is by just typing in Secret Beach, Maui. It’s real name is Mekena Cove and one of the reasons it is not very secret is because it is used by almost every wedding photographer on Maui for iconic images of the bride and groom getting married there. Then there are those that visit who are planning on getting married, the family images in Hawaiian setting, or for people just enjoying an evening sunset. The afternoon that my wife and I were here, we shared the beach with a all of the above, a wedding, 2 planning on one, one family shot, and a bunch who showed up for the sunset. At about 100 ft across, one has to negotiate the space. However, this fine little beach is one of the best places to capture that familiar tropics setting with the palm trees, rocky shore, wave action and setting sun.

Jenne Farm, morning, with a fresh snow

Jenne Farm, morning light, Jenne Road, sun peaking through the clouds on a snowy morning, Reading, Vermont, clouds, sunup

What can I say, I love Vermont. I love its barns, meeting houses, covered bridges, fall colors, snowy fields, the spring green, country roads, iconic small towns, rock walls, rivers, waterfalls, wildflowers, etc. This past December, we ventured there for an early Christmas present for my wife and I and boy did i get lucky with the weather. I prayed for snow and was amply rewarded. I could have easily stayed and shot for another couple of weeks but I came away with a lot of great images. This image of the Jenny Hill Farm may not have been the best of the bunch, but it is so quintessential New England that I could not resist. Taken the morning after a good snowfall, with the suns soft rays lighting up the trees and buildings of the farm.

Cape Neddick Light with holiday lights, morning, and reflections

Cape Neddick Lighthouse with its Christmas/Holiday lights, in the morning, with the glow of the lights on the water and a reflection of the light in a puddle of water

One specific goal of our December trip to Vermont and New England was to capture an image of the Cape Neddick Light with its Christmas lights. Cape Neddick Light is one of the few lighthouses that decorates for the holiday season. It is situated on a little island and is easily photographed from the park opposite. The ideal image would have been with snow on the island and I was hoping that some of Vermont’s snow would make it here, but I had no complaints as we had two days good weather. Obviously since it is an easy drive from Boston and Portland, ME, it is a well photographed. I had nice chats with a number of local photographers who showed me their images. Even though I have a great image of the light at sunset with the full moon rising above it, I like this image taken on our last morning with the reflection of part of the light in a pool of water from the outgoing tide.

One can visit my Flickr account to see these images.



  1. Very beautiful collection of images, Earl, and quite a range of subjects and locations. I really like the image of yellow aspen. Great color, reflections, sky, and patterns.

  2. Earl and Susanna, I am finally starting to contact all of my friends and family. It’s so good that I am finally feeling better and getting well.
    Miss you and all the good times together. Love, Nita and Jerry

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